Follow-up Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Hire, Train,
and Retain Intelligence Analysts
Audit Report 07-30
Office of the Inspector General
The OIG provided a draft of this audit report to the FBI for its review and comment. The FBI’s written response is included in Appendix 9 of this final report. The FBI concurred with the three recommendations in the audit report and also provided comments regarding some issues examined in the report. Our analysis of the FBI’s response follows.
FBI’s General Comments
In its response, the FBI concurred with the report’s three recommendations and also acknowledged the need for continued improvement in order to achieve an optimally integrated and functional analytic cadre.
In addition, the FBI referred to the OIG’s conclusions regarding deficiencies in its intelligence analyst training program – and stated that the OIG may have been able to obtain a more complete picture of the FBI’s training environment if the OIG had been able to incorporate improvements made by the FBI since August of 2006, when fieldwork for the audit ended. While we agree that the FBI may have made progress since the completion of our fieldwork, we also note that our review found that the FBI had made little progress on our training-related recommendations in the 15 months between the issuance of our May 2005 report and the end of fieldwork.
The FBI’s comments also discussed the OIG’s methodology in conducting our review. The FBI noted that the OIG conducted interviews with a limited sample of approximately 60 intelligence analysts and drew some conclusions based on smaller subsets. However, this audit was a follow-up to our May 2005 report in which the OIG discussed the results of a formal survey it sent to all of the FBI’s intelligence analysts employed at the time (approximately 1,247) and also included interviews of a sample of analysts. A follow-up audit by design concentrates on the actions taken in response to the previous recommendations, provides a general assessment of changes since the last audit, and seeks to identify any new or emerging concerns. While our sampling was more limited in the follow-up audit than in the original audit, we interviewed a significant number of intelligence analysts and found their responses were similar to the results of our larger sample in the initial audit.
In addition, we believe the judgmental sample of 60 intelligence analysts and 16 intelligence analysts’ supervisors we interviewed provides a fair representation of the overall analyst population. We interviewed intelligence analysts from a variety of grade levels, divisions, and locations and received consistent responses. The selection of the analysts to interview was not biased in any way. Nor do we have any indications that a larger sample would have provided a “fuller and more balanced picture of the FBI’s environment,” as the FBI suggests.
The FBI’s response also stated that individual opinions cited in the report may not accurately represent the nature of its initiatives. However, we believe the insights of the knowledgeable officials we interviewed are important to assessing the progress the FBI has made in improving its intelligence analyst program.
Status of Recommendations
1. Resolved. The FBI agreed with this recommendation. In its response to the draft report, the FBI described the actions it is taking to streamline the hiring process. This recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation demonstrating that the FBI has identified improvements in the hiring and background investigation process that accelerate the accession of new intelligence analysts.
2. Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation. The FBI also stated that it has consistently used both “subject matter experts” and “managers” throughout the development of intelligence analyst training. The intent of our recommendation was to specifically involve experienced intelligence analysts and supervisory analysts or intelligence managers in efforts to improve the curriculum. The FBI is not now doing so, and we noted little or no difference between the ACES curriculum and the Cohort curriculum that replaced it, despite the involvement of “subject matter experts and managers.” Knowledgeable FBI officials we interviewed told us that intelligence analysts have had limited input to the development of the training curriculum. The FBI’s response also noted that it is currently reviewing the basic intelligence analysis course and anticipates its roll-out in June 2007. This recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation demonstrating that intelligence managers and experienced analysts are more extensively involved in the development of the training curriculum.
3. Resolved. The FBI concurred with this recommendation. In its response, the FBI described its use of Level 1 evaluations and feedback sessions with each Cohort class to evaluate and refine the curriculum. Additionally, Level 2-5 evaluations will go forward when a new job task analysis and competency review are completed in mid-2007. Further evaluations will be implemented when the Intelligence Basic Course has been revised. This recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation demonstrating that the FBI has made student and supervisor evaluations of analyst training mandatory and uses the results to identify and make improvements to the curriculum.
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