Accession Number : ADA329100

Title :   Surprise and Intelligence Towards a Clearer Understanding,

Corporate Author : AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s) : O'Leary, Jeffrey

PDF Url : ADA329100

Report Date : 1997

Pagination or Media Count : 33

Abstract : The thesis of this article is that strategic surprise is difficult to prevent, even in the face of accurate and timely intelligence (including overhead imagery), because it is based on exploiting a leader's or nation's personality and characteristics as well as the bureaucracies that serve them. Historical evidence seems to indicate that strategic surprise in the twentieth century has rarely been prevented despite a plethora of available intelligence. If the presence of reliable and timely intelligence does not prevent surprise, then a reevaluation of our current thinking is in order. Strategic surprise, in this case, may not only be possible, it may be inevitable. This is a sword that also cuts both ways. while we may not be able to prevent strategic surprise, we can expect to use this principle of war to our military advantage. This article examines the elements of strategic surprise-its foundation, nature, and potential. It proposes a notional definition for strategic surprise that offers a more relevant application to the military art. Additionally, it identifies and examines the validity of assumptions that form the basis for military doctrine on strategic surprise. It uses historical case studies to test the assumptions of current doctrine that link the availability of intelligence to strategic surprise. Finally, it draws conclusions and makes recommendations for those at the operational level and those involved in restructuring a shrinking military force.

Descriptors :   *MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, *COMBAT SURVEILLANCE, *INTELLIGENCE(HUMANS), *TACTICAL INTELLIGENCE, MILITARY STRATEGY, DECISION MAKING, MILITARY DOCTRINE.

Subject Categories : Military Intelligence
      Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE