FEATURED IN TRAINING
"All terrorism is local. Local, state and tribal agencies are more likely to see indicators of terrorism in the crime data that they are already collecting," says Dale Smith, Training Manager at the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). "Taking that data and analyzing it, and understanding what those indicators are, is very important to discover terrorism."
Indeed, studies show that while terrorists think globally, they act locally. Their actions have to take place in a specific place in a specific time. One study states that 75% of terrorists live either within 30 miles of their target or in excess of 800 miles. Preparatory actions by terrorists occur within the same distances 90% of the time.
Analysis is required to discover the local indicators of terrorist preparatory activity someone has to be looking for patterns in the data. Intelligence analysis follows if such indicators are discovered. We ask: Who might be involved and how can we predict what they might do?
"Once patterns are discovered analysts will do research to determine who might be involved and gather information on groups that might be involved, then look for ways to affect the outcome or try to prevent crimes from that group by using the intelligence cycle," said Smith in an interview on Analysts' Corner on Blog Talk Radio in November 2008.
The National White Collar Crime Center has a national mission to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement organizations to detect and prosecute economic and high tech crime. Now, they address an important homeland security issue through training in intelligence analysis. This training is not just for analysts smaller agencies that do not have analysts can send officers to intelligence analysis training. NW3C services are provided for free to member agencies. Non-member agencies can join by requesting membership and, if voted in by the NW3C, all personnel are entitled to their services.
According the NW3C website, the NW3C is a congressionally-funded non-profit organization, that "has been continuously funded for the past 28 years in support of state and local enforcement efforts." It has a presence in all the states and membership is opened beyond law enforcement to regulatory and prosecution agencies, as well as duly-constituted permanent task forces.
The NW3C has received grant funding in a competitive training grants program from DHS funding to provide an intelligence analyst training project. This funding was awarded through the competitive training grants program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS), National Preparedness Directorate, National Integration Center, and Training and Exercise Integration Secretariat Training Operations. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is also a significant source of funding for the NW3C.
40 Foundations of Intelligence Analysis Training (FIAT) courses and 40 Advanced Intelligence Analysis to Prevent Terrorism (AIATPT) courses will be conducted by the NW3C in the next three years. The NW3C is developing an intelligence writing and presentation course, funded under the same grant, which will be held 25 times in the same time period. The NW3C hopes to schedule a FIAT course followed by an ACIATPT course a few months later in the same location, as a mechanism to more fully develop intelligence analytical skills in law enforcement staff. The writing class will follow after the first two classes are completed to "provide training in the full spectrum at the same location," according to Smith.
So, what will you learn in the intelligence analysis training? The FIAT course will give you a basic training in intelligence analysis, including the history and purpose along with basic analytical techniques. The ACIATP course builds upon these skills and focuses on a case study during the five days of training. Here you will see how what seem like minor crimes may be indicators of terrorist activity. The intelligence writing and presentation course, now in the development stages, will help analysts and officers communicate analytical finding more effectively.
The ACIAPT course, developed two years ago, starts out with basic crime data to be analyzed. It has an all-crimes approach to look for terrorism indicators, how to defeat analytical biases, and predictive methodologies. The training imparts a heightened awareness of the nexus between homeland security and law enforcement, as well as an overview of how the intelligence community works. The course itself has substantial federal oversight.
Do you know local indicators of terrorism and its preparatory acts? Thefts of explosives or weapons are more obvious than some other indicators. In your crime reports, you might record thefts of items that by themselves seem innocuous, but may be used to make weapons or explosives. You might have the indicators of counterfeiting money or evidence of fraudulent identities. Potential terrorists may be committing other, unrelated crimes to fund their operations. Those crimes might be occurring in your jurisdiction.
Become a member agency of the NW3C and host an intelligence analysis class. (Sorry there are no individual or private business memberships!) All that is needed is a place to host a course for up to 30 participants, and you will have six free seats as host. Participants may enroll from non-member agencies, upon approval. The NW3C takes the training out to agencies in order to save travel costs for those who desire training. All NW3C intelligence courses are taught by a NW3C staff member and an intelligence analyst working as an adjunct staff.
The NW3C also offers training in Analyst's Notebook. Analyst's Notebook is software from a company called i2 that allows you to visualize a large set of data to find patterns and links. You can look at associations between people and organizations, temporally to see patterns in time. The software's advantage is that it allows a large volume of data to be imported into the program to visualize patterns that are not otherwise simple to uncover.
The NW3C also offers investigative support services, including analytical support to member agencies upon request. According to NW3C's 2007 annual report:
"NW3C's Investigative Support Services Section (ISS) provides many services often unavailable at the local and state criminal justice agency level. Economic and cyber crime cases are often highly sophisticated and complex, requiring analysis of bank transactions and other financial data. Utilizing data and information provided by member agencies, the ISS analytical staff establishes financial transaction patterns and develops intricate charts illustrating possible links between criminal targets and associated criminal activity. Ad ditional analytical services include the development of charts and graphs, qualitative data compilation, trend analysis and other forms of technical assistance."
Look into the training and resources offered by the NW3C. Get analytical training. Smith says that the viewpoint provided by analysts complements the other viewpoints in a law enforcement agency. The analyst offers big-picture as well and detail insights. Analysts can focus the delivery of service as well as help deter and prevent crime. "Looking at data systematically can help deploy staff to address trends more appropriately."
What is the value of an analyst to an agency? Smith says, "I think the value is actually priceless."