That’s a fact: there is no standard policy analyst education programme.

Our approach to policy analyst education respects the immense body of knowledge built up by the intelligence community as well as (in the recent years) civilian researchers.

It means, we do not attempt to add value by reinventing the wheel.

It does not mean that we only follow where others have trodden.

The 16 SATs that we teach in our course may be better or less known.  But we use them to build our own case studies that take students into uncharted territory.

Our course has a modular structure.
Each year we strive to expand the course syllabus
by adding new techniques.

In a default format

we offer our course as a semester course with some 16-20 classroom hours at the front end of a semester and another 16-20 hours at the back end. In between, students complete home projects with instructor coaching provided as necessary by e-mail or Skype.

For more advanced audiences

we can teach our course as a condensed two-week module in a 16-20 hour format with home projects completed at night and during the weekend.

For professional audiences

we can teach our course in the boot camp format during six days with some six hours daily classroom load and another estimated four hours daily homework. It is tough on both participants and the instructor, but the results are well worth the pain.

Bespoke syllabi can be created on request to meet clients’ specific needs, preferences, and time constraints.

Course structure and teaching methods

policy analyst education hones critical reasoning

Course goal and objectives

The course “Structured Analytic Techniques for Policy Analysis and Strategic Threat Assessment” aims at providing delegates with basic skills and techniques used in the analysis of strategic intelligence and forecasting of policy processes. The focus is on foreign affairs and global threats.

The overall course goal is to introduce delegates to the concepts of structured analysis, strategic thinking and policy forecasting and help them to gain a degree of confidence in their practical use.

Specific course objectives include:

Reaching a better understanding by delegates of the concept of structured analysis and its importance in education and professional development.

Providing delegates with essential knowledge about the process of thought and impact of cognitive biases on the analytic process.

Giving delegates understanding of and some practice in the use of the core structured analytic techniques including weighted ranking, event/decision tree, multiple perspective utility analysis.

Practicing the use of structured analytic techniques applied in forecasting including Force Field Analysis, Futures Wheel, What if? Analysis, High Impact-Low Probability Analysis and Analytic Failure Simulation.

Practicing the use of structured analytic techniques applied in strategic threat assessment and risk analysis with a focus on the expanded T4 matrix.

Informing delegates about the use of social network analysis and game-theoretic techniques in threat assessment and policy forecasting.

Learning outcomes

The course provides knowledge and skills through a balanced mix of classroom-based learning and self-study in the format of group home projects.

Classes include interactive lectures, structured discussion, and seminars in the use of newly learned techniques to achieve designated learning outcomes.

policy analyst education involves team work to mitigate biases

By the end of this course, delegates should


  • Elements of thought and strategic thinking
  • Main cognitive biases and their impact on the analytic process
  • Benefits and limitations of core structured analytic techniques

Be able to:

  • Apply 14 core structured analytic techniques to the study of policy issues and strategic threats
  • Recognize cognitive biases in others’ and own thinking
  • Consistently and consciously apply the techniques of problem restatement and problem decomposition to expose and reveal core issues in a problem with a view to identifying alternative solutions to it
  • Routinely use weighted ranking to make better decisions when comparing different options

Have acquired skills in:

  • Applying divergent thinking to their academic studies
  • Drawing event/decision trees, building weighted ranking and probability/utility matrices
  • Performing a structured and consistent critical analysis and forecasting of policy issues and strategic threat assessments
  • Analytic report writing

Course syllabus

Course duration and specific content will be determined
in accordance with customer requirements/preferences.
Below follows an overview of available modules.


the Course Syllabus (PDF)

Elements of thought including purposefulness, assumptions, point of view, inferences and focus on consequences are described and discussed. Clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance and fairness are identified as standards of critical thinking.

The concept of strategic thinking is introduced and discussed. Different lists of attributes used to define it are reviewed and critiqued.

our course in policy analyst education has a steep learning curve

Our course is focused on analytic techniques that are effective for policy analysis and threat assessments.

They are not same thing as OSINT analysis uses, particularly as applied to the study of social networks. Those interested in that area of expertise, have a look at this review of an online training course.

And here is a neat takeaway for you – the evergreen 15 Axioms for Intelligence Analysts.

Our instructor’s CV is available on request


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