Reassessing the Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor
Dahl, Erik J.
MetadataShow full item record
The intelligence failure at Pearl Harbor is perhaps the most widely studied intelligence failure in American history. The lessons of that failure included the belief that warnings are invariably available before such a disaster, but missed, and that a major part of the solution is to improve the ability of analysis to find the key signals amid the background noise. These lessons have become conventional wisdom, and have been often reaffirmed since then, including after the 9/11 attacks and the Christmas Day 2009 airline bombing attempt. But this paper argues that the conventional wisdom about what went wrong with intelligence prior to Pearl Harbor is incorrect, and that this misconception has contributed to continuing intelligence failures today. This paper proposes a new model that better explains the failure of Pearl Harbor, and which can help improve intelligence performance today.
Prepared for delivery at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, September 2011
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Borer, Douglas A.; Twing, Stephen; Burkett, Randy P. (2013-06-13);Accusations of failure by elements of the US intelligence community (IC) have followed in the wake of nearly every war and terrorist bombing since Japan’s successful strike on Pearl Harbor in 1941. This article will ...
Issvoran, Heather (Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School, 2013-11);Center for Homeland Defense and Security faculty member Erik Dahl has a startling assessment of intelligence practice in the United States for the past half century. "We have misunderstood why intelligence fails for the ...
Dahl, Erik J. (2011-03);After surprise attacks and other intelligence failures, the complaint is often heard that if only decision makers had listened more closely to the warnings they had received -- if only they had treated intelligence more ...