The Intelligence Community began to use structured techniques because of analytic failures related to cognitive limitations and pitfalls or biases. The use of SATs does not guarantee getting intelligence analysis right, because there are so many uncertainties. SATs help to reduce the frequency and severity of error. These include SATs that partially overcome cognitive limitations, address analytic pitfalls, and confront the problems associated with mindsets. SATs help the mind think more rigorously about an analytic problem. Specifically, they ensure that assumptions, preconceptions, and mindsets are not taken for granted but are explicitly examined and tested. The use of SATs also helps to review the analysis and identify the cause of any error.
The traditional approach to solving intelligence problems in general, and geospatial analysis in particular, is intuitive. It has been found that intelligence analysts who apply a process to an intelligence problem outperform those who rely on the intuitive approach. The next lesson discusses a method including high-level cognitive actions that structure the geospatial analysis process.