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Saturday, January 15, 2022
Making Judgement in Information Analysis
Chan Kung

In regard to making judgement in the information analysis profession, it is actually a process of gradual revision. To cite a metaphor, when driving a car, the steering wheel always has to be constantly adjusted by the driver to reach the correct position, so there is singular, fixed place that the steering wheel should be at.

In terms of the information analysis profession, the "process of gradual revision" is embodied in the most probable logical lines of judgment. According to the basic model of information analysis, there will not be only one logical line of judgment but several, depending on the number of possibilities. At this stage, all of these logical lines of analysis seem to make some sense, or there is no sufficient reason to reject them. It is also at this point that there will be a "process of gradual revision" with the so-called misjudgments, as well as differences in timing, efficiency, and decision-making. In the end, however, there is only one correct logical line that can be verified by the final facts. Modern science and Auguste Comte's positivism have already demonstrated this theory, so we will not go into it here.

Obviously, as for the strategic leader, the most efficient option is to choose the final correct logical line, but this requires that the strategic leader to possess a certain strategic policy decision-making ability, or a good theoretical foundation of intelligence, understanding, and mastery of phenomena and facts, and the willingness to take responsibility for their own judgment. At the same time, it also requires that the choice of the analytical institutions trusted by the strategic leader to be correct, tested, and more importantly, practical. Because the individual qualities of strategic leaders are inconsistent, it is often the credibility of institutions that plays a decisive role in the end.

For example, during the Battle of Tsushima, Akiyama Saneyuki, the adviser of the Japanese navy, played a decisive role in the analysis of the two possible marching routes of the Russian navy, while the strategic leader who made the decision was Admiral Tōgō. The pressure on Akiyama was so great that Akiyama himself became confused afterward, thinking that he had made a mistake, and asked Admiral Tōgō to change his strategy. At that time, Admiral Tōgō showed his leadership and determination, and ability to make a decision. He firmly believed that the initial judgment was correct, and the Russian navy would certainly take the identified route, and shouted the slogan "the existence of the Japanese Empire depends on this battle", believing that the ambush of the Japanese navy would be successful. The final result, as we all know, was exactly what the Japanese navy expected. As is the custom in the Japanese military, half of the achievements go to intelligence analysts, Akiyama was posthumously awarded the rank of Admiral by the Japanese Emperor at the time of his death.

In reality, the ability to judge and analyze information is not an easy feat. In general, the competitiveness of the analytical conclusions of many institutions will depend on their reputation, authority, and credibility. If these superficial factors are not taken into account, the reliability of the analytical conclusion can also be determined by looking at the state of analysts' work, regardless of their status or position. Is he or she a mediocre scholar, or a professional analyst who is passionate about pursuing the truth, tracking research, and in-depth analysis? In short, there are many factors that determine the credibility of the analytical conclusion.

Moreover, the confidence level is also an important concept for strategic leaders at any level. The confidence level indicates that different levels of trust should be assigned to the judgment, and therefore a great deal of responsibility should be assumed. ANBOUND, for example, has been given a high level of confidence for decades, which has demonstrated its ability and level of judgment. However, whether the analytical conclusion is trusted and adopted will depend on many factors.