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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter begins with a review of the key concepts of strategic surprise and intelligence failure. It addresses the emergence of the super-destructive new terrorism and the challenges it poses to governments. The chapter concludes with an explanation of the four most common sources of intelligence failure. It uses the broadest possible definition of intelligence failure, incorporating leadership failures, organizational obstacles, problems of warning information, and analytical challenges. Scholars have identified two key aspects of the warning information that affect intelligence failures: the quantity of information and the quality of information. Most of the intelligence failure literature points us to the conclusion that such failures are unavoidable, but that does not sit well with those who believe that the appropriate application of science and intellect will allow government to thwart terrorism on every front. The implications for intelligence direction, collection, analysis, and budgeting are significant.

Keywords: analytical challenge; intelligence failure; new terrorism; strategic surprise



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