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Communicating with Intelligence


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Table of Contents

Foreword Preface Acknowledgments Introduction PART ONE: THE FOUNDATIONS OF GOOD INTELLIGENCE COMMUNICATION Chapter 1: What It's All About Summary Getting Started: Good Writing Habits Reader Considerations: Basic Truths of Communicating Reading: A Basic Complement to Writing The Style of Good Intelligence Writing: Bottom Line Up Front Defining Methods: Telling the Reader Nothing Making the Distinction Clear for Students The Three Missions of Intelligence Writing: Judge, Interpret, and Support Differences between Academic and Intelligence Writing: The Four Essences Analysts: The Voice of the Intelligence Community The First Step in the Analyst's Learning Process: Unlearn and Relearn A Framework for Analysis: The Manager's Perspective for a New Analyst Does It Work? A Final Thought about the Mission Getting to the Argument Exercises in the Foundations of Analysis Chapter 2: Using Argument in Intelligence Writing Summary What Is Argument? Argument Is Central to Intelligence Analysis When You Argue, You Take a Stand Formulating a Thesis Statement Argument Reflects How Humans Think Some Ways We Think Evaluating Arguments Where Are the Truths in This Ugly Business? Putting Your Best Argument Forward Exercises in Argument Chapter 3: Reading: Fundamental to Writing Summary Read to Write: Electronic or Printed Who Needs It-and Why? The Forms of Intelligence: Basic, Current, and Estimative Content: Digging into the Format Evaluating Finished Intelligence Think About Graphics as an Attention-Grabber Reading for the Sake of Writing Exercises in Reading Intelligence PART TWO: WRITING WITH INTELLIGENCE Chapter 4: A Tool Kit for Writing with Intelligence Summary Why Write? Clarity: Be Kind to Your Reader Conciseness: Don't Waste Their Time Correctness: A Hallmark of Good Writing Appropriateness: Who, Why, and How? Completeness: The Whole Nine Yards Coherence: The "Glue" That Holds It All Together Energize Your Writing with Strong Verbs Watch Out for the Wimps: Prepositional Phrases Stil-l-l Go-o-oing ... Taking the Tool Kit to Work or School Exercises in the Basic Tools of Intelligence Writing Chapter 5: Prewriting: Warming Up Your Brain to Free Your Hand Summary Finding Your Subject: The Search for Substance Focusing on Form and Format Finding the Time and the Space Finding the Right Reference Materials Some Prewriting Tools: Building a Foundation Brainstorm: It Takes More Than One Brain to Make a Storm Freewrite: Let the Mind Go Outline: Add Structure Map: Let the Journey Begin Searching, Researching Exercises in Prewriting Chapter 6: Writing the First Draft: Getting the Words on Paper Summary A Reminder about Good Writing Habits Reader Considerations: Basic to Everything We Write Keep That Bottom Line Up Front Guidelines for the Preparation of Key Judgments Defining Our Analytical Methods: Who Cares? Drafting: Get Right to It The Way You Write More about Style More than Words Can Say: Visual Aids Organizing the First Draft Writing That First Draft: Back to the Prewriting Your Main Points and the Important Topic Sentence Transitions: Moving Smoothly Ahead The Body of Your Writing Last, But Assuredly Not Least The Bottom Line: Focus Remaining Objective Evaluating Sources: Consider the Originator, Date, and Publisher Previews of Coming Attractions: Titles, Headings, and Subheadings Beyond the Form and the Format One Final Note Exercises in Writing the First Draft Chapter 7: Drafting Conclusions Summary The Role of the Conclusion in Intelligence Writing Finishing Strong How to Think About Your Conclusions Techniques for Ending Well Two Practical Examples: Adea and Zanga Cheesy, Confusing, and Otherwise Problematic Ways to Say "The End" Some Last Words Exercises in Drafting Conclusions Chapter 8: Beyond the First Draft: Analytical Papers Summary What Intelligence Writing Should Do: Describe, Explain, & Estimate What Is an Analytical Paper? Focus on Conclusions Be Relevant to the User Concentrate on Essentials Avoid Policy Prescription A Model Process for Reviewing an Analytical Paper E-Review: Working in the Electronic World Constraints on Review: Time, Experience, Expectations, and Attitude Styles of Review: Holistic, Top Down, or Bottom Up Review Guidelines: 14 Steps toward Better Analytical Writing Exercises in Writing Analytical Papers Chapter 9: Revision: Polishing Your Writing Summary Basic Revision Techniques Peer Review: A Means toward Revision Review of Content: Three Rs and Four Sweeps The Three "R" Method of Revision: Reread, Re-envision, and Rewrite "Four Sweeps" for Revision: Clarity, Persuasiveness, Packaging, and Writing Thesis and Overview Statements: One Small Step during Revision What about Grammar-Checkers? Commonly Asked Questions about Revision Ten Questions to Help You Examine Your Own Writing Process Ending on a Positive Note Exercises in Revision Chapter 10: Additional Exercises to Hone Your Writing Skills Exercise 1: Writing a Thesis Statement Exercise 2: Writing a Paragraph Exercise 3: Writing a Summary Exercise 4: Getting the Bottom Line Up Front Exercise 5: Working with the Types of Intelligence Writing-Describe, Explain, and Estimate Exercise 6: Avoiding Passive Voice and Wordiness Exercise 7: Peer Review of Student Writing PART THREE: BRIEFING WITH INTELLIGENCE Chapter 11: Briefing: The Flip Side of the Communication Coin Summary A Disclaimer: Read and Heed, Please Getting the Word Out The Learning Process: Baby Steps First Why Brief? A Brief Typology of Briefings "All of the Above" or "None of the Above"? Exercises in the Types and Principles of Briefings Chapter 12: The ABCs of Good Intelligence Briefings and Briefers Summary The First Half: Briefings, Easy as ABC The Second Half: The Briefer Summing Up, from A to C Exercises in Good Intelligence Briefings and Briefers Chapter 13: Organizing and Writing the Briefing Summary Getting Started Means Getting Organized Finding Your Subject and the Time Plan Ahead: Lay the Groundwork Plan Your Milestones: One Step at a Time Outline Your Thoughts Analyze Your Audience Do Your Homework Writing the Briefing Script: Write the Words You Will Say Tell `em What You're Gonna Tell `em: The Introduction Free Sample Briefing Introduction: A Brief Assignment Tell `em: The Body of the Briefing Putting the Words Together: Writing the Main Body Putting the Pictures Together: Making Your Point with Visual Aids Tell'em What You Told `em: The Conclusion Putting the Words and Pictures Together Summing Up Exercises in Organizing and Writing the Briefing Chapter 14: Fine-Tuning Your Briefing: Voice, Notes, and Visuals Summary Don't Take Your Voice for Granted Use of Notes Use of Visual Aids The Best Tip of All Exercises in Fine-Tuning Your Briefing Chapter 15: Doing It! Summary Getting Up to Brief: The Absolute Necessity Rehearse First-Always! The Big Day at Last PART FOUR: A SHORT STYLE MANUAL AND CITATION GUIDE A Note to Readers: Summarizing Part Four Chapter 16: A Few Guidelines for a More Readable Style Don't Waste Words Use Numbers Properly Plurals and Singulars Puns Placement of Titles, Headings, and Subheadings The Paper Layout: Think Again about Your Reader Concluding Section: All Good Things Must End Appendixes and Annexes: Extra Added Attractions Additional Front Matter Options: Lists of Figures or Graphics How to Handle Graphic Material (Figures, Maps, Charts, Graphs, or Tables) Exercises in Usage Chapter 17: Citing Your Sources: A Must for Scholarship Summary Who Needs to Cite? Why Do It? How Do I Do It? General Format Spacing and Fonts Sample Note and Bibliographic Forms Abbreviations: Use Few ABCs of Alphabetization Anonymous Authors or Unattributed Work Capitalization and Punctuation in Titles Cited Hereafter as . . . Dates of Publication Explanatory Notes: When the Reader Needs More Foreign-Language Publications Indirect (Secondary) References Members of Congress Military Rank Missing Data Multiple Sources in One Note Names, Referenced in the Text Periodicals Publishers Punctuation Punctuation in Quoted Material Secondary (Short) Citations Subsequent Works by the Same Author, Agency, or Organization Titles of Individuals Translations from a Foreign Language Volume Numbers in Notes and Bibliography Bits and Bytes Exercises in Citing Sources Chapter18: Electronic Citations General Electronic Sources: What Are You Citing? The Addresses: Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) The Mysterious Disappearing Website Page Numbers in Electronic Citations: Not Always There PDFs, PROQUEST and Such: Looking at the Real Thing Links, Homepages, and Search Engines: Preferred Solution Generic Citation Format Keeping Up in the E-World Exercises in Electronic Citations Chapter 19: Handling and Citing Classified Material Why Use Classified Information? Unclassified Excerpts from Classified Works: A Bad Idea How? Similarity to Unclassified Forms Proper Precautions and Markings Downgrading, Declassification, and Marking No Downgrading Shown? Note and Bibliographic Forms Intelink: A Unique Intelligence Source Exercises in Handling and Citing Classified Material Chapter 20: Answers to the Exercises Part One: The Foundations of Good Intelligence Communication Part Two: Writing with Intelligence Part Three: Briefing with Intelligence Part Four: A Short Style Manual and Citation Guide Appendix A: Possible Replacement Words Appendix B: A Usage Glossary for Intelligence Writers Appendix C: Intelligence Briefing Checklist Appendix D: A "Free Sample" Briefing Introduction Appendix E: A Sample Briefing Conclusion Appendix F: A Briefing Evaluation Form Bibliography Other Sources Used or Consulted for This Book Index About the Contributors and the Author

About the Author

James S. Major spent 40 years in intelligence, serving in both military and civilian capacity, in assignments at the tactical, operational, strategic, and national levels. He has written 15 books, all published by the U.S. government, and in 1997 he was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement.


Communication is the essence of intelligence. For without being communicated effectively, intelligence merely underwrites ignorance. This fully revised and expanded edition of the noteworthy volume Communicating with Intelligence provides intelligence practitioners with a comprehensive and detailed handbook for effective professional communications. Its chapters set out practical guidelines along with practical exercises for each element of the communications process, from the reading of intelligence source material, to the writing of intelligence reports, to the delivery of intelligence briefings, emphasizing throughout the trustworthy dissemination of intelligence information. This is indeed an encyclopedic manual that should be on the desk of intelligence analysts, managers, and policy-makers. It would also be a valuable asset for academic writers and graduate students in the Intelligence Studies domain. -- Martin Rudner, Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, Carleton University, Canada
James Major's new edition of Communicating with Intelligence is full of pragmatic advice that will resonate with both beginner and advanced intelligence students. Major covers every imaginable aspect of writing and briefing for intelligence analysts in conversational (and accessible) detail. Most importantly, he does in one book what other writers have done in several: the book covers grammar, writing, presentation skills, and career advice. For intelligence analysis students and practitioners, Major's book is a must-read. -- Melissa Graves, Associate Director and Instructor, Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, The University of Mississippi; Co-Author of Introduction to Intelligence Studies (2012)
In the past, senior U.S. military commanders have complained that the intelligence reports and briefings they received were `mush' and provided little value to their decision-making. However, writing and briefing intelligence are not easy tasks. In this new edition, James Major greatly simplifies these tasks by delving into the mechanics of transforming raw intelligence into final products that deliver to intelligence consumers the information they need. Through easy-to-understand explanations, numerous examples and practical exercises, and even a healthy infusion of humor, the author teaches the reader how to communicate effectively. This book will be an invaluable addition to the bookshelves of all intelligence professionals, whether newly-minted or veteran. -- Christopher A. Vallandingham, USAR, Associate University Librarian/Adjunct Law Professor, University of Florida Levin College of Law

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