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Intelligence Reading List

The intent of the Institute for Leadership & Security Studies (ILSS) Intelligence reading list is to introduce college students and young professionals to the intricacies of the intelligence profession. The ILSS Intelligence reading list was developed with input from career intelligence officers and by reviewing the reading lists developed by the National Intelligence University, USMC, CIA, U.S. Army Intelligence Center, and Small Wars Journal.

This list contains three sub-sections:
  1. Intelligence Analysis and Collection
  2. U.S. Intelligence Community
  3. History of Intelligence


The content provided on the reading lists is for educational and informational purposes. The sources of the content are cited, and the content used represents a small portion of the whole.

The use of the content, in such context and circumstance, falls under “Fair Use” pursuant of Section 107 of the Copyright Act. If you are the copyright owner and wish to have your content removed, please contact Corey Parson at

Intelligence Analysis and Collection

Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study (2012)

Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study (2012)

Author: Johnston, Rob

ISBN-13: 978-1478351108; 182 pgs.

"As the United States debates whether intelligence failed in the run-up to both September 11 and the second Iraq war, Rob Johnston’s book is perfectly timed to provide the back-story to those headlines. His findings constitute not just a strong indictment of the way American intelligence performs analysis, but also, a guide for how to do better. Johnston finds no baseline standard analytic method."

Johnston, Rob. Analytic Culture in the US Intelligence Community: An Ethnographic Study. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners' Perspectives

Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners' Perspectives, 2014

George, Roger Z. & Bruce, James B.

ISBN-13: 978-1626160255, 400 pgs.

"Analyzing Intelligence provides a self-critical assessment of analyst roles in the collection, evaluation, and interpretation of information on the wide spectrum of issues germane to national security. The book serves as a handbook for government analysts at all stages of their careers, and an eye-opening explanation of the process for outside observers."

George, Roger Z. and James B. Bruce. Analyzing Intelligence: National Security Practitioners' Perspectives. Georgetown University Press, 2014.

Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems

Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems (2011)

Author: Hackman, J. Richard

"Intelligence professionals are commonly viewed as solo operators.  But these days intelligence work is mostly about collaboration. Interdisciplinary and even inter-organizational teams are necessary to solve the really hard problems intelligence professionals face. Hackman identifies six enabling conditions – such as establishing clear norms of conduct and providing well-timed team coaching – that increase the likelihood that teams will be effective in any setting or type of organization."

Hackman, J. Richard. Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011.

Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis (2011)

Author: Moore, David T.

ISBN-13: 978-1257781805; 158 pgs.

"This National Defense Intelligence College publication defines critical thinking in the context of intelligence analysis, explains how it influences the entire intelligence process, explores how it toughens the art of intelligence analysis, suggests how it may be taught, and deduces how analysts can be persuaded to adopt this habit. This book is for anyone interested or directly involved in each of the phases of the planning, collection, processing, classification, analysis, and dissemination of collected intelligence information at whatever level." 

Moore, David T. Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis., 2011.

Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence (2016)

Authors: Hibbs-Pherson, Katherine & Pherson, Randolph H.

ISBN-13: 978-1506316888; 408 pgs.

"This book provides the "how to" formatted according to the phases of the intelligence cycle other books present conceptually. This book does an excellent job of teaching college students how to look at an issue; they figure out what is needed, find and evaluate information sources, and then put it all together in a coherent product which has facts, assumptions, implications, and conclusions."

Hibbs-Pherson, Katherine and Randolph H. Pherson. Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence. CQ Press, 2016.

Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing for National Security (2014)

Author: Major, James S.

ISBN-13: 978-1442226623, 430 pgs.

"Communication is the essence of intelligence. For without being communicated effectively, intelligence merely underwrites ignorance. Provides intelligence practitioners with a comprehensive and detailed handbook for effective professional communications. Provides practical guidelines along with practical exercises for each element of the communications process, from the reading of intelligence source material, to the writing of intelligence reports, to the delivery of intelligence briefings, emphasizing throughout the trustworthy dissemination of intelligence information." 

Major, James S. Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing for National Security. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.

Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach (2016)

Author: Clark, Robert M.

ISBN-13: 978-1506316819; 448 pgs.

"The book includes material on the intelligence cycle, collection, managing analysis and dealing with intelligence customers. Combining a practical approach to modelling with his insider perspective, Clark creates an ideal resource for students and practitioners alike."

 Clark, Robert M. Intelligence Analysis: A Target-Centric Approach. CQ Press, 2016.

Intelligence Collection (2014)

Author: Clark, Robert M.

ISBN-13: 978-1452271859, 544 pgs.

"Well organized, logical approach, which systematically covers each aspect of intelligence collection. This book lays out the sources of intelligence in a very logical sequence, and in a very easily understandable format. Clark’s extensive use of anecdotal examples, based on actual situations provides significant interest as you read through the text."

Clark, Robert M. Intelligence Collection. CQ Press, 2013.

Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (2017)

Author: Heuer, Richards J.

ISBN-13: 978-1626543249, 210 pgs.

"This book offers a fascinating look at the never-ending quest for better intelligence analysis. At the fundamental core of this work are the cognitive challenges that any analyst faces, and how critical thinking can significantly improve our understanding and outcomes for complex issues." 

Heuer, Richards J. Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. Echo Point Books & Media, 2017.

Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis (2014)

Authors: Heuer, Richards J. Jr. & Pherson, Randolph H.

ISBN-13: 978-1452241517; 384 pgs.

"Showcases current and cutting-edge best practices but has broadened its focus beyond intelligence to show how SATs can be used across different disciplines and professions, from business and law enforcement to homeland security."

Heuer, Richards J. Jr and Randolph H. Pherson. Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis. CQ Press, 2014.

The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection (2015)

Authors: Lowenthal, Mark M. & Clark, Robert M.

ISBN-13: 978-1-4522-1763-5, 216 pgs.

"Lowenthal and Clark describe, in non-technical terms, the definition, history, process, management, and future trends of each intelligence collection source (INT). Chapter authors are past or current senior practitioners of the INT they discuss, providing expert assessment of ways particular types of collection fit within the larger context of the U.S. Intelligence Community."

Lowenthal, Mark M. and Robert M. Clark. The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection. CQ Press, 2015.

U.S. Intelligence Community

Homeland Security Intelligence (2014)

Author: Steiner, James E.  

ISBN: 978-1-4522-5866-9, 312 pgs.

"An introduction to the material regarding the intricate details of homeland security, with regard to the factors that pertain to intelligence issues. Given the current climate of cyber security and internet security, the author has provided some very robust issues that are addressed in his text regarding the factors of intelligence. The use of examples related to post 9/11 factors also provides a strong feature of the text."

Steiner, James E. Homeland Security Intelligence. CQ Press, 2014.

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. 7th ed. (2016)

Author: Lowenthal, Mark M.

ISBN-13:  978-1506342566, 624 pgs.

"The go-to resource for understanding how the intelligence community’s history, structure, procedures, and functions affect policy decisions. Lowenthal examines cyber space and the issues it presents to the intelligence community such as defining cyber as a new collection discipline; the implications of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s staff report on enhanced interrogation techniques; the rise of the Islamic State; and the issues surrounding the nuclear agreement with Iran." 

Lowenthal, Mark M. Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy. CQ Press, 2016.

The US Intelligence Community (2015)

Author: Richelson, Jeffrey T.

ISBN-13: 978-0813349183, 648 pgs.

"This 7th edition book offers a broad but well researched view into the myriad of agencies and organizations making up America’s intelligence community. With its focus on explaining the activities and organizational structures of the intelligence community, it is considered by many to be “US Intelligence 101”. The book is an excellent primer for any individuals interested in applying for a position with America’s spy agencies."

Richelson, Jeffery T. The U.S. Intelligence Community. Routledge, 2015.

U.S. Government Counterterrorism: A Guide to Who Does What (2011)

Authors: Kraft, Michael & Marks, Ed

ISBN-13: 978-1439851432, 407 pgs.

"The first readily available, unclassified guide to the many U.S. government agencies, bureau offices, and programs involved in all aspects of countering terrorism domestically and overseas. The authors, veterans of the U.S. government’s counterterrorism efforts, present a rare insider’s view of the counterterrorism effort, addressing such topics as government training initiatives, weapons of mass destruction, interagency coordination, research and development, and the congressional role in policy and budget issues."

Kraft, Michael and Edward Marks. U.S. Government Counterterrorism: A Guide to Who Does What. CRC Press, 2011.

Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community (2017)

Author: Coates, Daniel R.

28 pgs.

"The United States Intelligence Community’s 2017 assessment of threats to U.S. national security."

Coates, Daniel R. Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. U.S. Intelligence Community, 2017.

History of Intelligence

Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency (2002)

Author: Bamford, James

ISBN-13: 978-0385499088, 784 pgs.

"In 1982, investigative journalist James Bamford published a bestselling account of the work of the secretive National Security Agency. In 2002, Bamford revisited America’s eavesdropping masters in Body of Secrets, revealing previously unknown parts of the NSA’s history. Despite being published 15 years ago, Bamford’s book remains one of the most riveting, well-researched, and objective views of one of America’s least understood intelligence agencies."

Bamford, James. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency. Anchor Books, 2002.

From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (2007)

Author: Gates, Robert

ISBN-13: 978-1416543367, 608 pgs.

"Gates, director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1993, insider's account of the Cold War, CIA operations and the unraveling of the Soviet Union is sprinkled with revelations including the fact that 1983 was the most dangerous year in U.S.-U.S.S.R. relations and that both the CIA and KGB sponsored countless "black operations" designed to embarrass and discredit the other side."

Gates, Robert. From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004)

Author: Coll, Steve

ISBN-13: 978-0143034667; 736 pgs.

"Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction, Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars tells the formerly secret story of the CIA’s involvement in Afghanistan prior to 9/11." 

Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Books, 2004.

Intelligence for an Age of Terror (2011)

Treverton, Gregory F.

ISBN-13: 978-1107615663, 326 pgs.

This book emphasizes how much the analysis of terrorism has changed now that the perpetrators are no longer simply state-backed actors. Terrorist acts also no longer tell a "story" but occur with virtually no signals beforehand. Terrorists consistently adapt to our vulnerabilities and make us less secure than ever before.

Treverton, Gregory F. Intelligence for an Age of Terror. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Intelligence in War: The value--and limitations--of what the military can learn about the enemy (2004)

Author: Keegan, John

ISBN-13: 978-0375700460, 432 pgs.

Intelligence gathering is an immensely complicated and vulnerable endeavor. And it often fails. Until the invention of the telegraph and radio, information often traveled no faster than a horse could ride, yet intelligence helped defeat Napoleon. In the twentieth century, photo analysts didn’t recognize Germany’s V-2 rockets for what they were; on the other hand, intelligence helped lead to victory over the Japanese at Midway. John Keegan illustrates that only when paired with force has military intelligence been an effective tool.

Keegan, John. Intelligence in War: The value--and limitations--of what the military can learn about the enemy. Vintage, 2004.

Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden History of America's Space Espionage (2004)

Author: Taubman, Philip

ISBN-13: 978-0684857008; 472 pgs.

In a brief period of explosive, top-secret innovation during the 1950s, a small group of scientists, engineers, businessmen, and government officials rewrote the book on airplane design and led the nation into outer space. They also made possible the space-based mapping, communications, and targeting systems used in the Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Taubman, Philip. Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden History of America's Space Espionage. Simon & Schuster, 2004.

The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in CIA's Clandestine Service (2012)

Author: Crumpton, Henry A.

ISBN-13: 978-0143123378, 352 pgs.

The Art of Intelligence reflects the character of its author: Honest, smart, direct and impressive. Crumpton offers important new insights into the C.I.A.’s role in the Taliban’s overthrow in 2001, as well as a wider portrait of modern intelligence that is frank and compelling.

Crumpton, Henry A. The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in CIA's Clandestine Service. Penguin Books, 2013.

The Craft of Intelligence: America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World (2006)

Author: Dulles, Allen W.

ISBN-13: 978-1493018796; 304 pgs.

In probably the most well respected and cited book in the intelligence community, former high-ranking CIA officer Allen W. Dulles’ offers readers both in-depth history and practical information about intelligence work since the end of the Cold War. Dulles’ informed but entertaining writing style makes this book a great read, especially for those interesting in entering the intelligence community.

Dulles, Allen. The Craft of Intelligence: America’s Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World. Lyons Press, 2016.

The Secret State: A History of Intelligence and Espionage (2017)

Author: Wilson, John H.

ISBN-13: 978-1681776378, 528 pgs.

Examines the potential pitfalls of the traditional intelligence cycle; the dangerous uncertainties of spies and human intelligence; how the Cold War became an electronic intelligence war; the technical revolution that began with the use of reconnaissance photography in World War I and during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the legacy of Stalin's deliberate ignoring of vital intelligence; how signals intelligence gave America one of its greatest victories; how Wikileaks really happened; and whether 9/11 could have been avoided.

Wilson, John H. The Secret State: A History of Intelligence and Espionage. Pegasus Books, 2017.

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