Raytheon studies intelligence analysts' tradecraft to learn more about decision-making process

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has created a scenario-based gaming exercise to study in depth the intelligence analyst's tradecraft to ultimately help analysts produce the best intelligence products and streamline workflows.

"One way to think of this is that we are analyzing the analysts," said Karen Ebling, analytics strategy director for Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems (IIS) business. "We are conducting research to help the government look more closely at both the critical and creative modes of thought within the analyst tradecraft. Our end goal is to enable analysts to produce the best products possible."

User-Centric Analytics Grand Challenge

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Called the User-Centric Analytics Grand Challenge, Raytheon data scientists and engineers use instrumented software tools to assess the analytic process and to recommend approaches. This process – backed with scientific rigor – gains quality improvements and helps to find efficiencies for intelligence and defense customers.

The cognitive researchers are using a gaming concept along with Raytheon data and analytic software to reproduce a day-in-the-life of analyst teams. The objective is to help the teams learn what they can do to build on their day-to-day productivity and product quality by closely studying how they make decisions.

Penn State University has provided complex data sets based on real scenarios to support the exercise.

"We created unclassified, high-fidelity physical and soft data sets based on real information over a two-year period," said Dr. David Hall, dean of the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology and a former Raytheon employee.

Jake Graham, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, is professor of practice and director of the Center for Network-Centric Cognition and Information Fusion. He leads the team that has supported Grand Challenge. "We brought realism to the exercise using plausible data messages and storylines in miniature vignettes," Graham said. 

Former intelligence analysts who now work for Raytheon, and current analysts serving in the reserve component, are participating in the first phases of the exercise. Later stages of the study will include exercise engagements with government analysts.

"We have been working shoulder to shoulder with our intelligence analysts for decades," Ebling said. "This research is an extension of our commitment to deepen our understanding of our customers, their mission data, and how they work, so we can continue to provide them the best analytics solutions."

As each phase of the Grand Challenge concludes, Hall said the university plans to build on the findings to contribute to continued research and teaching at the university in reasoning, analysis and decision making.

Source: Raytheon Corporation (NYSE: RTN)
Date: Oct 8, 2012