The Intelligence Community’s role is to provide timely, insightful, objective, and relevant intelligence about the activities, capabilities, plans, and intentions of foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents to inform decisions on national security issues and events. The IC does not make policy recommendations.

The IC also collects, analyzes, and disseminates information concerning intelligence activities directed against the United States by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents; conducts actions to protect against such hostile activities; conducts covert action and special activities; and performs other such intelligence activities as the President may direct.

IC Analytic Standards

Analytic objectivity and sound intelligence tradecraft ensure our nation’s leaders receive unbiased and accurate intelligence to inform their decisions.

The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRPTA) mandated that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “assign an individual or entity to be responsible for ensuring that finished intelligence products produced by the intelligence community are timely, objective, independent of political considerations, based on all sources of available intelligence, and employ the standards of proper analytic tradecraft.”

ODNI has further codified these standards in Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203, Analytic Standards. The IC Analytic Standards were established in 2007, and revised, revalidated, and approved by the DNI in January 2015.

ICD 203

These analytics standards govern the production and evaluation of analytic products, articulate the responsibility of intelligence analysts to strive for excellence, integrity and rigor in their analytic thinking and work practices. ICD 203 serves as a common foundation for developing education and training in analytic skills.

The Directive articulates five Analytic Tradecraft Standards, which demand that our work be objective, independent of political considerations, timely and based on all available sources. IC 203 further states that all IC products must "implement and exhibit" nine Analytic Tradecraft Standards.

Our analysis must:

  • Properly describe the quality and credibility of underlying sources, data and methodologies
  • Properly express and explain uncertainties associated with major analytic judgments
  • Properly distinguish between underlying intelligence information and analysts' assumptions and judgements
  • Incorporate analysis of alternatives
  • Demonstrate customer relevance and address implications
  • Use clear and logical argumentation
  • Explain change to or consistency of analytic judgements
  • Make accurate judgments and assessments
  • Incorporate effective visual information where appropriate

Review & Evaluation

IRTPA tasked the ODNI with identifying an individual (Ombudsman) to assist analysts throughout the IC to respond to real or perceived problems of analytic tradecraft, politicization, biased reporting, or lack of objectivity in intelligence analysis. ICD 203 directs the heads of IC elements to designate a similar individual or office to respond to concerns raised by the element’s analysts about adherence to analytic standards.

IRTPA also requires that IC elements conduct internal programs of review and evaluation of analytic intelligence products using the IC Analytic Standards as the core criteria, and provide annual status reporting to ODNI.

ODNI meets its IRTPA mandated responsibilities by:

  • Evaluating hundreds of finished analytic products from all IC elements;
  • Administering an annual, confidential survey to thousands of IC analysts and managers; and
  • Conducting hundreds of interviews annually among senior IC customers. ODNI is required by law to report the results of these efforts annually to Congress.