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Writing to the Analytic Tradecraft Standards I

This second course in this series examines the first four Analytic Tradecraft Standards and how to apply them to written intelligence analysis products. Gaining a better understanding of these analytic tradecraft standards will help improve the quality of your written products in support of your customers.

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About This Course

Since the events of September 11, 2001 and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) signing Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203 Analytic Standards and ICD 206, Sourcing Requirements for Disseminated Analytic Products, the IC has used the analytic tradecraft standards as laid out in both ICDs. These analytic tradecraft standards (ATS) mandate that IC analysts properly describe areas like quality and credibility of underlying sources, expressing analytic certainty and explicitly identifying assumptions, for example. These analytic tradecraft standards are what determine the quality of your products that support your customers.

In this course, you will go deeper into analytic tradecraft standards 1-4 that cover the following standards:

ATS 1 – Sourcing Defense Intelligence Analysis
ATS 2 – Expressing Analytic Certainty
ATS 3 – Distinguishing Underlying Intelligence from Assumptions and Judgments
ATS 4 – Analysis of Alternatives

What You'll Learn
Demonstrate understanding of the relationship of the first four analytic tradecraft standards:

  1. ATS 1 - Explain the importance of sourcing to production of analytic products.
  2. ATS 2 - Demonstrate the ability to express analytic certainty.
  3. ATS 3 - Demonstrate why distinguishing between underlying intelligence and analysts' assumptions and judgments is important to analytic production.
  4. ATS 4 - Demonstrate why developing analytic alternatives and providing those to policymakers and warfighters is important to analytic product quality.


ICIC101 - Introduction to Analytic Tradecraft Writing is a prerequisite for this course.

Course Staff

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Dr. J. Keith Dunbar

Dr. J. Keith Dunbar is a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer whose career culminated with a tour of duty at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a training program manager for its Academy of Defense Intelligence. Dr. Dunbar is a learning strategy, leadership development, integrated talent management, instructional design, e-learning, and content delivery expert. He has taught intelligence analysis courses for the Navy and DIA.

Dr. Dunbar’s academic credentials include a Doctorate degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's degree in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, and a Bachelor's degree in naval and political science at the University of New Mexico. He has also completed graduate certificate programs from the executive education program at the UPenn Wharton School of Business in business leader engagement, learning technology, and organizational leadership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

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See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

Who can take the course?

New and experienced analysts who have an interest in improving their analytic tradecraft writing skills.

Is there a test?

Yes. There is one graded quiz at the end of each module (four total), and one final exam. You need a passing score of at least 70% in order to earn a certificate of completion.