Military intelligence analysis institutional influence

University dissertation from Helsingfors : Finnish National Defence University

Abstract: Intelligence is vital for the outcome of battles. As long as humans wage war, there will be a need for decision support to military and civilian leaders regarding adversaries or potential adversaries. However, the production of intelligence is neither easy nor without pitfalls. There is a need to better understand the predicaments of intelligence analysis.Intelligence is bureaucratically produced as well as socially constructed and created in a distinct cultural context. The ‘institution’ captures these three aspects of influence. Therefore, with a particular focus on military intelligence, this thesis aims to deepen the understanding regarding institutional influence on intelligence assessments. The literature regarding intelligence has grown steadily over the last three decades. However, theories and frameworks aimed to understand the phenomenon are still sparse. This is even more true for literature regarding contemporary military intelligence. This thesis intends to contribute to bridging these research gaps. This is done by studying the Swedish military intelligence institution from several different perspectives: its rules-in-use, shared beliefs, and the incoming stimuli primarily related to conducting threat assessments.More precisely the thesis investigates the use of quantitative methods, doctrines (i.e. the formal rules), and shared beliefs connected to epistemological assumptions and threat assessments. The main contribution of this thesis is that it establishes and describes a casual link between a military intelligence institution and an assessment, by drawing upon rulesin-use and belief systems and their effect on the mental model and consequently the perception of the situation connected to a cognitive bias, and thereby its effect on a given assessment. The thesis makes an effort to render intelligence studies more generalizable, by way of adopting the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. The metatheoretical language of the IAD is a promising avenue for explaining and describing the institutional influence on intelligence assessments.

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