The following are excerpts from National Security Branch Executive Assistant Director Willie T. Hulon’s April 16, 2007 response to the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Follow-up Audit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Hire, Train, and Retain Intelligence Analysts. The audit is a follow-up to the initial audit published in May 2005. The full text of the response can be found as an appendix to the report, which was released on April 23, 2006 and is available at www.usdoj.gov.
As EAD Hulon expressed in his response: “The FBI appreciates the commitment of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to enhancing our national security workforce and the OIG’s acknowledgement of the improvements we have made in our efforts to hire, train, and retain intelligence analysts in order to build an integrated analytic program.” EAD Hulon stated: “We are pleased to note the report’s discussion of the various areas in which we have improved, including the proper utilization of our analytic workforce, the maintenance of an acceptable rate of analyst attrition, the collection of data regarding analysts’ departure from the workforce, and the augmentation of our analytic cadre with qualified candidates. Perhaps most important, we particularly appreciate the OIG’s emphasis that FBI intelligence analysts continue to maintain high levels of satisfaction with their work and that they recognize the importance of their efforts to the FBI’s mission of protecting the United States from national security and criminal threats.”
In its report, the OIG made three main recommendations for continued improvement of the FBI’s analytic workforce. The OIG’s first main recommendation is that the FBI evaluate the hiring and background investigation process to identify ways to accelerate the accession of new intelligence analysts. EAD Hulon responded: “We concur with the OIG and are taking steps to streamline the background investigation process to comply with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 standards calling for reduced background processing times by 2009.”
The OIG’s second and third main recommendations address training of analysts. EAD Hulon stated that “the OIG may have been able to obtain a more complete picture of our training environment had it been able to incorporate the improvements the FBI has made since August of 2006 when the data collection period for this audit ended.” With regard to the recommendation that the FBI involve intelligence managers and experienced analysts more extensively in the development of training curriculum, EAD Hulon stated the following: “We concur with this recommendation and believe our past and current efforts demonstrate our commitment to improving in this area.” Noting that the FBI is now revising its basic intelligence analyst course, EAD Hulon says the FBI will reassess how to better implement this recommendation in current and future efforts. The third recommendation is that the FBI make student and supervisor evaluations of analyst training mandatory and use the results to identify any needed improvements in curriculum. EAD Hulon responded that the FBI concurs with the recommendation, citing ongoing efforts to enhance the evaluation process—revising class content and structure; instituting formal feedback sessions; and, implementing new job task analysis and competency reviews.
EAD Hulon also expressed that the FBI acknowledges that “the nature of such follow-up audits precludes interviews with large sample sizes and that the conduct of interviews of the entire FBI analytic cadre would be logistically impossible.” EAD Hulon continued, “However, while we do not dispute the views of the approximately 60 intelligence analysts interviewed in preparation for this report, we believe that [OIG’s] own statement (p.30) that this limited a sample ‘makes it difficult to assess the pervasiveness of the professional divide in the FBI’ also pertains to all of the views expressed by this group.” Further, “a larger sample size of interviews may have provided a fuller and more balanced picture of the FBI’s environment.”
EAD Hulon expressed appreciation for the OIG’s recommendations: “We look forward to working with and updating the OIG on our efforts to implement these recommendations in order to improve our hiring, training, and retention of intelligence analysts.”