National Intelligence Estimate On Infectious And Chronic Disease


NavigationTutorialButtonFinal3.JPGAbout The Project

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is drafting a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) about the implications of infectious and chronic disease on United States (US) national interests, and has accepted this contribution from a graduate class of 26 student analysts in Strategic Intelligence at Mercyhurst College. The articles and discussion on this wiki will be considered as contributions for the update of the January 2000 NIE, "The Global Infectious Disease Threat And Its Implications For The United States."

The Mercyhurst INSIGHT (Identifying National Security Implications of Global Health Trends) Team conducted this research from 04 December 2006 to 20 February 2007. This project differs from its predecessor in focusing on the strategic consequences of infectious diseases for nations and regions over the next 10-15 years, instead of just the disease trends themselves. Specifically:

  • KEY ESTIMATIVE QUESTION: What are the most important and most likely impacts on, and threats to, US national interests (including but not limited to political, military, economic and social interests) resulting from infectious and chronic human disease originating outside the US over the next 10-15 years?

(See the Terms Of Reference for additional details, including the secondary questions and early thoughts on how the INSIGHT Team approached this topic)

Navigating The Wiki

The Navigation Pane, to the left, lists important pages where the reader should go for information.

  • Final Estimates: The reader can find the answer to the Key Estimative Question at the global, regional, national interest and country levels on the Final Estimates page. The Global Estimate Video can also be found on this page.

  • National Interest Matrix: This matrix, created by the INSIGHT Team, catalogs the impact of disease on US interests in each country and region around the world. Analysts scored disease impacts on a 5-point National Interest Impact Scale, with 1 being the lowest score or minimal impact, 2-marginal, 3-moderate, 4-significant, 5-severe. This Matrix and the Methods And Process Report, taken together, give a good overview of the way in which the INSIGHT Team derived the Final Estimates.

  • Methods and Process: This report provides essential background information detailing the analytical processes that the INSIGHT Team followed to support the NIC update of the January 2000 NIE, "The Global Infectious Disease Threat And Its Implications For The United States." This "lessons learned" report describes how the INSIGHT Team developed the project to best answer the Key Estimative and Secondary Questions as well as the wiki method used to carry out this process.

  • Resources: This page is a library of the works collected by the INSIGHT Team throughout the duration of the project. It is also a reference where readers can go to find further information.

  • Contact Information: This page contains the contact information for all analysts who contributed to the INSIGHT Project. Visit it for information on contacting team members for questions/comments.

Understanding The Reports

The INSIGHT Team included a number of special features in order to make the reports easier to read and the process, sourcing and analysis, transparent.

  • National Interest Badges: Country and regional reports contain national interest badges in the upper right hand corner of the page. These are visual representations of the National Interest Impact Scale and are designed to clearly show the estimated impact of disease on US national interests. These badges represent the average estimated impact of disease on all US interests in a country or region over the next 10-15 years. Individual interests within a particular country or region may have higher or lower estimated scores (a map showing the worldwide estimated impact of disease on US national interests is available on the Global Estimate page).

  • Words Of Estimative Probability: In addition to the National Interest Impact Scale, the INSIGHT team also used words of estimative probability as proposed by Sherman Kent and recently used in the 2007 NIE on Iraq. These terms (highly likely, likely, unlikely, and highly unlikely) indicate the degree of probability of an estimative judgment.

  • Source Reliability and Analytic Confidence: At the end of each report, the author or authors responsible assigned ratings that capture source reliability and analytic confidence. Both the source reliability and the analytic confidence scale range from 1–10; 10 represents a high level of analytic confidence in the report or a high level of overall source reliability while 1 represents the opposite. While both numbers are judgment calls on the part of the analyst, the INSIGHT Team included the information in order to make the analytic process transparent to the reader.

  • Report Format: All of the reports follow a similar format. The title to the report contains the answer to the key estimative question as it pertains to that level of report (globally, regionally, by national interest or by country). This is followed by a brief Executive Summary that restates the estimate in more detailed terms and provides a sense of the key facts that drive the analysis. The next section, the Discussion, lays out the facts in detail that support the analyst's estimative conclusion. The Additional Comments section provides information of potential interest to the reader but which is tangential to the main report. Finally, due to the format restrictions of the wiki, most relevant multimedia objects were placed at the end of the reports.

  • Sourcing: The INSIGHT Team provided extensive sourcing with each report in order to increase analytic transparency and provide a resource list for further research. This sourcing either refers to an internal document such as this citation to the Global Key Findings or to an external source such as this citation to the Mercyhurst College website.