Why Won’t They Listen? Comparing Receptivity Toward Intelligence at Pearl Harbor and Midway
Dahl, Erik J.
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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, disaster might have been avoided. But even though it is generally agreed that intelligence is of little use unless it is received and understood by policymakers, we actually know little about why some leaders are receptive toward intelligence, while others are not. This article argues that the willingness of decision- makers to listen to intelligence depends primarily on two factors: their belief in the seriousness of the issue or threat involved, and their trust in the utility of intelligence. It examines contrasting receptivity toward intelligence in the cases of Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway, and suggests that our current models of intelligence–policy relations need to be revised.
The article of record may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02684527.2012.749061
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