Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



While there has been an increasing need to integrate and synthesize the rapidly expanding complexity within intelligence analysis, there has developed an antithetical contemporary deemphasis of generalist orientation and function that can decrease analytical effectiveness. Increases in knowledge and information have naturally led to an increased demand for specialization with consequent increased influence of specialty experts, but this has been at the expense of generalist function, which is becoming increasingly limited to progressively higher administrative levels. A generalist is more than an individual with an eclectic background, rather, successful generalists are best understood by their functional characteristics which include a broad scope of competencies, complex decision making abilities, the ability to function well in an environment of uncertainty, and an orientation toward action. The expanded cognitive framework of the successful generalist is necessary for the recognition of actionable intelligence from multiple seemingly disparate sources, but a decrease in generalist function can lead to a lack of the innovation that is necessary for the analytical recognition of analogous correlations of data. Generalist vulnerabilities are also examined, and recommendations are made for increasing generalist orientation and influence.