Strategic Warning:

Surprise, Intelligence Failures, and Indications and Warning Intelligence

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Kam, Ephraim. Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Johnson, I&NS 5.3, notes that the author's argument that "nations will continue to suffer military surprise-attacks even with good intelligence-collection capabilities" is firmly in line with Richard K. Betts' perspective. Nevertheless, Kam does propose "a number of thoughtful ideas about the analytic process and organizational procedures that at least might help to reduce ... the possibility of intelligence failure."

For Wirtz, I&NS 4.4, this work is "a masterful integration of current thinking about what causes nations to fall victim to intelligence failure." However, in making his generalizations about intelligence failures, "he treats instances of surprise attack occurring at the outset of war and during war itself as the same phenomenon."

Katz, Jonathan I. "Deception and Denial in Iraq: The Intelligent Adversary Corollary." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 19, no. 4 (Winter 2006-2007): 577-585.

This is an insightful and easy to read take on warning intelligence. "[M]aking useful predictions about the acts of an adversary on the basis of public information is not possible.... [E]ven secret information (such as that obtained by most technical means of surveillance) isn't very useful if an adversary considers the possibility that it might be obtained, for it will take that possibility into account in its planning and operations.... Only secret information that the adversary does not imagine the other side might have ... can make it possible to anticipate, predict, or give advance warning of surprise attacks."

Keller, B.A. Avoiding Surprise: The Role of Intelligence Collection and Analysis in the Operational Level of War. Ft. Leavenworth, KS: Army Command and General Staff College, 1992.

Surveillant 3.2/3 says that Keller provides a paradigm to examine the causes of operational surprise.

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B., Jr. Captains Without Eyes: Intelligence Failures in World War II. New York: Macmillan, 1969. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1969.

Clark comment: This book presents cases studies of Barbarossa, Pearl Harbor, Dieppe, Arnhem, and the Battle of the Bulge. According to Pforzheimer, much of this "is now more comprehensively presented by later declassified information." Similarly, Constantinides refers readers to more recent accounts of each of the failures Kirkpatrick discusses.

Knorr, Klaus, and Patrick Morgan, eds. Strategic Military Surprise: Incentives and Opportunities. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1983, 1984.

According to Pforzheimer, this book covers strategic surprise from the Austro-Prussian war of 1866 to the Tet offensive in Vietnam. Lowenthal notes that the analytical framework for the cases "includes a discussion of the attacker's estimates as part of its decision process and of the attacked party's ability to discern the impending threat."

Kovacs, Amos.

1. "The Nonuse of Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 10, no. 4 (Winter 1997-1998): 383-417.

Kovacs suggests that while there are numerous reasons why intelligence may not be "used" in the decisionmaking process, the most important change that could be made would be to "close the gap between the two communities [intelligence and decisionmakers], and to effect a change in the basic mentality of intelligence agencies -- away from the theoretical and toward a more service-oriented approach."

2. "Using Intelligence." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 4 (Oct. 1997): 145-164.

The author offers as a tentative conclusion that "[a]ll forms of intelligence are most successful at the level at which they are collected. In particular this means that much centrally-collected intelligence is difficult to utilize at the tactical level."

Landers, Daniel F. "The Defense Warning System." Defense Intelligence Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 21-32.

Chief, Defense Policy Warning Branch, DIA. "The NIO/W produces a weekly product.... Warning analysts [in the Threat Management Branch] ... often receive items produced elsewhere on an initiative basis. This has proven to be a satisfactory arrangement."

Levite, Ariel. Intelligence and Strategic Surprise. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

Clark comment: Levite, a former Israeli defense analyst, looks at the intelligence-strategic surprise nexus through the cases of Pearl Harbor and Midway. Kovacs, IJI&C 10.4, says that Levite has a "good bibliography on strategic surprise."

In a lengthy analysis, Uri Bar-Joseph, "Review Article: Methodological Magic," Intelligence and National Security 3, no. 4 (Oct. 1988), 134-155, argues that "this study suffers from fundamental methodological mistakes that undermine its theoretical value. Obviously, the most problematical issue here is the comparison made between two types of strategic surprise: one that starts a war (Pearl Harbor) and the other which takes place while war is in progress (Midway).... [In addition,] [t]he way Levite treats threat indicators before Pearl Harbor leads one to suspect that his judgement might have been biased, at least partially, toward minimizing the quality and accuracy of these indicators."

Lockwood, Jonathan S. "Sources of Error in Indications and Warning." Defense Intelligence Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 75-88.

The author covers such matters as: the enemy (deception; "the one over which we have the least control"); the analyst ("the frailties, flaws and foibles of human cognition.... 'mirror-imaging'... 'conventional wisdom'... Occam's Razor"); the policymaker ("intelligence analyst must convince the wielder of power"); and the system ("bureaucratic inertia").

Lowenthal, Mark M. "The Burdensome Concept of Failure." In Intelligence: Policy and Process, eds. Alfred C. Maurer, Marion D. Turnstall, and James M. Keagle, 43-56. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1985.

Luikart, Kenneth A. [LTCOL/GAANG] "Transforming Homeland Security: Intelligence Indications and Warning." Strategic Insights 1, no. 10 (Dec. 2002). [] Air & Space Power Journal 17, no. 2 (Summer 2003). []

The problem of accurately predicting hostile actions against our nation."will plague the newly formed Department of Homeland Security." What is needed is to develop a new Indications & Warning (I&W) "analytical cell that supports the president and the [DHS] with all-source intelligence analysis."

Marrin, Stephen. "Preventing Intelligence Failures by Learning from the Past." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 4 (Winter 2004-2005): 655-672.

"The best safeguard against catastrophic surprise will be continued vigilance against the potential for intelligence failure. This entails recognition of the tradeoffs and pathologies that cause failure, the self-conscious administration of rigor to identify and hopefully correct deficiencies in analysis, and the continued efforts to better integrate accurate intelligence into policymaking."

McCarthy, Mary O.

1. "The Mission to Warn: Disaster Looms." Defense Intelligence Journal 7, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 17-31.

A National Security Council staffer and former NIO for Warning, Dr. McCarthy agrees with the Jeremiah and Rumsfeld studies that there is a "dangerous scarcity of specific skills, particularly technical and linguistic," among U.S. analysts. She believes that major changes are needed.

2. "The National Warning System: Striving for an Illusive Goal." Defense Intelligence Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 5-19.

The author is National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Warning. Her article deals with current structure and problems. "The National Warning System usually concentrates on threats judged to be about six months away or less."

McCreary, John F. "Warning Cycles." Studies in Intelligence 27, no. 3 (Fall 1983): 71-79.

Westerfield: "Prescribing steps for a warning process and for judging whether it has been a success or failure."

Nicholas, Jack D. "The Element of Surprise in Modern Warfare." Air University Quarterly 8 (Summer 1956): 3-20.

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