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Intelligence Success and Failure: The Human Factor

Intelligence Success and Failure: The Human Factor

by Uri Bar-Joseph, Rose McDermott
Intelligence Success and Failure: The Human Factor

Intelligence Success and Failure: The Human Factor

by Uri Bar-Joseph, Rose McDermott

Paperback(New Edition)

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The study of strategic surprise has long concentrated on important failures that resulted in catastrophes such as Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks, and the majority of previously published research in the field determines that such large-scale military failures often stem from defective information-processing systems.
Intelligence Success and Failure challenges this common assertion that catastrophic surprise attacks are the unmistakable products of warning failure alone. Further, Uri Bar-Joseph and Rose McDermott approach this topic uniquely by highlighting the successful cases of strategic surprise, as well as the failures, from a psychological perspective. This book delineates the critical role of individual psychopathologies in precipitating failure by investigating important historical cases.

Bar-Joseph and McDermott use six particular military attacks as examples for their analysis, including: "Barbarossa," the June 1941 German invasion of the USSR (failure); the fall-winter 1941 battle for Moscow (success); the Arab attack on Israel on Yom Kippur 1973 (failure); and the second Egyptian offensive in the war six days later (success). From these specific cases and others, they analyze the psychological mechanisms through which leaders assess their own fatal mistakes and use the intelligence available to them. Their research examines the factors that contribute to failure and success in responding to strategic surprise and identify the learning process that central decision makers use to facilitate subsequent successes.

Intelligence Success and Failure presents a new theory in the study of strategic surprise that claims the key explanation for warning failure is not unintentional action, but rather, motivated biases in key intelligence and central leaders that null any sense of doubt prior to surprise attacks.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199341740
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Uri Bar-Joseph is a Professor at the School of Political Science, Haifa University, Israel. He concentrates on strategic and intelligence studies, especially focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israeli security policy. In addition to numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters, he wrote six books, the most recent of which is The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel (2016).

Rose McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University. She has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences twice. She is the author of four books, a co-editor of two additional volumes, and author of over a hundred academic articles across a wide variety of disciplines encompassing topics such as experimentation, emotion and decision making, and the biological and genetic bases of political behavior.

Table of Contents


Part One: The Theoretical Framework
Chapter I. Surprise Attack: A Framework for Discussion
Chapter II. Examining the Learning Process
Part Two: The Empirical Evidence
The First Dyad: Barbarossa and the Battle for Moscow
Case Study I: The Failure
Case Study II: Success: The Battle for Moscow
The Second Dyad: The USA in the Korean War
Case study I: Failing to Forecast the War
Case Study II: Failure II: The Chinese Intervention of Fall 1950
The Third Dyad: Intelligence Failure and Success in the War of Yom Kippur
Case Study I: The Failure
Case Study II: The Success
Chapter VI. Conclusions

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