The Intelligence Community’s role is to provide timely, insightful, objective, and relevant intelligence to inform decisions on national security issues and events; the IC does not make policy recommendations.



Analytic objectivity and sound intelligence tradecraft ensure our nation’s leaders receive unbiased and accurate intelligence to inform their decisions. 


The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRPTA) mandated that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “assign an individual or entity to be responsible for ensuring that finished intelligence products produced by the intelligence community are timely, objective, independent of political considerations, based on all sources of available intelligence, and employ the standards of proper analytic tradecraft.”


ODNI has further codified these standards in Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203, Analytic Standards. The IC Analytic Standards were established in 2007, and revised, revalidated, and approved by the DNI in January 2015.

ICD 203

These analytics standards govern the production and evaluation of analytic products, articulate the responsibility of intelligence analysts to strive for excellence, integrity and rigor in their analytic thinking and work practices, and delineate the role of the ODNI Analytic Ombuds. ICD 203 serves as a common foundation for developing education and training in analytic skills.


The Directive articulates five Analytic Standards, which demand that analysis be: objective, independent of political consideration, timely, based on all available sources, and "implement and exhibit" nine Analytic Tradecraft Standards:

  • Properly describe the quality and credibility of underlying sources, data and methodologies
  • Properly express and explain uncertainties associated with major analytic judgments
  • Properly distinguish between underlying intelligence information and analysts' assumptions and judgements
  • Incorporate analysis of alternatives
  • Demonstrate customer relevance and address implications
  • Use clear and logical argumentation
  • Explain change to or consistency of analytic judgements and bring significant differences in analytical judgement, such as between two IC analytic elements, to the attention of consumers
  • Make accurate judgments and assessments
  • Incorporate effective visual information where appropriate


IRTPA Section 1020 tasked the ODNI with identifying a Safeguard of Objectivity in Intelligence Analysis to be available to analysts to counsel, conduct arbitration, offer recommendations, and, as appropriate, initiate inquiries into real or perceived problems of analytic tradecraft or politicization, biased reporting, or lack of objectivity in intelligence analysis. This safeguard is the ODNI Analytic Ombuds. ICD 203 directs the heads of IC elements to designate a similar individual or office to respond to concerns raised by the element’s analysts about adherence to analytic standards.


The ODNI Analytic Ombuds meets its IRTPA mandated responsibilities by:

  • Serving as the principal advisor to the DNI on safeguarding analytic objectivity
  • Responding to analysts' inquiries for independent, impartial, informal, confidential counsel to resolve objectivity concerns
  • Administering a survey of analysts to evaluate how well the IC is preserving objectivity

IRTPA also requires ODNI to perform detailed reviews of analytic products. ICD203 further directs that IC elements conduct internal programs of review and evaluation of analytic intelligence products using the IC Analytic Standards as the core criteria, and provide annual status reporting to ODNI.


ODNI meets its IRTPA mandated responsibilities by:

  • Evaluating hundreds of finished analytic products from all IC elements;
  • Conducting interviews among senior IC customers.