Tactical Intelligence Reading List
Key Starter References
Quick Wins for Busy Analysts
The UK intelligence community’s summary guide to analytic techniques. Best used as a reference rather than a learning guide
Canadian "Aide Memoire"
Much greater depth than the UK quick guide.
Expanding the Library
Allen W.Dulles, 2016: CIA director tells his story. Quite funny in places: such as putting up a sign at CIA headquarters to make it less of a secret and therefore less interesting…
Daniel Kahneman: This and his others here are all about how we judge things in general, and very interesting if somewhat large (and pricey!). Unfortunately I think Tversky was the driver for these but died a few years ago, so not much more coming. Not all of their conclusions are solid.
Ben Goldacre: some basic points about scientific analysis. Doesn’t always work well for the more scrappy evidence available to intelligence analysts, but good for general real world approaches and being all scientific and everything. Quite a lively chap and more books since, possibly worth reading.
Journals and Collections
Non-military suggestions welcome!
“This article intends to contribute to our understanding of disinformation, by analyzing the numerous deceptive messages that were spread in the aftermath of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, that crashed in the summer of 2014 in eastern Ukraine.”
“In a true experiment conforming to the criteria of a randomized controlled trial (RCT), we found that intelligence analysts assign significantly more credibility to secret intelligence than to identical open-source intelligence.”
“Effective communication of information is essential to intelligence work. This paper identifies the main obstacles to good communication: policy-related challenges; cognitive impediments; resource limitations; cultural and structural issues within intelligence communities; and technical information..”
“This article attends to the practice of communicating intelligence to the public. It does so in order to show the diversity of communication practices in Western intelligence today.”
“Despite significant advancements in academia and public policy on identifying, deterring, and mitigating cyber incidents, there is a general discontent among NATO agencies, member states’ governments, and intelligence agencies that their strategy against cyber incidents is primarily reactive and implemented post factum, rather than proactive and executed before such attacks occur.”
B.Lilly, L.Ablon, Q.E.Hodgson, A.Moore
“In a foreseeable future, battles may unfold using weapons and tactics that the United States is ill-pre-pared to detect or counter. Today’s ballistic missiles take tens of minutes to cross an ocean, but tomorrow’s hypersonic weapons may take merely minutes.”
C.Weinbaum, J.N.T Shanahan
“As the Internet has become a nearly ubiquitous resource for acquiring knowledge about the world, questions have arisen about its potential effects on cognition. Here we show that searching the Internet for explanatory knowledge creates an illusion whereby people mistake access to information for their own personal understanding of the information. “
M.Fisher, M.K Goddu, F.C Keil
“This article outlines important considerations in the search strategy and recommends practical advice for students to ensure best use of their valuable time. It is suggested that a systematic, organised search of the literature, that uses available resources effectively, is more likely to produce quality work.”
F. Timmins, C. McCabe
“In this article, expression of the quest for knowledge and understanding while living with the threat of fatal cancer is explored. By means of a case study, recurrent narrative interviews and participant observations were performed with one 71-year-old man and the oncology nurse taking care of him.”
“We critically examine information evaluation methods, arguing that they mask rather than effectively guide subjectivity in intelligence assessment. Drawing on the guidance metaphor, we propose that rigid ‘all-purpose’ information evaluation methods be replaced by flexible ‘context-sensitive’ guidelines aimed at improving the soundness, precision, accuracy and clarity of irreducibly subjective judgments.”
D. Irwin, D. Mandel
“Addressing deficiencies in the dissemination and transfer of research-based knowledge into routine clinical practice is high on the policy agenda both in the UK and internationally. However, there is lack of clarity between funding agencies as to what represents dissemination.”
P.M. Wilson, M.Petticrew, M.W. Calnan, I. Nazareth
Taylor and Francis Online
What Can be Learnt from Efforts on Terrorist Financing?
Royal United Services Institute
Webpages and Podcasts
“Linear and Logistic regressions are usually the first algorithms people learn in data science. Due to their popularity, a lot of analysts even end up thinking that they are the only form of regressions. The ones who are slightly more involved think that they are the most important among all forms of regression analysis.”
“Discriminant analysis is a vital statistical tool that is used by researchers worldwide. Machine learning, pattern recognition, and statistics are some of the spheres where this practice is widely employed. So, what is discriminant analysis and what makes it so useful? “
“Passwords are some of the easiest targets for attackers, yet companies still allow weak passwords in their environment. Multiple service providers recommend 8-character minimum passwords based on outdated data. “
Black Hills Information Security
“The title of this article was supposed to be “Top 10 Free Phishing Simulators”. However, after much searching, trying, visiting of broken links, filling out forms and signing up for mailing lists, it became clear that the combination of “free” and “top” really narrows down the selection to very few actual choices for phishing training. The final list does not include any of the fishy (pardon the pun) apps that let you create a fake website for collecting data.”
“When the internet began to take centre stage to businesses, and our lives – each new generation experiences increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks, and this brings about greater damage. The cybersecurity market and industry have had to evolve to effectively counter these attacks”
“Business transformation is always a security risk. New technology and working practices need new security measures; but normally this risk is managed carefully, and over time. Covid-19 has not afforded us that luxury. For some businesses the scale and speed of this change will be unprecedented. It is also very public; attackers are aware of the situation and already exploiting it.”
“There is a growing consensus that attacks against U.S. facilities and personnel in Iraq by Iran-backed Shiite Militia Groups (SMGs) are increasingly becoming a “new normal.” These attacks ebb and flow pursuant to several political conditions, some of which remain outside the control of the U.S. “
FDD Long War Journal
In this blog post we share four creative methods of research dissemination. These are inspired by the knowledge café organised by the Social Research Association North.