Dissecting Structured Analytic Techniques (SAT) (20 JAN 2021)

As the name already indicates, Structured Analytic Techniques (SAT) are a vital tool to improve and better guide analysis by externalizing thought processes. Questioning intuitive judgment through SAT helps to debiases analysis and makes it more systematic and transparent.

As part of a panel discussion the experts Dr Markus Bresinsky, Professor for International Politics and Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg and Captain Ole Donner, SAT Specialist at the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces examined the benefits and values and the implementation of these techniques as well as the limitations and how to overcome them while providing examples from their practical experiences.

The panel discussion was structured according to the following three guiding blocks:

  • Benefits and value of SAT
  • Design, implementation and teaching
  • Limitations, weaknesses, and mitigation strategies

After the moderated fruitful discussion round, they further shared their knowledge by responding to questions posed by the audience.

Feel invited to discover background information about the seminar and our speakers by approaching the speakers’ biographies as well as the seminar minutes and video recordings.

For further information on Structured Analytic Techniques, feel free to have a look at:

Heuer, Richards / Pherson, Randolph: Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis, 2nd Edition, CQ Press, California, 2015.

 Pherson (2018) Leveraging the Future with Foresight Analysis, in The International Journal of Intelligence, Security and Public Affairs, Vol. 20, No. 2, 102-131 (https://doi.org/10.1080/23800992.2018.1484237)

 Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

 Pearl, J., & Mackenzie, D. (2018). The book of why: the new science of cause and effect. Basic books.

Prof Dr Markus Bresinsky

Dr Markus Bresinsky is a Professor for International Politics and Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg. Before his academic career, he was working as a consultant and analyst in the Defence Security Sector.  Additionally, he provided in-mission support and worked on projects that tried to improve the analytical competencies skills for military organizations as well as the interaction between military and civil actors. His practical background later motivated him to join academia with the aim to improve the development of training and teaching for analytical skills. He further is part of a summer school for the International Master for Security and Intelligence Studies that is hosted in Glasgow and in this context, he also teaches and trains Structured Analytical Techniques.  His interest also includes the development and improvement of these Structured Analytic Techniques.

Captain Ole Donner

Captain Ole Donner is an SAT Specialist at the Military Academy of the German Armed Forces. After University he served as an all-source analyst for 3 years in the command of the Federal Armed Forces. Between 2017-2020 he lectured on intelligence analysis and Structured Analytic Techniques while also developing an analysis education program for the Federal Armed Forces. During this period, he also accomplished the intelligence analysis professional certification process run by Globalytica. Since 2019 he has operated a website on which he tries to raise awareness for the benefits of structured analysis and since the end of 2020, he works at the military academy of the federal armed forces. Among other things, he is also working on the application of SATs for the decision-making process. Furthermore, with Dr Oliver Gnad for the Bureau for Zeitgeschehen and Randolph Pherson he works on the first German Book for Structured Analytic Techniques.