Thursday, March 15, 2012

Summary of Findings (Green Team): Multi-Criteria Intelligence Matrix (3 out of 5 stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the 12 articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst College in March 2012 regarding Multi-criteria Intelligence Matrices specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Description:
Multi-criteria Intelligence Metrics is a family of intelligence analysis methods which quantifies data to reduce the uncertainty for decision makers concerning the possible courses of action of external actors. Analysts judge the courses of action against a set of criteria to develop a score of their utility. The method is used to translate both qualitative and quantative data into a matrix where analysts can weight different criteria to achieve the most likely course of action.

Strengths:
• Ability to quantify any type of data
• Ability to rank criteria by relative importance
• Can be broken down to the likely courses of action for specificity
• Has multiple applications
• Can use multiple mathematical formulas to improve accuracy
• Easy to construct and use
• Helps a team focus on a specific problem

Weaknesses:
• Reliability depends on the selection of the right criteria
• Weighting scale can be manipulated to produce biased results
• Looking at finite number of actions
• Need to analyze data from an outside perspective
• Criteria may not be what is really relevant to the actors
• Defining scale for measurement and ranking is possibly subjective
• All entries must be in question form for the process to work properly

How-to:
2. Establish Criteria necessary to answer problem
3. Establish scoring system for each criteria (for example: 1-3 or 1-5), including any weighting assigned to specific criteria.
4. Brainstorm possible courses of action
5. Score utility of each possible course of action as it relates to each criteria
6. Build matrix with criteria ordered across columns and courses of application ordered across rows
7. Add up the score for each course of action; the highest score is the most likely outcome
Personal Application of Technique:
What actions will the Iranian government take in the next 60 days regarding its production of enriched uranium, and protecting its existing nuclear program?

Constructing the MCIM requires thought on the most likely courses of action (this requires some knowledge and/or experience already and can have bias within it). The criteria can also be influenced by bias and needs to be carefully selected in order to make the MCIM usefuIdentified four criteria and potential coarses of action. Deciding on the courses of action proved to be difficult. We were allocated 15 minutes to research the topic. Our analysis showed that the most likely outcome would be for Iran to follow the UN guidlines.

Rating: 3 out of 5