Sundri Khalsa of the United States Marine Corps examined the debate of intuition versus structured analytic techniques in intelligence analysis. The role of bias, filtering out key information, including vague information when it supports a hypothesis, and distributing fractional information both intentionally and unintentionally were mistakes noted as reasons for intelligence failures. Using vague information since it supported a hypothesis was the mistake most repeated in intelligence analysis.
Pearl Harbor and Iraq were two cases of intelligence failure due to vague information within the analysis. The analysts told the decision makers about a possible attack by the Japanese, but they did not name Hawaii as a possible target because they assumed it would be included in the warning and Hawaii was a low probability target. They made the same mistake Iraq's WMD program.
The study goes on to examine the arguments for intuition, structured technique, and a systematic process which is a mixture of intuition and structured technique. Khalsa argues that the systematic approach is better because it allows for unforeseen variables while limiting the bias that is problematic with intuition.
The researcher is very thorough in the examination of intuition vs. structured technique and the solution of systematic process. However, his technical language would make it difficult for someone not familiar with intelligence language to understand.
Citation: Khalsa, Sundri. GREGG CENTER for the Study of War and Society. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/15234/20838