Strategic Warning:

Surprise, Intelligence Failures, and Indications and Warning Intelligence

C - D

Carney, Donald J., and Thomas C. Indelicarto. "Indications and Warning and the New World Environment: The Drug War Example." Defense Intelligence Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 89-105.

Drug trafficking is not a traditional threat nor one that "fits into the traditional forms of warning -- strategic or tactical." The authors posit other such "ambiguous warning environments" in the future.

Chan, Steve. "The Intelligence of Stupidity: Understanding Failures in Strategic Warning." American Political Science Review 71, no.1 (Mar. 1979): 171-180.

Clark, Keith. "On Warning." Studies in Intelligence 9, no. 1 (Winter 1965): 15-31.

The author suggests that the "criteria of likelihood and importance for determining whether, how, and to whom to give eraly warning" should be "supplemented by a third, that of imminence, which is most relevant to the choice of when to warn." (Emphasis in original)

Cogan, Charles G. "Intelligence and Crisis Management: The Importance of the Pre-Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1994): 633-650.

"It is noteworthy that the intelligence mechanism generally functions better after a crisis erupts. It is in the area of anticipating crises that the intelligence community is often found wanting." (Italics in original) The author illustrates his point with the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Yom Kippur War (1973), and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Cogan points to the institution of the Deputies Committee in the Bush administration as an approach to solving the policy approach to crises, but notes that there is no "institution for anticipating crises over the long term at the political level in Washington." (Emphasis added)

Cohen, Eliot A., and John Gooch. Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Wirtz, I&NS 6.3, says that the authors "move beyond the traditional analyses of military disaster by demonstrating how the performance of military organizations influences the outcome of battle.... [They] offer extraordinarily keen insights into some well-known events," including Pearl Harbor, the Chinese intervention in the Korean war, and the Yom Kippur war.

Colby, William E. "Deception and Surprise: Problems of Analysts and Analysis." In Intelligence Policy and National Security, eds. Robert F. Pfaltzgraff, Jr., Uri Ra'anan. and Warren Milberg, 91-97. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1981.

Critchley, Julian. Warning and Response: A Study of Surprise Attack in the 20th Century and an Analysis of Its Lessons for the Future. London: Cooper, 1978.

Clark comment: Given its focus on the increased danger of Soviet surprise attack, this book is extremely dated today. Its presentation was incomplete even when it was written. Constantinides comments that Critchley's "analysis ... emphasizes self-deception and human failure to deal properly with intelligence warnings because of preconceptions.... This fixed gaze on self-deception ... misses investigation" of the potentiality of active deception measures to mislead.

Cryptologic Spectrum [author's name redacted]. "National Intelligence Warning: The Alert Memorandum." 11, no. 1 (Winter 1981): 13-15.

The purpose of the Alert Memorandum (AM) "is to provide explicit warning of possible developments abroad which are of major concern to the United States. It is an interagency publication issued by the DCI on behalf of the Community. The AM focuses on specific information extracted from all intelligence sources, and delineates potential implications for consideration by national policymakers."

Dahl, Erik J. Intelligence and Surprise Attack: Failure and Success from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 and Beyond. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013,

Brooks, Proceedings 139.12 (Dec. 2013), finds that much of this work examines "cases of terrorist-related warning failures as well as 227 cases where terrorist attcks were successfully twarted.... [N]o other scholarly work has attempted this sort of comparison of why warning worked in some cases and did not in others." This is "a well-written and thought-provoking book that provides well-researched analysis of what makes warning intelligence work."

Dahl, Erik J. "Warning of Terror: Explaining the Failure of Intelligence Against Terrorism." Journal of Strategic Studies 28, no. 1 (Feb. 2005): 31-55.

From abstract: This article seeks "to integrate the earlier literature on intelligence failure with the newer threat of terrorist attack..., by examining the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut in 1983." The author "concludes that most studies of the Beirut bombing are mistaken in their assessment of the role played by intelligence in that disaster, and suggests that our understanding of intelligence failure against surprise attacks needs to be revised in the age of terrorism."

Daly, Judith A., and Stephen J. Andriole. "The Use of Events/Interaction Research by the Intelligence Community." Policy Sciences 12, no. 2 (Aug. 1980): 215-228.

A heavily "political sciency" article that argues for applying academic quantitative research to early warning operational activities.

Davies, John L., and Ted Robert Gurr, eds. Preventive Measures: Building Risk Assessment and Crisis Early Warning Systems. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998.

Lohof, DIJ 10.2, says that this work provides "an impressive exploration of the current state of affairs in the field of risk assessment and early warning systems.... A host of prominent academic researchers, policy analysts and advisors, and U.S. Intelligence Community, USAID, UN, NGO, and private sector officials and experts author the volume's collection of chapters.... [I]t is altogether a fascinating, enlightening read for students of early warning."

Davis, Euan G. "A Watchman for All Seasons." Studies in Intelligence 13, no. 2 (Spring 1969): 37-43.

Indications or warning intelligence "may be said to be distinguished from other forms of current intelligence in that its primary interest in enemy behavior is in terms of its threat potential.... [T]he warning analyst's analysis should tend to sound more ominous than that of the current analyst. By definition, as the advocate of the worst possible situation, the indications analyst is expected to espouse that attitude in considering each new set of circumstances."

Davis, Jack. "Improving CIA Analytic Performance: Strategic Warning." Occasional Papers 1, no. 1. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, The Sherman Kent Center for Intelligence Analysis, Sep. 2002. []

"The present paper addresses the challenges of strategic warning.  It reviews five post-mortem critiques: (1) Douglas J. MacEachin, 'Tradecraft of Analysis,' U.S. Intelligence at the Crossroads: Agendas for Reform (1995); (2) Adm. David Jeremiah (R), Intelligence Community’s Performance on the Indian Nuclear Tests (1998); (3) CIA, Office of Inspector General, Alternative Analysis in the Directorate of Intelligence (1999); (4) Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States (1998); (5) Working Group on Intelligence Reform of the National Strategy Information Center, The Future of US Intelligence (1996)."

Davis, Jack. "Strategic Warning:  If Surprise is Inevitable, What Role for Analysis?." Occasional Papers 2, no. 1. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, The Sherman Kent Center for Intelligence Analysis, Jan. 2003. []

"Strategic warning addresses perceived dangers in broad[] terms, in order to inform policymaker decisions on general security preparedness.... [T]he challenge of strategic warning is to help policy officials decide -- in advance of specific indicators of danger -- which of the many plausible general threats to US security interests deserve concerted defensive and preemptive preparations."

Defense Intelligence Journal. "Strategic Warning." 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998): Entire issue.

Click for the individual articles in this issue.

DeMattei, Lou Anne. "Developing a Strategic Warning Capability for Information Defense." Defense Intelligence Journal 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 81-121.

"By coupling existing threat warning capabilities with ones tailored to the cyber threat in order to address key attack precursors, and by implementing information defense improvements, effective strategic warning is possible."

De Weerd, Harvey A. "Strategic Surprise in the Korean War." Orbis 6 (Fall 1962): 435-452.

Douglass, Joseph D., Jr., and David S. Sullivan. "Intelligence, Warning, and Surprise." Armed Forces Journal International 122 (Dec. 1984): 133-136. [Petersen]


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