Strategic Warning:

Surprise, Intelligence Failures, and Indications and Warning Intelligence

E - J

Finley, James. "Nobody Likes To Be Surprised: Intelligence Failures." Military Intelligence 20, no. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1994): 15-21.

Fisk, Charles E. "The Sino-Soviet Border Dispute: A Comparison of the Conventional and Bayesian Methods for Intelligence Warning." Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 53-62. In Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, ed. H. Bradford Westerfield, 264-273. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

"Although it cannot be said categorically that the Bayesian method excels as a forecasting device, the Sino-Soviet experiment [detailed in the article] indicates that it might provide a means for such an accounting." See companion article: Zlotnick, "Bayes' Theorum for Intelligence Analysis."

Gentry, John A. "Intelligence Failure Reframed." Political Science Quarterly 123, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 247-270. The author "discusses the nature of U.S. intelligence 'failures.' He argues that excessive expectations for the performance of intelligence agencies mean that many charges of intelligence failure are misplaced and many reform proposals are misdirected. He concludes that policymakers and policy-implementing agencies often cause intelligence-related failures."

Gentry, John A. "Warning Analysis: Focusing on Perceptions of Vulnerability." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 64-88.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. "The Unknown: The C.I.A. and the Pentagon Take Another Look at Al Qaeda and Iraq." The New Yorker, 2 Feb. 2003. []

This is a lengthy article that seeks to get at some of the problems associated with predictive analysis, with the focus on the events of 9/11 and analytic issues surrounding the question of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq.

Goldman, Jan. "Warning and the Policy Process: Problem Definition and Chaos Theory." Defense Intelligence Journal 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 65-80.

The author suggests that new theoretical models are needed to better understand the dynamics of the public policy process.

Gooch, John, and Amos Perlmutter, eds. Military Deception and Strategic Surprise. London: Cass, 1982.

Clark comment: The articles included in this anthology originally appeared in the Journal of Strategic Studies. Pforzheimer points to three case studies here: German covert rearmament, 1919-1939; Soviet deception on nuclear missile development, 1955-1981; and the Egyptian/Israeli confrontation leading to the 1973 war.

Grabo, Cynthia M.

1. Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2003. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2005.

From "Anticipating Surprise, originally written as a manual for training intelligence analysts during the Cold War, has been declassified and condensed to provide wider audiences with an inside look at intelligence gathering and analysis for strategic warning. Cynthia Grabo defines the essential steps in the warning process, examines distinctive ingredients of the analytic method of intelligence gathering, and discusses the guidelines for assessing the meaning of gathered information.... Grabo suggests ways of improving warning assessments that better convey warnings to policymakers and military commanders who are responsible for taking appropriate action to avert disaster."

The assessment by Jonkers, AFIO WIN 5-03, 4 Feb. 2003, that this work is "a classic imperishable text" is reinforced by the 2005 republication of Grabo's work -- and its nomination for a Francis Parkman Prize.

Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), notes that while the central theme of this book "is strategic warning, the concepts apply to intelligence analysis generally; put another way, it is a textbook for a 101 course in analysis.... Anticipating Surprise is valuable for young analysts wondering where to start and what to do next." For Younes, Air & Space Power Journal 22.3 (Fall 2008), "the guidelines found in this outstanding work apply to fields other than national security. Political scientists, economists, businessmen, trend watchers, and competitive intelligence analysts all can benefit from reading Anticipating Surprise."

2. Handbook of Warning Intelligence: Assessing the Threat to National Security. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), notes that this is an expanded edition of the abridged Anticipating Surprise (see above), although still not the full three-volume classified version. It deals with "the kinds of things intelligence analysts should look for, but not how to go about doing the job." By now, the book "is out of date and needs source citations and practical examples."

Grabo, Cynthia M.

1. "Strategic Warning: The Problem of Timing." Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 79-92.

"[W]arning judgments are not necessarily more accurate or positive in the short term and ... assessing the timing of attack is often the most elusive, difficult and uncertain problem which we have to face."

2. Warning Intelligence. Intelligence Profession Series. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1987.

3. "The Watch Committee and the National Indications Center: The Evolution of U.S. Strategic Warning." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 3, no. 3 (Fall 1989): 363-385.

Groth, Alexander J., and John D. Froeliger. "Unheeded Warnings: Some Intelligence Lessons of the 1930s and 1940s." Comparative Strategy 10, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1991): 331-346.

Handel, Michael I.

1. "Crisis and Surprise in Three Arab Israeli Wars." In Strategic Military Surprise: Incentives and Opportunities, eds. Klaus Knorr and Patrick Morgan, 111-122. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1984.

Includes information on the Israeli deception plan prior to the Sinai Campaign in 1956.

2. "Intelligence and the Problem of Strategic Surprise." Journal of Strategic Studies 7, no. 3 (Sep. 1984): 229-281.

Twining, I&NS 4.1/185/fn. 19, says that this article provides "an excellent discussion of the problem of strategic surprise and possible methods for reducing its likelihood and effectiveness."

3. "Surprise and Change in International Politics." International Security (Spring 1980): 57-85.

4. "Technological Surprise in War." Intelligence and National Security 2, no. 1 (Jan. 1987): 1-53.

Hedley, John Hollister. "Learning from Intelligence Failures." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 18, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 435-450.

"Allegations of intelligence failure are inevitable.... This is true in large part because, in intelligence, failures are inevitable..... Intelligence organizations do learn (as well as suffer) from the allegations and the failures.... Even though it is impossible to learn once and for all how to prevent the reoccurrence of something inevitable, the ratio of success to failure probably can be improved." [Clark comment: Thus speaks a voice of reason.]

Honig, Or Arthur. "A New Direction for Theory-Building in Intelligence Studies." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 699-716.

The author posits that intelligence failures seem to be "a cluster of different types of phenomena that have been mistakenly lumped together." Additional research is needed in order to "place surprise attacks along a continuum between avoidable blunders and unavoidable tragedies."

Hughes-Wilson, John [Col.]. Military Intelligence Blunders. London: Robinson, 1999. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2000. Rev. ed. Military Intelligence Blunders and Cover-Ups. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004. [pb]

Joes, I&NS 16.1, notes that the author, who retired from the British Army's Intelligence Corps in 1993, has produced "a satisfying and worthwhile recapitulation of most [of] the great intelligence stories of the past 60 years." However, the work does "contain some judgment[s] that one must label idiosyncratic." For West, RUSI Journal, Aug. 2004, the author has produced "a splendid selection of episodes which the participants might have preferred to have forgotten."

Hybel, Alex Roberto. The Logic of Surprise in International Conflict. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986.

Cubbage, I&NS 3.1, questions the author's scholarship, pointing to "the absence [from the book's bibliography] of a number of important reference works" with bearing on the study and the "total reliance on secondary sources." In his presentation of his four case studies -- Pearl Harbor, Barbarossa, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Yom Kippur -- Hybel "adds nothing of substance" to the existing histories of these events.

Jensen, Mark A. "Intelligence Failures: What Are They Really and What Do We Do About Them?" Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 2 (Apr. 2012): 261-282.

The author discusses "three major components of failure: accuracy, surprise, and IC interaction with decision-makers."

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