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[ 12 ] asia policy Gen Next: Are We Adequately Training Our Next Generation of China Intelligence Analysts? Christopher M. Clarke Ihave been asked to address the question of whether we are adequately training our next generation of Asia experts, a seemingly clear and simple task, but one which first requires some deconstruction. First, who is “we”? Second, what do we mean by “training” and what are the necessary components of “adequate” training? Finally, what do we mean by “Asia experts”? This essay will mainly address the preparation of intelligence community analysts specializing in China, my own area of interest and experience. Some of these remarks, no doubt, will be applicable to other types of Asia experts, while some will not. But in both academia and the U.S. government, China experts almost certainly outnumber experts on any other part of Asia, and China is arguably the Asian country that will have the largest and most enduring impact on the 21st century. Thus, it is vital that “we” “adequately train” the “next generation” of experts to best understand and be able to interpret China for the rest of the world. Taking a Beating Since September 11, outsiders have been extremely critical of the quality of intelligence community analysis, pointing to several key areas of alleged deficiency, including structural, cultural, educational, managerial, and other shortcomings. The so-called 9/11 Report, for example, was highly critical of the intelligence community’s performance in the runup to the deadly terrorist attacks of 2001.1 Jeffrey R. Cooper, in his 2005 study “Curing Analytic Pathologies: Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis,” is scathing in criticizing “the dysfunctional practices and processes that have evolved within the culture of intelligence analysis” and calls for “fundamentally different approaches in both collection and analysis, as well as in the processing and dissemination practices and 1 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2004), 339–60, 399–428. christopher m. clarke is a China consultant. He retired as chief of the China division in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research after 25 years and has also worked for the U.S.-China Business Council. He can be reached at . [ 13 ] roundtable • training the next generation procedures that support them.”2 In addition to managerial and structural reforms, Cooper points out: [thereis]nosubstituteforanalyticexpertise,deepunderstanding, and self-imposed professional discipline…they must come from an appropriate recruiting profile, effective training, continual mentoring at all levels, time to learn and practice the craft of analysis—both individually and collectively—and constraining the “tyranny of the taskings” that prevents analysts from exercising curiosity and pondering more than the obvious answer.3 Douglas Hart and Steven Simon are even more critical: “none of the current efforts to reform the U.S. intelligence community addresses…[the]… virtually intractable pedagogical, cultural, and organizational challenges” facing intelligence analysts.4 They go on to warn that “the intelligence community is saddled with large numbers of new recruits who are, on average, ill equipped to manage the complex analytical demands posed by a new, highly distributed and strongly motivated adversary operating within a framework of values, beliefs and experiences alien to the average American.”5 While specifically decrying the lack of preparation for dealing with much of the Muslim world and the problems of international terrorism, Hart and Simon’s points apply in many respects to China as well: “Only 10% of enrolled [American college] students study a foreign • language; a far smaller percentage concentrates in one. The top five choices are Spanish, French, German, Italian, and American Sign Language.” “It takes 33 months of full-time instruction in a language not written • in the Latin alphabet to bring the average student to a so-called 3.3 level, which reflects competency but not fluency.”6 Hart and Simon go on to assert that “students graduating from fouryear institutions of higher education in the United States are not well equipped for critical thinking.”7 They cite studies showing that college students have difficulty drawing inferences, synthesizing and integrating 2 Jeffrey R. Cooper, “Curing Analytic Pathologies: Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis,” Center for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2960
Print ISSN
1559-0968
Pages
pp. 12-20
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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