Pearl Harbor as an Intelligence Failure Several Term Paper

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Pearl Harbor as an Intelligence Failure

Several writers and intellectuals express that the shock the Japanese got in their attack on Pearl Harbor was a result from a failure of the United States intelligence community that were unsuccessful to give sufficient, correct information to government as well as to the military decision-makers. As presumed by these historians the intelligence community contained very important information that was misconstrue or in other words was not properly and correctly circulated earlier to the attack.

Furthermore, few of the revisionist historians pledge to conspiracy theories and had the judgment that main members of the United States government deliberately suspended this crucial information from the military command in order to bring the United States into World War II against the Alliance powers. Thus, both groups referred to accessible studies and since 1978 classified information formerly released has now been as the evidence for their statement (Ameriger, 1990).

Moreover, an assessment of the proof existing from official, public, along with the private sources, specified these viewpoints as being incorrect. However, they point toward a lack of consideration of the collection ability and information existing to the United States intelligence community before the event of Pearl Harbor (Gordon, 1968).

However, it is probable to negate these accusations, by means of investigating the history of the United States intelligence community earlier to the attack; then through its intelligence collection capabilities along with the victory or failure of the collection endeavor; its information and facts of Japanese military arrangements for offensive activity; and finally the use of that information by national as well as military decision-makers (Ameriger, 1990).

The understanding of Pearl Harbor event is undoubtedly too precious to be lost to misunderstanding or revisionism as it informs the basis the actual knowledge of government and military leaders with the significance of national awareness and the appropriate use of intelligence. Thus, without an apparent understanding, upcoming leaders may be destined to repeat the mistakes of the past as an error (Gordon, 1968).

Analysis of The Event As an Example of Intelligence Failure

The incident of Pearl Harbor is as an example of intelligence failure since the United States nationwide and armed decision-makers had enormously large amounts of intelligence available formerly to Pearl Harbor. None reported exactly referred an attack against Pearl Harbor, while Comint, Humint and diplomatic reporting flooded Washington and Hawaii. The sufficient information only came by the end of November 1941 that mentioned the conflict between Japan and the United States to be occurred within a matter of days or few hours.

However, the failure to recognize this fact and adequately warn Hawaii was not one of intelligence since the intelligence community did its job in collection, and for the most part, in appropriately assessing the existing data. Magic along with the other sources gave an unparalleled view into Japanese diplomatic and military activity. However, the fault lay mainly with properly utilizing the resulting intelligence by national and military decision-makers.

Yet, to be precise, the extent of the Pearl Harbor disaster as an intelligence failure was due to mainly of two reasons:

The failure of the Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department sufficiently to warn his command for war, and The failure of the War Department, with the information along wit the type of warning taken by the Commanding General, Hawaiian Department, to instruct him to take an ample warning, and the failure to keep him effectively informed as the developments of the United States-Japanese dialogues, which in turn might have caused him to change from the inadequate alert signal to an adequate one (Gordon, 1968).

Moreover, the processes of security, information assessment and diffusion, and intelligence management along with production were sternly flawed where the security affair restricted key information to some decision-makers, who for the most part, were not skilled as intelligence analysts. Thus, this corrupted the information assessment process as well as turned the intelligence community mainly into a collection agency. There was none within the government who had blame for conducting all source study, preparing a synchronized product, and make certain appropriate diffusion of information to the appropriate associations.

Thus, these above-mentioned factors clear the intelligence community from performing its primary function, which was to give appropriate and correct intelligence to support national and military decision-making (Ameriger, 1990).

Further on, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese on the 7th December 1941 validated many features as to why intelligence failures were predictable. Since the attack in the decades, a large deal of investigation and analysis has been attempted in order to shed light on the causes of failure.

Some critics suggested that most intelligence failures are usually a product of the last two stages of the intelligence process, meaning; studying and receipt by the consumer. However, this is not the case as recognized in the case of Pearl Harbor, which was a different failure in the group of intelligence in addition to the understanding and use of data. Some of the other reasons for the failure of American intelligence at Pearl Harbor was predictable for the following reasons, and is analytic of all intelligence failures.

The reason behind Japan's attack on the United States navy at Pearl Harbor was to hit an important and strong blow to the confidence of the government as well as people of the United States. Making such an attack, however, needed entire planned shock, achieved for a number of reasons.

Most significantly all information of plans for the strike were kept on a severe need to know basis. As noted by David Kahn:

Knowledge of it was limited in Tokyo to as tight a circle as possible. Plans for it were distributed by hand to the ships of the task force. No reference to a raid on Pearl Harbor ever went on the air, even coded (Kahn, 1991/92)."

Thus, such strict communications security made any cryptanalysis ineffective in predicting the strike of December 7th, and further shows that confidential information can be uphold along with their honor put to maximum effect in astound attack. Thus, this "unknowable" factor is most probable in outcome surprise and the related intelligence failure on the part of the surprised.

While as for the part of the United States it is likely to recognize a considerable lack of intelligence gathering. As Kahn stated that 'There was, in Wohlstetter's terms. No signal to be detected' (Kahn, 1991/92). Thus, when Wohlsetter discuss of "signals" in this sense she signify "indicators," and is make reference to the lack of intelligence generally, human as well as electronic. In this context, had the United States had any major intelligence possessions focused on Japan and her naval activities the probability of planned surprise and intelligence failure would have been to a great extent reduced (Wohlstetter, 1991).

Here the failure was not to organize thorough intelligence collection in the Pacific Ocean and islands, which likely reflects a human decision in terms of the distribution of possessions. Furthermore, it specifies a lack of awareness and consideration to the threat that the Japanese navy posed.

Now moving to the possibility to know how the failure at Pearl Harbor is recognized partly to an error of analysis. During the war fright of February and July 1941 the traffic analysis has been acknowledged as a pattern that concerned elements of the Japanese navy hunt objectives outside of home waters, at the same time as Japanese aircraft carriers stayed in home waters to protect the major islands (Wohlstetter, 1962).

Here the error in these explanations was the formation of a pattern in the minds of the United States political analyst and the application of this pattern in following analyses, specially that of the commencement of December 1941. However, in this case, there was no substantive proof for the creation of a pattern, since both…[continue]

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