Term Paper: Intelligence Analysis According to Heuer, Cognitive Biases

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Intelligence Analysis

According to Heuer, cognitive biases can be defined as "mental errors caused by our simplified information processing strategies." The bias comes not from a perception of the exterior environment or from cultural biases, for example, but from a subconscious mechanism that is triggered when the information is processed, causing an informational error.

From this definition, one can understand how cognitive biases may influence the quality of intelligence. Indeed, first of all, this comes due to the fact that the intelligence is not transmitted in its raw, primary form, but is rather passed through the cognitive mechanism. This is where the cognitive biases might intervene and might corrupt the intelligence by adding or subtracting informational elements or by modifying it according to the biases' input. Another issue is that the intelligence will not be ranked cognitively by its importance, but actually by distinct elements, such as the fact that the information comes as a case study or as an anecdote. This can lead to the loss of important intelligence that does not come in this presentable fashion. Vivid images might take over statistical data, for example.

Cognitive biases in the form of personal impressions do a great deal to influence and potentially change the underlying intelligence. For example, facts that have actually occurred to the person in cause will have a higher weight and will likely be presented differently than facts coming in through a third party. So, the main problem with cognitive biases is that these influence the quality of intelligence by favoring a certain perspective or by providing a certain expectation, for example.

The challenge that occurs is to actually improve the analysis and the quality of intelligence. The first solution that Heuer proposes is to collect more information. Collecting more information would improve the quality of intelligence because it is more likely you would be able to verify the correctitude of information from more than one source, which would increase the probability that the information is correct. In terms of logistics and managerial improvements, Heuer suggests improving the management of the analytical process, with more analysts assigned for a job, a better relationship between the analysts of intelligence and the final recipients of intelligence etc.

Heuer also proposes a checklist for analysts system by which analyst can avoid error in their analysis. The checklist involves the six main steps in the analytical process: "defining the problem, generating hypotheses, collecting information, evaluating hypotheses, selecting the most likely hypothesis, and the ongoing monitoring of new information." In each of these separate phases, the author suggests means by which the quality of the intelligence obtained can be improved and by which the cognitive biases can be eliminated.

For example, when defining the problem, the nature of the questions is essential and the first step should be to actually get to know the final recipient of the information and understand exactly what he needs.

When generating hypotheses, it is recommendable to consult with as many people as possible and obtaining other ideas that can help in the final composition of the puzzle. The collection of information is perhaps the key phase. The analyst will need to ensure that his search is complete and that he will not only rely on up hand information, but will dig for more. This will go together with something previously mentioned, the fact that a larger quantity of information might likely increase the correctitude of that intelligence as well.

The evaluation of hypotheses and choosing the appropriate or most likely one needs to be done with an open mind that can take into consideration all possibilities. Finally, a constant monitoring is recommended, so that any potential change in the probability of a hypothesis will be recorded.

2. 1) Introduction - the role of China in the 21st century global security, economic and military environment.

2) Chinese view on future economic conflicts.

2.1. China's role in the 21st century economic world. The advent of China, perspectives for future foreign investments in China and for Chinese investment abroad.

2.2. Potential economic conflicts and China's approach. Past and present.

2.3. The U.S. - Chinese economic partnership. Potential causes for tense relations - common actions to stabilize global markets.

3) Chinese view on future military conflicts.

3.1. Chinese growth as a military superpower. Debate on Chinese capacity of deployment. Will China use its military power as a factor of obtaining global stability?

3.2. Past vs. present comparison, with a detail on how China's role has changed, as well as its approach on military conflicts.

3.3. The U.S. - Chinese military cooperation.

4) Chinese view on future political conflicts.

4.1. China's role as a regional and global power. Its role as a negotiating force in regional and global conflicts. China as a mediator.

4.2. Chinese perspectives on political conflicts. Potential reactions - aggressive vs. diplomatic/negotiating approaches

4.3. The U.S. - Chinese political partnership as vector of stability in the East Asia - Pacific region and at a global level.

3. Adversaries from both state and non-state categories may obtain useful information from al three domains (physical, cognitive and information) for use in the future from the two U.S. operations.

In terms of the physical domain, the U.S. superiority in terms of force and position advantage over the adversaries was evident in both campaigns, however, this was only when it came to conventional combat. Guerilla operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan have proven successful in destabilizing the countries and producing incremental losses for the U.S. troops. Despite the fact that these do not necessarily make an immediate impact in the field, the fact that they carry on to the cognitive and information domain increases pressure from the U.S., both at a governmental and societal level. In this sense, guerilla warfare has proven a successful instrument in the fight against U.S. troops. Avoiding direct combat and using guerilla warfare preferentially could be something adversaries might use in the future.

On the other hand, at a cognitive level, the two operations showed where the pressure should be put: at the level of population's perception. As previously shown, the combat in the physical domain can have only one winner, because of extraordinary competitive advantages. However, if pressure is moved to the cognitive domain, then pressures could increase from other factors of decision, from the electorate, from the media etc. In Iraq mostly, this has become evident in the last couple of months, with more and more people advocating for an U.S. pull-out.

Potential adversaries can also adjust their theories of conflict in terms of the information domain. First of all, this can be done by disseminating information that can influence the other two domains. The television station Al-Jazeera, for example, significantly impacted the cognitive domain by presenting elements of the physical domain such as live executions. Again, these were instrumental in affecting the cognitive perceptions in the countries members of the coalition.

The theories of conflict can also be improved by the adversaries' capacities of obtaining information. In the current environment, this is often just as important as the physical forces you are able to deploy on the field and the right information, used at the right time, can have a sustained effect with the adversary.

As we can see, all three domains can be reformed in the future by adversaries following lessons learned from the recent U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new methods used can deter some of the competitive advantages that U.S. troops have and provide higher chances of an even competition.

4. If we consider the three main domains of conflict, physical, cognitive and information, we can state that the information domain is somewhere between the physical and the cognitive domains, an intersection of the two. The physical domain is the real world, the world where things happen and events occur. The cognitive world is the perception of the individual and of society on things that occur, a level of collective consciousness. On the other hand, the information level is the intersection between these two levels, the link between the perception of the cognitive world and the actual events of the physical world.

We will investigate how a terrorist act manifests itself in all three domains and analyze whether and how it works or not. First of all, a terrorist act will manifest itself in the physical, real world. That is where the terrorist attack occurs, where the kidnappings take place etc. That is also where the main actors operate, the terrorist organizations on one side and the governments on the other.

The response to terrorism takes place in the cognitive domain and that is where we will actually investigate whether a terrorist act was successful or not. The populations' perceptions manifest themselves in this domain. The main purpose of a terrorist act will be to spread panic and terror at the level of the ordinary individuals, which can in turn put pressures on their governments to satisfy the requests of the terrorist groups. This is why the success… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Intelligence Analysis According to Heuer, Cognitive Biases.  (2007, October 27).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/intelligence-analysis-according-heuer/1501914

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