The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Hire, Train, and Retain Intelligence Analysts
Audit Report 05-20
Office of the Inspector General
Pursuant to the OIG’s standard audit process, the OIG provided a draft of this audit report to the FBI on March 17, 2005, for its review and comment. The FBI’s April 12, 2005, response is included as Appendix 8 of this final report. The FBI concurred with the 15 recommendations in the audit report and also provided comments regarding 7 general issues in the report. Our analysis of the FBI’s response follows.
FBI’s General Comments
1. In its response, the FBI asserted that the report relies on anecdotal evidence to support conclusions, particularly the training and utilization findings. Specifically, the FBI believes that we used the opinion of one guest instructor at the Basic Intelligence Class to conclude that the FBI has not invested sufficient resources in its analyst training program. The instructor was a seasoned intelligence professional and, in our opinion, provided an important perspective. However, we did not rely solely on his perspective. This guest instructor’s critique was one of three sources that pointed to the FBI’s need for more FBI instructors for its introductory analyst class. Based on our interviews of analysts who had taken the introductory training and our review of the new Analytical Cadre Education Strategy-1 (ACES-1) curriculum, we noted the FBI’s reliance on instructors who are either contractors or personnel from other agencies. Moreover, during our audit FBI officials recognized this shortcoming and said they planned to remedy it and our report discusses the FBI’s plans to increase the number of FBI instructors.
The FBI’s response also stated that the utilization finding relies on anecdotal evidence to support the observation that analysts complained about being assigned much administrative work. The sentence from the report reads, “Some analysts also complained about being assigned much administrative work.” This statement is fully supported by the results of our survey, which found, on average, analysts reported spending 31 percent of their time performing different types of administrative work. Similarly, our survey supports another sentence that concerned the FBI: “Many analysts told us that most intelligence analysts do very little analysis; instead the work assigned them is what they classify as investigative support.” This comment reflects the response of many analysts. Moreover, our survey found that, on average, analysts spent 49 percent of their time doing work that did not require analytical skills. The FBI notes that a lack of administrative support pervades the intelligence community. While this may be true, our audit examined FBI practices, not the entire intelligence community.
2. The FBI disagreed with our use of the number of disseminated intelligence products as a performance metric for intelligence analysts and said that this metric is only one of 27 it uses to evaluate FBI intelligence operations. We acknowledge other performance metrics are applicable to intelligence analysts, and we revised the report to reflect the FBI’s comment that it uses 27 performance measures. However, we believe that the number of disseminated intelligence products is an important measure of the FBI’s intelligence program and therefore its intelligence analysts, and it was one key performance measure we gathered from our survey of intelligence analysts. Moreover, we believe that both the Mission Statement of the FBI Intelligence Program and the Directorate of Intelligence Performance Metrics Plan support our view that this is an important measure when they state: “The mission of the Intelligence Program is to optimally position the FBI to meet current and emerging national security and criminal threats by . . . Providing useful, appropriate, and timely information and analysis to the national security, homeland security, and law enforcement communities.” In addition, the Directorate of Intelligence Performance Metrics Plan includes the number of intelligence products produced by each analyst as one of its measures of performance.
Further, to ensure that our survey included an accurate list of tasks performed by the FBI’s analysts, we discussed the content of the survey with the Office of Intelligence, and we conducted extensive structured interviews and survey pretests with intelligence analysts. The Office of Intelligence did not provide us with comments on the list of tasks covered by our survey of intelligence analysts or suggest that we include other performance measures in our survey.
3. The FBI expressed concern with our use of the term “transfer” to describe intelligence analysts who were hired from within the FBI. We edited the final report to include a footnote defining our use of “transfer” in this context. The FBI also expressed concern about statements in our report in which we found that externally hired analysts had superior qualifications to internally hired analysts. However, the data we received from the FBI and the data from our survey indicated that analysts who entered on duty in the last three years were more likely to possess qualifications desired by the FBI including: military intelligence experience, intelligence community experience, Presidential Management Fellow, experience living outside the United States, and foreign language skills. Analysts who entered on duty prior to 2002 were less likely to have such superior qualifications. In response, the FBI said it had analyzed the educational background of internally hired analysts and found that internally hired analysts were not less educated than the FBI intelligence analyst population as a whole. However, our report does not state that internally hired analysts were less educated than the analyst corps as a whole. In fact, the report notes that analysts hired internally during FYs 2002 - 2004 are better educated than analysts who entered on duty before FY 2002. Finally, the FBI commented that the same hiring standards are applied to all applicants for analyst positions. We did not state otherwise in the report.
4. The FBI expressed concern with our characterization of the comments of the Executive Assistant Director – Intelligence (EAD-I) regarding the analyst attrition rate. The FBI’s response stated that the EAD-I was pleased with the 8 percent attrition rate for FY 2004 because it represents a decline from the previous year and because the attrition rate appears to have stabilized. We edited the final report to state that the EAD-I was pleased with the 8 percent rate because it was a decline from the previous year. However, we note that the FBI did not provide data to support the statement that attrition rate has stabilized at 8 percent.
5. The FBI asserted that our report did not highlight sufficiently that retirement was the reason analysts most frequently cited for not intending to stay with the FBI. However, both the executive summary and the body of our report make it clear that retirement was the reason analysts most frequently cited for not intending to stay with the FBI.
6. The FBI disagreed with the following statement in the report regarding analysts’ attendance of the introductory analyst training: “While all analysts are required to attend the basic course, actual enrollment is voluntary.” The FBI attached a November 2004 Electronic Communication (EC) showing that all FBI intelligence analysts must attend ACES-1 or ACES-1.5. However, the statement cited by the FBI is part of a discussion of the Basic Intelligence Analyst (BIA) class, which has been replaced by ACES. We also note that the EC the FBI provided does not address the fundamental problem the FBI had with accountability for BIA attendance. The EC does not establish any deadline or timeframes by which analysts must attend the ACES classes.
7. The FBI stated that since the OIG conducted the audit, the balance of analysts in the field to analysts at headquarters has shifted. The FBI provided recent data on the distribution of analysts, stating that as of March 2005 the majority were in the field. However, this data did not identify what operational entities were included in the count of analysts at headquarters or in the field. In our report, the analysis of the allocation of analysts includes three categories: field offices, operational divisions at headquarters, and other FBI entities such as the Information Technology Centers and the Critical Incident Response Group. Our analysis found that nine percent of analysts were assigned to these other entities. Because the March 2005 data the FBI supplied does not identify whether the other FBI entities are included in the count of analysts at headquarters or in the count of field analysts, we could not verify that the balance of analysts had shifted to the field offices from headquarters.
Status of Recommendations