Predictive_Analysis_Clauser_ &_Weir_Excerpt

Predictive_Analysis_Clauser_ &_Weir_Excerpt -...

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Exerpt from Clauser, J. K. and Weir, S. M. (1976). Intelligence Research Methodology . Washington D.C.: Defense Intelligence College. Page 295 CHAPTER XVIII PREDICTION, FORECASTING, AND HARUSPICY With the intelligence community's overriding concern for reducing uncertainty, it is not surprising that techniques for anticipating future events or conditions would have a special attraction for the intelligence researcher or analyst. This chapter discusses selected techniques for anticipating future events or conditions that have been (or can be) used in intelligence research and analysis. The first part of this chapter discusses the nature of prediction and forecasting, discusses assumptions underlying prediction, and describes the relationship of a technique to the nature of the phenomenon being considered. Although this chapter is concerned with methodologies for forecasting, there is nothing sacrosanct about the methodology which limits its application to predicting or anticipating future events. Simulations, for example, can be used for diagnostic purposes as well as for predictive purposes. That accurate predictions have been made on the basis of "non-predictive" techniques, as such, is not only possible, but is also highly probable. Types of Phenomena and their Relationship to Forecasting At the outset, it should be apparent that some types of phenomena are easier to forecast than others. At one end of the continuum, for example, are short-term, unique events which occur at specific points in time. These are the most difficult Page 296 types of phenomena to predict because they may not have any precedents. Very often, unfortunately, these are the types of events that are of most concern to the intelligence community. An example of this type of phenomenon would be an unexpected coup that toppled a government overnight, or the defection of a key scientist on a highly classified defense-related project, or a discovery of large deposits of a strategic commodity. In the middle of the continuum are events which occur over a period of time. There may be little doubt about their outcome, but the concern may be to establish when the outcome will occur or what the effects may be. Admittedly, the point in time at which a phenomenon started may be considered a unique event, but the event is nevertheless continuous for a given period of time. An example of a continuous event would be a country's construction of its first aircraft carrier. The precise time that the carrier was started (e.g., the specific point in time when the first line was drawn on a plan) was a unique event. But, for the sake of this discussion, the time events and occurrences that would take place until the carrier completed its sea trials and became fully operational could be considered as a continuous sequence of events.
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At the other end of the continuum of phenomena are cyclical events or conditions whose occurrences are just short of inevitable; for example: phases of the moon, tides, seasons, and, of
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Predictive_Analysis_Clauser_ &_Weir_Excerpt -...

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