Structured Analytic Techniques – An Introduction

Expand your intelligence analysis expertise by exploring a variety of foundational structured analytic topics.

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About This Intelligence Community Online Course

This course is the first in a four-part FedLearn learning series.

In this course, we explore a variety of foundational structured analytic techniques topics, including:

  • Why intelligence analysis and structuring are not the same thing
  • Why the failure to consider alternatives is a common cause of flawed intelligence analysis
  • How structuring helps to organize the data you analyze
  • Why there is no one method that will solve all your analytical woes

We also cover the art and science of intelligence analysis, the differences between intuitive and structured approaches, system 1 and system 2 thinking and how structuring can impact our thinking.

You will learn about troublesome instinctive mental traits—emotions that can overwhelm our power to reason that can lead to:

  • Jumping to a conclusion, a hunch or intuition
  • Perceiving patterns where none exists
  • Having biases that can lead to quick conclusions and reactions, sometimes at the expense of truth
  • Finding explanations, which go along with our compulsion to see cause-and-effect relationships and other patterns
  • Subconsciously misrepresenting evidence in intelligence analysis
  • Having the tendency to cling to false beliefs in the face of incontrovertible contradictory evidence by rationalizing away the disparity

In addition, you will participate in activities that may reveal these problematic proclivities in your thinking to help avoid some common analytic missteps.

We wrap up the course by looking at a tangible example of what it means to structure intelligence analysis.

What You Will Learn

  • Explain how structuring can aid one’s analysis
  • Discuss the seven problematic proclivities that negatively influence our thinking

The course is aligned to the Defense Intelligence Agency Certified Defense All-Source Analyst Certification Body of Knowledge Topic Area 5 – Structured Analytic Techniques.

Your Instructor

The course was developed by Robert Folker. Mr. Folker is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence weapons instructor with more than 30 years of military experience in technological development for various military applications. He currently is a senior strategist and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance consultant with PatchPlus Consulting.

Mr. Folker a senior subject matter expert on indications and warning, sensitive reconnaissance operations, ISR planning, sensor employment and numerous intelligence disciplines that span the range from unit-level to national-level organizations, cyber operations, U.S. and adversary weapon systems and transregional threats.

He is both a graduate of and former instructor at the USAF Weapons School and earned his Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University.

Who Should Take This Online Course

This online course is intended for new intelligence analysts working for eitherFfederal government agencies or government contractor companies who have little to no prior experience and want to develop the basic skills necessary to produce logically sound, descriptive intelligence analyses. It is also an excellent refresher for more experienced intelligence analysts.


This course is the first in a four-part FedLearn learning series.

Prior completion of the FedLearn course, Critical Thinking for Intelligence Analysis (ICAT101), is strongly recommended.

After finishing this course, it is highly recommended to take the second course in the series, Structured Analytic Techniques: Basic Techniques (ICAT114), to continue to advance your knowledge.

Course Certificate

To achieve a course certificate of completion, you must score 80 percent or higher on graded lesson quizzes and a final exam.

Course Format

Self-paced, online training course

Course Pricing

Individual courses are $89 (per person).

Seat licenses to access the entire FedLearn Intelligence Community catalog are also available. Click here to learn more and purchase.

If you are interested in learning about special team rates for Federal government and government contractor organizations, email [email protected].

Continuing Education Unit Credits

This course provides 1 CEU.