Chapter 9. Disseminate

People tend to do one of two things with data: they hoard it, or they dump it on people.

General Stanley McChrystal

Tell me what you know. Tell me what you don’t know. And then…tell me what you think…I will hold you accountable.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, September 13, 2004, Intelligence Reform Hearing

At some point, the investigation needs to end, or at least pause long enough to create outputs useful to other teams, leadership, organizations, and/or customers. Dissemination is the process of organizing, publishing, and sharing developed intelligence. This is a skill set unto itself, and just like any other skill, effectively disseminating intelligence takes time to learn, and it means following processes. Good intelligence can be ruined by poor dissemination. Although writing up something after hours of analysis may seem unimportant, it’s worth the time for any intelligence team to focus and build their skills in disseminating information.

Dissemination is such an important skill that in larger intelligence teams, resources may be dedicated just to the Dissemination phase. These dissemination-focused analysts need the following:

  • A strong understanding of the overall dissemination process and importance of the information they’re sharing.

  • A firm grasp of the types and needs of stakeholders to whom the intelligence will be sent.

  • A disciplined and clear writing style. (Intelligence writing is a little different from typical narrative writing; ...

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