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Report | July 31, 2023

Evaluation of Controls over the Application of Analytic Standards by the Service Intelligence Centers and U.S. Cyber Command (DODIG-2023-100)


Publicly Released: August 2, 2023


The objective of this evaluation was to determine the extent to which the Service intelligence centers and U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) trained and operationalized Intelligence Community Directive 203 (ICD 203). In addition, we determined whether ICD 203 processes changed because of the coronavirus disease–2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Our scope included the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), the Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and USCYBERCOM. We did not evaluate the Air Force’s Service intelligence center.



The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) establishes analytic tradecraft standards across the Intelligence Community. ICD 203 is an ODNI directive that establishes standards for the Intelligence Community that govern the production and evaluation of finished all-source intelligence products and standards for excellence and integrity in those products.



NGIC, the MCIA, the ONI, and USCYBERCOM each had programs to operationalize ICD 203; however, each of the commands modified portions of their analytic standards and tradecraft programs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NGIC, MCIA, and ONI personnel conducted tradecraft evaluation boards as required by ICD 203. Although USCYBERCOM is not required to conduct tradecraft evaluation boards, and did so voluntarily, USCYBERCOM personnel had not conducted a tradecraft evaluation board since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. USCYBERCOM officials told us that COVID-19 protocols required reduced staffing and operational adjustments.

There was no formal DoD requirement for combatant commands such as USCYBERCOM to conduct tradecraft evaluation boards; however, USCYBERCOM planned to reestablish a tradecraft evaluation board in FY 2023. As a result, USCYBERCOM did not have an internal program of review and evaluation of analytic intelligence products that sought to improve materials and programs for education and training.

In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, newly hired analysts and military analysts at NGIC, the MCIA, the ONI, and USCYBERCOM were not trained on ICD 203 analytic tradecraft standards, for a variety of reasons.

As a result of the lack of initial ICD 203 training for new analysts, some all-source intelligence analysts may be unfamiliar with analytic tradecraft standards. As stated by the respondents to a Defense Analytic Tradecraft Council survey, gaps in analytic tradecraft training were the top analytic tradecraft challenge, and created the potential for inconsistent application of analytic tradecraft standards. This increases the risk of inconsistent approaches to objectivity, bias, politicization, or other challenges in analytic products across the DoD.



We recommend that the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (USD[I&S]), through the Defense Intelligence Enterprise Manager for Analysis, provide guidance for the combatant commands and the Defense Intelligence Enterprise on the requirement for a tradecraft evaluation program.

We recommend that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director, through the Defense Intelligence Enterprise Manager for Analysis, conduct an assistance visit to USCYBERCOM to provide mentorship, advice, training, and best practices as USCYBERCOM seeks to restart its tradecraft evaluation program.

Additionally, we recommend that the USD(I&S) issue policy guidance to ensure that the Service intelligence centers and combatant command Joint Intelligence Operations Centers provide ICD 203 training to their respective command’s senior analysts and staff members responsible for analytical and editorial review of junior analysts’ production items.

Also, we observed that current ICD 203 training initiatives may not be currently sufficiently resourced, and would benefit from resourcing review in order to ensure their success.


Management Comments and Our Response

OUSD(I&S) and DIA officials agreed with the recommendations and plan to take actions that will fully address the recommendations. Therefore, the recommendations are resolved, but will remain open until we verify that the actions were taken. The Deputy USD(I&S), responding on behalf of the USD(I&S), agreed and stated that the OUSD(I&S) is consolidating eight DoD instructions on defense intelligence and security training into a single instruction with an estimated publication date in early FY 2024. The Deputy USD(I&S) anticipated that this instruction would state that the DIA, as the Defense Intelligence Enterprise Manager for Analysis, would be responsible for training the Defense Intelligence Enterprise all-source analytic workforce.

This report is a result of Project No. D2022-DEV0SI-0129.000.