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The US Intelligence Community (IC) has been heavily criticized for making inaccurate estimates. Many scholars and officials believe that these criticisms reflect inappropriate generalizations from a handful of cases, thus producing undue cynicism about the IC's capabilities. Yet there is currently no way to evaluate this claim, because the IC does not systematically assess the accuracy of its estimates. Many scholars and practitioners justify this state of affairs by claiming that assessing estimative accuracy would be impossible, unwise, or both. This article shows how those arguments are generally unfounded. Assessing estimative accuracy is feasible and desirable. This would not require altering existing tradecraft and it would address several political and institutional problems that the IC faces today.


Friedman, Jeffrey A., and Richard Zeckhauser. "Why Assessing Estimative Accuracy is Feasible and Desirable." Intelligence and National Security (November 28, 2014).