Monday was Perception and Perceptual Bias.
Assessment and Net assessment.
Issue of assessment – have to distinguish between individual's assessment and an organization's. We all
assess information. Distinction between bureaucratized decision making and an individual's. Up til a
couple centuries ago, decisions made by state were largely individual. Leaders would have access to
data or be only one or two steps removed from it.Assessing the data themselves without any
intervening body. Since WWI onward, find rise of large assessment bodies which handle most of the
process of making sense of intelligence. When looking at assessment, in the last century it become
more political than before. Treated as an element in political decision making.Assessment – what are
you doing in a given competition? If you're playing chess, running a business or a war, your assessment
Intentions and Capabilities, or Ideas and Things.
Intentions – what someone would do. Capabilities – what they can do.Assessing intentions is more
difficult that assessing capabilities, though assessing complex capabilities can be more difficult than
assessing simple intentions. What to do with your next move is simpler to assess. Number of options in
front of you is limited, you assessment of intentions is reduced to manageable number of things.
Bureaucracies constantly fluctuate, leaders change their minds. Policy by a government is not concrete
and fixed by varies from day to day – sometimes governments change their mind or don't mean what
they say. Intelligence can be useful on intentions the more concrete the issue is. The longer term it is
the less useful intel will be. Still useful, especially with a close and opaque decision making system.
Intel can help you make this a little clearer, let's you know the players on the other side. If dealing with
the top deicison maker, intel generally won't tell you what they'll do as you can't read their minds. Top
decision makers are cagey about expressing their views and thus it isn't simple to figure out. Sometimes
in very specific competitions, intel can give you very useful information on intentions.
Capabilities – more problematic. In peacetime, capabilities of a state are gauged in general terms that
are often inaccurate. A small state may have greater diplomatic capabilities than a large state. In
miilitary issues, you assess the quality of units, how well they fight, what are their weapons, who are
their commanders.Assessing how they will fight and how good they are is complex, and never entirely
accurate. Best you can do is be accurate.As a general rule they are simple, simpler than is true of
intentions, but nto at all straightforward. Complicated capabilities are as hard to deal with as simple
intentions. Focusing here on military issues, but can be used in trade, diplomacy, etc.Assessing
Canadian intentions on trade – what do provinces want, how far will the federal government go to
achieve its ends.
Final major point on assessment: net assessment. Military term that can be applied to non military
issues. How do I gather all the information I can on me versus someone else? How do I assess myself
compared to them. Going on a date can be a net assessment.Always judging both sides by your own
way of looking at things. Ethnocentrism is an important element in any mode of assessing intel. Part
and parcel of net assessment. The natural way for you or a government to assess yourself or
competition is to use yourself as the standard. If your standards are wrong, you've got problems. Sometimes the standards that are appropriate for you are not appropriate for everyone. Simply because
one has a set of solutions that worked well, doesn't mean another's s