Level 1 Intelligence Analyst Certification

Training in Critical Thinking & Descriptive Intelligence Analysis
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  • Lectures 19
  • Length 2.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 6/2016 English

Course Description

The views expressed in this course are the instructor's alone and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, the Intelligence Community, or the Department of Defense.

Although anyone can claim the title of “intelligence analyst,” there are currently few commonly understood, standardized certifications available to confirm analytic skill and proficiency. Some may argue that each analytic assessment should be judged on its content and not on the certification or reputation of the author. However, an analytic product can often read well even though its analytic underpinnings are flawed. Also, it would be beneficial to have some objective measure of an analyst’s skill before selecting him for a task, rather than to discover afterwards that the analyst was unable to meet the task. Having addressed why certifications are needed and assuming certifications would provide a worthwhile benefit, the discussion then turns to how and in what areas should one attain certification. Through an analysis of the concept of analysis, the author proposes that three basic divisions should be created to train and certify one as either a descriptive, explanative, or predictive analyst. This course provides level 1 certification as a descriptive intelligence analyst.

What are the requirements?

  • No prior preparation is necessary; however, a strong academic background, understanding of the scientific method, and an open mind will help the student perform well in this course.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Apply critical thinking skills throughout the analytic process
  • Identify and mitigate biases to reveal unstated assumptions
  • Refine and clarify intelligence questions
  • Conduct research to identify existing data and gather new evidence
  • Select and apply appropriate analytic techniques
  • Reevaluate and revalidate previous analytic conclusions.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is intended for the new intelligence analyst who has little to no prior experience. This course will provide the basic analytic skills necessary to produce basic, logically sound, descriptive intelligence analysis.
  • More experienced intelligence analysts will also find this course provides great "back to basics" refresher training.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

I’ll introduce myself and the works of others; clarify the differences between descriptive, explanative, and predictive intelligence analysis; and go over the broad topics within the course. Also, I’ll explain why the course will help students and provide some motivation to complete this course.


This short paper argues for intelligence certifications and forms the foundation for this and follow on courses.


I’ll explain how to get the most from the course by leveraging all the features Udemy provides.  I’ll also describe the associated reference material, practical exercises, and the final certification exam.

Section 2: Critical Thinking and Avoiding Bias

I’ll define critical thinking and introduce the students to other experts and sources on the topic.  I’ll discuss the traits of a critical thinker, critical thinking skills, and how to employ them.  I’ll end this lecture with instruction on logical, plausible, and probable reasoning.

5 questions

This quiz is designed to help the student retain the key lessons from the Critical Thinking lesson and help them successfully complete the final exam.


This is the second part of Thinking about thinking lecture.  It describes deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning and the explains the strengths and weaknesses of each.


In this lecture I’ll discuss common analytic mistakes and lead the students through some practical exercises to help them discover their own biases.


I’ll reveal some insights into problem solving and provide some counter-tactics to help the students overcome common analytic pitfalls that they can use when performing intelligence analysis.

5 questions

This quiz is designed to help the student retain the key lessons from the lectures in this section and help them successfully complete the final exam.

Section 3: Getting the Question Right

I’ll explain how problem restatement will broaden our perspective of a problem, help us to identify the central issues and alternative solutions, and increase the chance that the outcome of our analysis will fully, not partially, resolve the problem.

5 questions

This quiz is designed to help the student retain the key lessons from the lecture in this section and help them successfully complete the final exam.

Section 4: Intelligence Research and Collection

During this lecture, I’ll broadly cover potential sources of intelligence and help the student focus their collection efforts on relevant evidence, which addresses the major factors in a problem statement.  Thus, the student will learn how to be efficient and effective by not wasting effort in gathering extraneous information.


I’ll illustrate how to use a deliberate process to evaluate both direct and inferential evidence based on its source, validity, and relevance.

5 questions

This quiz will aid student retention of key material taught in the lectures provided in this section, assist them to properly apply the lessons, and help them successfully complete the final exam.

Section 5: Intelligence Analysis

I’ll review multiple structured analytic techniques and categorize them to aid the student in selecting the technique(s) most appropriate in providing descriptive intelligence analysis.


The attached article warns of some of the possible pitfalls associated with the current efforts to automate intelligence analysis and recommends an investment strategy.


I’ll teach the students how to use the sorting, chronologies and timelines techniques to aid their intelligence analysis.


I’ll teach the students how to use the matrix technique to aid their analysis of specific intelligence problems.


Building on the matrix lecture, I'll teach the students to use this related structuring technique to reveal alternatives.


I'll teach students how to diagram the nodes and connections of an adversary network to reveal interrelationships.


I'll teach student how to apply this commonly used analytic structuring technique to test their intelligence hypotheses.

Section 6: Conclusion

I’ll discuss the importance of measuring performance and tracking progress to improving one’s intelligence analysis.  Moreover, I’ll show the students how to evaluate an argument using devil’s advocacy, and reevaluate and re-validate previous analytic conclusions based on new evidence.

25 questions

This multiple choice final exam will reinforce and evaluate whether we met the course goals by asking questions about key concepts taught within the course.

Bonus Lecture

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Instructor Biography

Robert Folker, Intelligence Officer

I have a 30 year combat proven track record of tactical, operational, and strategic expertise in intelligence analysis and operations; communications and information technology; and special operations. I'm a graduate of and former instructor at the USAF Weapons School. I earned a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) from the National Intelligence University and am a published author on intelligence analysis.

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