Written during the Cold War, Edwin Sapp’s article on decision trees begins by noting the large amount of information available to intelligence analysts, the sophistication and seriousness of the weapons available, and ever-shortening time span in which effective decisions must be made. Sapp advocates the decision tree as a competent method for processing large amounts of data, while at the same time communicating degrees of certainty to an extent which language cannot.
Edwin Greenlaw Sapp begins his article entitled Decision Trees by discussing the nature of intelligence analysis. He identifies four major categories that intelligence requirements fall into:
1) places (geographic locations, physical resources);
2) people (strengths and attitudes);
3) organizations (what people form and belong to); and
4) objects (things people make and possess; cities and weapons systems
Can decision trees really handle the large amounts of data that Sapp claims?
How accurate can assigning probabilities be when such probabilities are related to intelligence problems?
Sapp, E. G. (1974, Winter). Decision Trees. Intelligence Studies, pp. 45-57 (declassified).