learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...


learning with professionals - Higgins Counterterrorism Research ...




The articulation of the requirement is the most important part of the process,

and it seldom is as simple as it might seem. There should be a dialogue concerning

the requirement, rather than a simple assertion of need. Perhaps the

customer knows precisely what is needed and what the product should look

like. Perhaps... not. Interaction is required: discussion between ultimate user

and principal producer. This is often difficult due to time, distance, and

bureaucratic impediments, not to mention disparities of rank, personality, perspectives,

and functions. 37

Defining the Intelligence Problem

Customer demands, or “needs,” particularly if they are complex and time-sensitive,

require interpretation or analysis by the intelligence service before being expressed as

intelligence requirements that drive the production process. 38 This dialog between

intelligence producer and customer may begin with a simple set of questions, and if

appropriate, progress to a more sophisticated analysis of the intelligence problem

being addressed.

The “Five Ws” — Who, What, When, Where, and Why — are a good starting point for

translating intelligence needs into requirements. A sixth related question, How, may also

be considered. In both government and business, these questions form the basic framework

for decisionmakers and intelligence practitioners to follow in formulating intelligence

requirements and devising a strategy to satisfy them. Typically, government

intelligence requirements are expressed in terms of foreign threats to national or international

security. In business, requirements may be expressed in terms of the competitor’s

standing in the marketplace in comparison to one’s own posture. Representative examples

from each sector follow:

37 Dearth, “National Intelligence,” 17-18.

38 Dearth, “National Intelligence,” 18.


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