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Fixing Intel: Reforming the Defense Intelligence Enterprise for Better Analysis

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AMERICAN
INTELLIGENCE
JOURNAL THE MAGAZINE FOR INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS
__NMIA__________________________
Vol. 31, No. 1, 2013
Intelligence/Information Support to Small Unit Operations
Page iAmerican Intelligence Journal Vol 31, No 1
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Page iiiAmerican Intelligence Journal Vol 31, No 1
Table of Contents
AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE JOURNAL
The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors alone. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S.
government, nor that of the National Military Intelligence Association, nor that of the organizations where the authors are
employed.
Editor's Desk ................................................................................................................................................................................. 1
Preparing the Air Operations Center to Leverage the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Capabilities of Current
and Future Aircraft
by Maj (USAF) Richard G. Vasquez ............................................................................................................................... 3
Transition Planning for the Intelligence Community in Afghanistan: Adaptive Frameworks Unifying Future Missions,
Enduring Capabilities, and Resource Implications
by Dr. Andrew Trice, Hannah Powell, and William Patchak ........................................................................................ 13
Human Intelligence Operations in ISAF
by Erik D. Jens.............................................................................................................................................................. 21
The Social Context of Clandestine Operations
by Dr. Alf H. Walle ........................................................................................................................................................ 29
Supplementing Shadow’s ISR Capabilities with Longer-Enduring Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
by 2LT (USA) Matthew Polek ...................................................................................................................................... 36
Culture for the Masses? Supporting Small Units with Cultural Intelligence
by Dr./LTC (USA, Ret) Lawrence E. Cline .................................................................................................................... 39
Finishing Strong: Adjusting Intelligence Practices for the Drawdown in Afghanistan
by MAJ (USA) Michael J. Adamski ............................................................................................................................. 43
Cartel-Extremist Relations: Increasing Concerns at the U.S.-Mexico Border
by Briguette Carstensen............................................................................................................................................... 49
The Shock of ‘First Lightning’: An Intelligence Failure?
by Bill Streifer and Irek Sabitov .................................................................................................................................... 54
A Failure of Imagination in the U.S. Intelligence Community
by David R. Hoover...................................................................................................................................................... 59
Government Draws upon the National Language Service Corps for Foreign Language Skills
by Wanda Penn ............................................................................................................................................................ 72
Cyber Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual (JMEM)
by Dr. Mark A. Gallagher and Dr. (LT, USNR) Michael C. Horta .................................................................................. 73
Cyber Warfare: A Misrepresentation of the True Cyber Threat
by Troy E. Smith ........................................................................................................................................................... 82
Fixing Intelligence: Reforming the Defense Intelligence Enterprise for Better Analysis
by Welton Chang ......................................................................................................................................................... 86
A Lack of Process: Why the Intelligence Community Finds It Difficult to Assess Military Threat
by John J. Robb............................................................................................................................................................ 91
Vol 31, No 1 Page iv American Intelligence Journal
Assessing Foreign Intelligence Threats
by CDR (USNR) Kevin P. Riehle .................................................................................................................................. 96
Dark Networks and the Missing Link Inference Problem
by Dr. Thomas F. Litant .............................................................................................................................................. 102
Integrating ISR with Small Unit Operations: An Airman’s Perspective
by Maj (USAF) Robert D. Folker, Jr. ........................................................................................................................... 116
Profiles in Intelligence series...
Colonel General Ludwig Beck: Conspirator
by Dr. Kenneth J. Campbell ........................................................................................................................................ 123
In My View...
Drones: The Psychological and Cultural Effects of Gaming/Kill Operations in the Future of War
by A.P. Mathew .......................................................................................................................................................... 130
NMIA Bookshelf
Philip H.J. Davies’ Intelligence and Government in Britain and the United States: A Comparative Perspective
reviewed by Judith Boyd ........................................................................................................................................... 134
Tony Schwalm’s The Guerrilla Factory: The Making of Special Forces Officers, the Green Berets
reviewed by LTC (USA) Alexander D. Stephenson ................................................................................................... 135
Fawaz A. Gerges’ The Rise and Fall of Al-Qaeda
reviewed by William S. Combes ................................................................................................................................. 136
David M. Barrett and Max Holland’s Blind Over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis
reviewed by Joseph W. Caddell ................................................................................................................................. 137
Vali Nasr’s The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat
reviewed by LTC (USA) Joseph Becker ..................................................................................................................... 139
Glenmore S. Trenear-Harvey’s Historical Dictionary of Atomic Espionage
reviewed by CDR (USNR, Ret) Calland Carnes .......................................................................................................... 140
Review Essay
GEN (USA, Ret) Stanley A. McChrystal’s My Share of the Task: A Memoir
Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor’s The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush
to Barack Obama
Peter L. Bergen’s The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al Qaeda
reviewed by Christopher N. Bailey ............................................................................................................................ 142
Table of Contents (Continued)
AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE JOURNAL
The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors alone. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S.
government, nor that of the National Military Intelligence Association, nor that of the organizations where the authors are
employed.
American Intelligence JournalPage 86
Vol 31, No 1
Fixing Intelligence:
Reforming the Defense Intelligence Enterprise
for Better Analysis
by Welton Chang
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This paper asserts that the Defense Intelligence
Agency (DIA) is in need of reform because it has not
evolved to make sense of the world’s increasing
complexity. Proposed solutions include: (1) breaking down
physical and organizational barriers to collaboration and
having a project-centric focus, (2) assessing the Agency’s
effectiveness by evaluating analytic accuracy and
streamlining feedback methods, (3) improving analytic
education by drawing on the latest scientific research, (4)
revamping the IT infrastructure with cheaper commercial-off-
the-shelf (COTS) solutions, (5) incentivizing social media
publication methods such as use of “wikis,” (6) flattening
the publication process bureaucracy, (7) incentivizing
analyst interaction with outside experts and policymakers,
(8) expanding leadership mentorship programs, and (9)
capitalizing on the current abundance of talented but
unemployed college graduates.
INTRODUCTION
The world is more complex today than it ever has been,
yet DIA still largely operates the way it did during the
Cold War. Other than the automation of some
functions and the ubiquitous reliance on email, an
intelligence officer who retired in the 1980s would still be
able to function fairly well inside today’s Agency. Over fifty
years after DIA’s creation, its analysis is only marginally
relevant to the decision-making of senior national security
policymakers, defense officials, and warfighters.
Government agencies like DIA have largely ceded strategic
analysis to organizations like Eurasia Group and think tanks
like the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
The existing industrial-era model for intelligence support to
policymakers, with neat divisions of labor and many layers
of time-intensive review, is ill-equipped to deal with an
increasingly open and transparent world where
developments halfway around the world in the middle of the
night can have severe implications for U.S. security. Even
with an overwhelming bias toward current intelligence, DIA
rarely provides information that CNN does not break first
due to the nearly no-cost, instantaneous transmission of
information that average people connected to the Internet
participate in each day. The speed and scale of the news
media more than compensate for their somewhat diminished
quality and lack of legal access to secret intelligence. As
frequent intelligence critic Josh Kerbel pointed out about the
Intelligence Community (IC) in 2009:
This reactive model was built for yesteryear – a more
static world in which it was possible to know exactly
where to look (at the Soviet Union) and why (the Cold
War), access was severely restricted (secret collection
was vital), and warning (especially of military action)
was of the upmost importance.1
What follows are a few important steps that need to be taken
to make intelligence better. These recommendations are
specifically aimed at reforming the Defense Intelligence
Agency.
BUREAUCRACY REFORM:
STREAMLINING THE PUBLICATION
PROCESS
An industrial-era process aimed at producing
“finished” intelligence cannot keep up with the pace
of today’s world. In order to attain “finished”
status, it is not uncommon for 10 different people/layers to
review an analytic product before it is deemed ready. This is
after the piece has been coordinated and reviewed by all of
the IC’s subject matter experts on the topic. All too often
the changes made to the writing are cosmetic, rarely
improving the clarity of the writing or adding to the overall
content of the piece. Changes are often made, reversed, and
changed back to the original language by the individuals
occupying different layers in the process. These individuals
wield power by becoming experts of a process that has no
connection with reality (neither insurgents nor Twitter care
about split infinitives), and that rarely adds value. The
current publication process needs to be revamped and
flattened.
Writing and publishing could be made more efficient by
incentivizing the usage of “wikis,” blogs, and other quicker
American Intelligence Journal Page 87 Vol 31, No 1
methods of information dissemination such as classified
“tweeting.” A recent IC study showed that the existing
production model, as well as the ingrained culture, made
adoption of faster publication vehicles such as wikis, blogs,
and other forms of social media uneven and sporadic.2
While wikis have been touted and proven to be a vast
improvement over coordination that happens via email,
adoption of these publication methods is actively resisted as
a result of organizational inertia. These publication vehicles
also provide venues for feedback and debate, which is not
easily compatible with the current hardcopy and PDF
finished intelligence provided to customers. Wikis and
blogs also provide easy venues for alternative analysis,
which could usefully contribute to a policymaker’s overall
understanding of an issue. Corporate formal publications
would remain the main vehicles for conveying consensus
assessments on major strategic issues while wikis and
classified blogs would serve as useful venues for
exchanging ideas and allow policymaker access to insights
at the speed of global events.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND THE
POLICYMAKER-ANALYST CONNECTION
DIA intelligence officers, like other federal
government employees, are most often measured by
productivity. The easiest benchmark to measure is
how many reports a collector or analyst writes. This
incentivizes “looking busy” and taking action without
concern for the actual impact or outcomes of an action.
When attempting to quantify the impact of these reports,
some supervisors use ambiguous language that simply
justifies previously-held notions of the value of the
employee, largely because analysts and supervisors do not
know how well customers are served. Policymakers and
warfighters are guilty of not closing the feedback loop.
Whether feedback is hindered by time constraints or fear of
being blacklisted by the organization, the true value of
intelligence support is rarely conveyed. The policy/
intelligence relationship is often viewed as analogous to
customer/provider when it should be a supportive
relationship, such as the intelligence/operations relationship
on a military staff (although it has its own dysfunctions).
Analysts sometimes are not aware of
ongoing policy and strategy development
discussions that would benefit from their
expertise and insights.
We must make it less time-consuming for policymakers and
warfighters to provide unvarnished feedback and develop
more running dialogue between analysts and policymakers.
There is no reason why discussions of security issues
should not include the relevant subject matter experts from
both the policy and intelligence communities. Without this
dialogue, we miss opportunities to provide analysis relevant
to ongoing decision-making. Analysts sometimes are not
aware of ongoing policy and strategy development
discussions that would benefit from their expertise and
insights.
In addition, we should evaluate intelligence officers based
on feedback from policymakers and also on the outcomes
from the publication, such as courses of action changed,
decisions made, decisions delayed or avoided, decisions
reversed, additional insight gained, etc. Consistent
interaction, coupled with a few easy software fixes, could
lead to an innovative user-based online intelligence delivery
system where analysis is highlighted and publications
surfaced based on relevance and number of visitations.
Evaluations could be made with a system similar to the
Amazon.com book review mechanism. We should also keep
track of when analysts and collectors “get it right” and when
they miss major developments in order to correct course
when this occurs. The amount of money spent on
intelligence certainly justifies rating intelligence support.
After all, we rate books, music, restaurants, and construction
contractors. Why not intelligence?
OVERCOMING ANTIQUATED
APPROACHES TO ANALYTIC EDUCATION
AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Analysis largely depends on cognitive processes and
the employment of deductive, abductive, and
inductive reasoning. Scientific research has greatly
improved our understanding of cognition over the last ten
years, yet DIA is still using Richards Heuer’s Psychology of
Intelligence Analysis (PIA), which was written in the 1970s-
80s and published in its current unclassified format in 1999.
Although cognitive science has progressed beyond the
book, that is as far as DIA has progressed. For example,
while PIA (and training derived from PIA) references some of
Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s work,
most of the associated analytic training focuses on the slow,
deliberate, rational side of thought. One conclusion drawn
from Kahneman’s most recent work, Thinking, Fast and
Slow, is that intuitive thought, which draws on experience
and occurs instantaneously and automatically, is
responsible for much of what we would believe is the result
of slow, rational, deliberate thought. Kahneman’s most
recent findings would suggest that analytic training should
cultivate intuition in addition to improving rational,
deliberate thought through structured analytical methods.
We should develop a course and manual for improving
analysis based on the latest scientific research, including
American Intelligence JournalPage 88
Vol 31, No 1
subjects such as systems dynamics, statistics, probability,
and cognition. Such training could help increase the
creative capabilities of analysts as well, which is essential to
understanding the implications of complexity. As Kerbel
argues, “It is impossible to understand a complex world via
excessively reductionist approaches.”3
Analysis also depends on our ability to access and share
information. DIA’s antiquated IT systems make it difficult to
find publications written just a month before and are orders
of magnitude slower than the latest commercial off-the-shelf
products such as Apple’s Macbook Air. We do not even
have a truly functional “Google” search equivalent. We
should cease attempting to reinvent the IT wheel and adopt
commercially-available technologies. There are inexpensive
IT solutions that would improve DIA functions, especially
when compared to the multi-million-dollar new systems that
rarely work and usually fail to deliver on promises, like the
New Generation Desktop Environment. Programs like
Tableau (for data visualization and developing infographics),
Co-op (for monitoring and tracking team performance),
Doodle (for setting up meetings), Project Flow (for keeping
track of progress on projects), and Poll Everywhere (for
instantly getting feedback from a large group) could easily
be used for classified functions.
RESTRUCTURING FOR SUCCESS, BOTH
PHYSICALLY AND ORGANIZATIONALLY
Many of the most innovative, creative, and
successful companies in the world did away with
cubicles a long time ago. The limitations of cubicle
culture remain even after the renovation of parts of DIA
Headquarters. There are also parts of the building that have
not seen renovation since the early 1990s despite immense
growth. The physical dividers set up between employees
and lack of readily accessible and available meeting space
force the work of intelligence to be solitary when it should
be more collaborative.
Collaboration and creativity require face-to-face interaction.
Innovation depends on linking previously unlinked ideas
together, something that often occurs when individuals in
large organizations who otherwise would not interact with
each other wind up discussing problems on which they are
working.4 The current physical plant needs to be made more
open in order to take advantage of the benefits of debate
and collaboration on difficult problem sets. The building
layout can be completely revamped by removing antiquated
cubicle structures and other useless physical divisions left
over from a bygone era. DIA should employ the lessons
learned from successful initiatives like SKOPE and fusion
cells primarily centered around synergies created by
breaking down barriers, whether they be physical,
organizational, or mental.
Analytic efforts are also impeded by the
organizationally-imposed artificial
separation of geographic political-
military analysis from what is termed
functional analysis.
Analytic efforts are also impeded by the organizationally-
imposed artificial separation of geographic political-military
analysis from what is termed functional analysis. This leads
to unusual arrangements where, for example, the political
decisions behind Country X’s latest provocative action are
analyzed in a different office from those who look at Country
X’s military force capabilities; a different office from those
who look at Country X’s command and control, cyber, and
leadership issues; and a different office from those who
examine Country X’s proliferation activities. Even within the
political-military analysis geographic offices, analysts work
on “accounts” which further divide problem sets that should
be considered holistically. Fully contextualized and informed
analysis about the Country X military is impossible without a
thorough understanding of the political objectives that
Country X is trying to achieve. As LTG Michael Flynn and
BG Charles Flynn put it:
Context is king. Achieving an understanding of what
is happening—or will happen—comes from a truly
integrated picture of an area, the situation, and the
various personalities in it. It demands a layered
approach over time that builds depth of
understanding.5
Where appropriate, DIA should bring back a holistic
approach to analyzing problems by eliminating functional-
issue offices and integrating those analysts into
geographically-oriented offices. [Editor’s Note: Under LTG
Flynn’s Vision 2020, the analysis/collection elements of
DIA have been realigned into several geographic “centers,”
as of mid-2013.] Geographically-oriented offices should be
organized so that border countries in different regions can
easily conduct face-to-face communications with each other.
Instead of being account/topic-focused, analysts would be
projects-focused, working on important topics that need to
be addressed based on policy priority and level of risk to
U.S. interests. Such an organization gets analysts away from
reactive and current intelligence-focused publication toward
more useful strategic writing. Such offices could look similar
to fusion cells developed under LTG Flynn in Iraq and
Afghanistan, bringing together collection, analysis, and
expertise all under one roof to solve tough problems.
Representatives from other single intelligence discipline
collection agencies such as NSA, NGA, and CIA should be
American Intelligence Journal Page 89 Vol 31, No 1
asked to participate in these organizations. Overarching
problems related to the use of global commons—such as
climate change-related resource crises, demographics,
pandemics, and other security-related issues—could be
addressed in a separate office or by an ad hoc task force
which has a more global, strategic, and long-term view of
problems which the Defense Department could face in the
future.
Analysis is hindered by organizational
impediments to discussing ideas with people
outside of DIA.
Finally, analysis is hindered by organizational impediments
to discussing ideas with people outside of DIA. Experts in
NGOs, think tanks, from other countries, and in other
government agencies are often thinking and working on the
same problems as intelligence analysts and often have
critical insights and knowledge of on-the-ground conditions.
Yet, analysts are disincentivized from talking to these
individuals because it is difficult to get them into
workspaces if they do not possess a security clearance
because of fears that analysts might divulge classified
information to these individuals. In order to incentivize
collaboration with outside experts, DIA should create an
open space where analysts can routinely and easily get
together with outside experts and create policies that
encourage such discussions.
THE OPPORTUNITY AND PROMISE OF THE
MILLENIALS
Many college graduates from top schools are having
difficulty finding jobs due to slow economic
growth in the United States. This creates an
opportunity for DIA to recruit high-performing candidates.
Recruits straight out of college or graduate school generally
command lower salaries, are willing to work long hours if
necessary to complete the mission because they are
unencumbered by family concerns, possess generational
tendencies toward collaboration, and often possess the
intrinsic motivation to do a good job if the structure allows
them to do so. These new additions can be a tremendous
boon to the agency and help replace the rapidly aging and
soon-to-be retiring “Boomer” population.
By directing a recruitment focus toward top undergraduate
and graduate students, DIA can benefit from the desires of
smart young people who want to make a difference and
serve their nation. This intrinsic motivation, as Dan Pink
points out, is more motivating than any kind of monetary
reward could ever be.6 Moreover, Charles Duhigg writes that
close to 40% of what we do on a daily basis is the result of
habit.7 New recruits with demonstrated creative and critical
thinking capabilities already have some good habits and
would not have to be disabused of bad habits absorbed from
years of working in the existing IC. In addition, DIA should
expand its mentorship program so that important experience
and hard-earned lessons learned from elder intelligence
officers are passed on. Through the ODNI-established
“Centers of Academic Excellence” program, DIA should
increase contact with elite schools which, by all accounts,
perform exceptionally well at screening applicants.
CONCLUSION
Globalization has touched nearly every industry in the
world, forcing industrial-era models to evolve or die
due to the three big trends of increasingly fast
technological innovation, the liberalization of world
economies, and the vast reductions in transportation costs
around the world. Government, being a “non-tradable”
industry like healthcare and education, has not suffered the
creative destruction that has forced increased efficiency in
the manufacturing, service, and information industries. In a
complex world marked by uncertainty and paradox,
constrained by fiscal austerity, good intelligence produced
efficiently is more important today than it ever has been.
While there have been improvements to IC processes since
the implementation of reforms stemming from the 2004
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA),
more needs to be done. In an era of fiscal austerity and with
the relative balance of power shifting toward the developing
world, the IC needs to evolve or risk obsolescence. The IC
and especially DIA should commit to additional reforms to
ensure that we will be organized, equipped, and manned to
provide warfighters and policymakers the information they
need to make the right decisions.
Notes
1 Josh Kerbel, “Intel Outside,” Foreign Policy, June 26, 2009,
accessed at: <http://experts.foreignpolicy.com/blog/8471>.
2 Central Intelligence Agency, “Probing the Implications of
Changing the Outputs of Intelligence: A Report of the 2011
Analyst-IC Associate Teams Program,” Studies in Intelligence,
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Extracts, March 2012), accessed at:
<https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/
csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol.-56-no.-1/pdfs-vol-56.-no.-
1/Products%20or%20Outputs%20-Extracts-Mar12-
20Apr12.pdf>.
3 Josh Kerbel, “Start Making Sense: Why and How the Intelligence
Community Must Change its Business Model,” September 20,
2011.
American Intelligence JournalPage 90
Vol 31, No 1
4 See Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works (New York,
NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).
5 LTG Michael T. Flynn and BG Charles A. Flynn, “Integrating
Intelligence and Information: Ten Points for the Commander,”
Military Review, January-February 2012, p. 7, accessed at: <http://
usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/
MilitaryReview_20120229_art005.pdf>.
6 Pink’s conclusions from reviewing psychological research show
that autonomy, mastery, and purpose make up an intrinsic drive
that gets one to perform. See Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising
Truth About What Motivates Us (New York, NY: Riverhead Trade,
2009).
7 See Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We
Do in Life and Business (New York, NY: Random House, 2012).
Welton Chang is a Defense Department analyst focused
primarily on Northeast Asia. He also served as the senior
civilian advisor to Iraq’s National Intelligence Cell in
2011. Prior to working at DoD, he was an active duty
Army officer, with tours including one year in South Korea
and 15 months in Iraq during the surge from 2007 to 2008.
He continues to serve in the Army as a reservist supporting
the Joint Staff. Welton graduated from Dartmouth College
in 2005 with departmental high honors for his senior thesis
examining leadership decision-making in arms control.
While there, he worked at the Institute for Security
Technology Studies, where he co-authored and published a
widely-cited monograph on cyber warfare. He is currently
an MA candidate in Georgetown University’s Security
Studies Program. As a young child he immigrated to the
United States from Taiwan. Mr. Chang’s earlier article,
“Getting It Right: Assessing the Intelligence Community’s
Analytic Performance,” appeared in AIJ, Vol. 30, No. 2.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Start Making Sense: Why and How the Intelligence Community Must Change its Business Model
  • Josh Kerbel
Josh Kerbel, "Start Making Sense: Why and How the Intelligence Community Must Change its Business Model," September 20, 2011.
Probing the Implications of Changing the Outputs of Intelligence: A Report of the
Central Intelligence Agency, " Probing the Implications of Changing the Outputs of Intelligence: A Report of the 2011
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
  • See Charles Duhigg
See Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (New York, NY: Random House, 2012).
Integrating Intelligence and Information: Ten Points for the Commander
  • Ltg Michael
  • T Flynn
  • A Charles
  • Flynn
LTG Michael T. Flynn and BG Charles A. Flynn, "Integrating Intelligence and Information: Ten Points for the Commander," Military Review, January-February 2012, p. 7, accessed at: <http:// usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/ MilitaryReview_20120229_art005.pdf>.
), accessed at: <https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence
  • Analyst-Ic Associate Teams Program
Analyst-IC Associate Teams Program, " Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Extracts, March 2012), accessed at: <https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/
Associate Teams Program
  • Analyst
  • Ic
Analyst-IC Associate Teams Program," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Extracts, March 2012), accessed at: <https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/ csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol.-56-no.-1/pdfs-vol-56.-no.-