Notes on Some Aspects of Intelligence Estimates

18 SEPT 95



by Harold D. Kehm

MEMBERS of the intelligence community will obviously find useful reading in the articles by Abbot Smith and Col. Kirtland.* These studies deserve the attention of other groups as well. They are of particular value to military commanders and planners and to their civilian counterparts in both government and private life. The executive and the planner are the prime consumers of the intelligence product. Furthermore, since they and not the intelligence officer are ultimately responsible for action taken, they are and should be the sharpest critics of that product.

* See below, p. 39, for review of Col. Kirtland's article

These consumers, therefore, need to understand the various kinds of approaches which the intelligence officer can make to his problem. In consultation with him, they should develop an agreed approach - embodying doctrines either as discussed in our military and other staff manuals or possibly as modified by ideas developed in these papers.

Business executives and planners were mentioned above along with military and government officials because study of modern business organization and practice makes it quite clear that the more effective enterprises engage in intelligence activities in one form or another.

To bring out the parallel with national and military intelligence, we may note that business intelligence comprises evaluated information concerning such' matters as: the actual and potential users of the goods and services the business produces; the actions and plans of competitors; related goods and services; and other factors which bear on the production, marketing, and use of the product. Among the "intelligence activities" in which most business organizations engage we can include market analysis, research and development, and the collection of general business information.

Market analysis is essentially an intelligence activity, for it covers not only what the product may or might do but also what other firms and products may do or are doing. Credit information on firms and individuals is perhaps the most direct form of intelligence used by business.

Research and development is an intelligence activity in the sense that it yields information on which to gauge the value of one's own product as well as that of actual and potential competitors. Research and development have become so important that investment analysts now consider the size and quality of this effort an important factor in determining the value of a security.

Finally, no business of any stature can plan without giving at least a quick glance at political, economic, and sociological data. It is inconceivable that either Ford or the UAW in 1954 planned for 1955 without considering international affairs, the domestic political situation, and the sociological "climate" which might make it propitious to raise the issue of the guaranteed annual wage. The tremendous growth in the number of trade and commercial publications is an indication of the interest in business intelligence information.

This is not the proper place to pursue this matter further and discuss whether or not business would improve its lot by openly recognizing its intelligence requirement and organizing more specifically for it. It is useful to note, however, that World War I taught business leaders the value of the line and staff principle of organization and that World War II has already given them clear object lessons in operations analysis and on research and development. "Business intelligence," full-fledged, may well be the next important step.

It has seemed worthwhile to mention this point because we want to go along with Mr. Smith who believes that military intelligence doctrine has application in national policy processes. In fact, we want to go further and assert that the basic concepts - not necessarily all the detailed precepts and procedures - have application to any form of human activity: political, economic, scientific, or sociological.

There is some reason to suspect that both Mr. Smith and Colonel Kirtland have misinterpreted or misunderstood some of these basic concepts. We propose to deal with these misunderstandings as they come up in our discussion of the two papers. At this point, it is useful to cover one matter which both seem to have failed to keep clearly in mind. It is the fact that both the intelligence officer and the commander (or policy-maker) are in the estimating business.


The Intelligence Function and the Command Function

The intelligence officer is the "expert" on the enemy. Accordingly, he is charged with giving the commander, the staff, and subordinate commands the best information and estimates on the enemy situation. The end product of his estimate is enemy capabilities and - let us not forget - where available information provides a basis for such judgment, the relative probability of adoption of them.*

* FM30-5 and Principles of Strategic Intelligence, AC of S, 0-2 (Feb. 50).

This is a full-time job, particularly when one considers that the intelligence officer must also continuously provide his command - and, in addition, assist in providing subordinate, adjacent, and senior commands - with the information and intelligence they require for their day-to-day operations as distinguished from that needed for estimates. It is for this reason, rather than any slavish devotion to doctrine that, as Mr. Smith points out,** some persons hold that the intelligence officer should not deal in the capabilities and lines of action of his own side. Mr. Smith is correct in saying that some persons oppose this from wrong motives, but that is not a fault peculiar to the military. It should also be pointed out that many planners have a supercilious view of intelligence and intelligence officers. They fancy themselves equally competent in intelligence matters. Indeed, most of them are, but the reverse is also true. Most intelligence officers are fully competent planners. Since each has a full-time job, however, each needs to tend to his own knitting to get the job done well. There needs to be, and in good commands there is, continuous close liaison at all levels in the intelligence and plans sections. Historically it is true that many commanders have leaned as much or more on their intelligence officers in planning matters as they have on their planners. In even more cases, after the whole staff was thoroughly informed about the enemy, the role of the intelligence officer appeared to be less prominent. It is noteworthy that this usually occurs on the side that is winning or has a preponderance of force. When things are tight, the intelligence officer is in great demand and, we might note, his neck is way out.

** As Smith puts it: "We are told that it is the function of the commander, not of the intelligence officer, to decide what counteraction to adopt against enemy capabilities and to judge what the success of such counteraction may be."

We noted above that the commander also makes an estimate. His estimate takes the enemy capabilities - presumably as developed by the intelligence officer - and, in the light of each capability, studies each line of action open to the command to determine the one that best accomplishes the mission. He determines the lines of action open to him by having full information about his own forces -their position, condition, morale, supplies, supporting forces available and so on. Just as the intelligence officer contributes the information about the enemy, so many other staff officers contribute this other information which the commander must have to make a sound decision.

Let us then keep clearly in mind that, in military usage, the intelligence estimate sets forth the enemy capabilities. The commander, for his part, uses that estimate in conjunction with other information (there may be a logistics estimate, an air estimate, etc.) and makes a final "policy" estimate to determine the line of action which will best accomplish his mission.


The Military Theory of Capabilities

Many of the difficulties which Mr. Smith points out in the application of military usage in the field of national policy stem from the fact that in the national field we do not have the same common understanding of staff and command functions that obtains in the military. This is true both because the "staff" in national policy affairs, though to a degree comparable, is not a close parallel to a military staff, and because many of our policy-makers are not experienced in or familiar with staff functioning.

Against this general background, we can now examine. Mr. Smith's advocacy of the concept of "gross" and "net" capabilities and his contention that war-gaming should be used to improve the usefulness of our intelligence.

In reference to the first matter Mr. Smith points out the need to recognize that enemy capabilities are one thing when we study them in the light of one of our own actions and quite different when we consider them in the light of another.

To indicate these differences he uses the expressions "gross capabilities" and "net capabilities." Use of these terms brings to mind the idea of a fixed measurable quantity like the gross income of General Motors and, similarly, that a "net capability" is like GM's net income. It is quite clear that such a concept is not accurate.

Pursued to the logical end, gross capabilities would be capabilities, as it were, in a vacuum. Such capabilities have no practical meaning, both because they are limitless (without opposition the Soviets can do almost anything) and because there are no true vacuums in world affairs.

In a sense capabilities are always "net." But they are fixed only in reference to one given set of conditions. As these conditions change, the capabilities change. They are a moving picture, not a still photograph. The Soviet "net capability" to induce a peripheral war in Thailand is one thing if Thailand has the political and other support of Burma and the SEATO states and quite a different thing if it does not have such support. Indeed, the timing and extent of such support changes the "net capability." In military usage capabilities are always what Mr. Smith calls "net." The intelligence officer determines the enemy's capabilities as of a given time and in the light of given circumstances.* This idea is readily applicable in national strategic intelligence.

* See quotations from Dictionary of US Military Terms for Joint Usage, cited by Mr. Smith; also the description used at the Strategic Intelligence School.

What Mr. Smith calls gross capabilities could perhaps better be thought of as "basic" capabilities. For example, intelligence officers can readily estimate that by 1959 the Soviets could have a stockpile of X hydrogen bombs, Y rounds of atomic artillery ammunition, Z intercontinental bombers, W army divisions, and V major naval craft, and could still meet the industrial requirements of their civilian economy, provided they give no more than the current level of military aid to Red China and the Satellites. On the other hand, if they curtailed production of equipment for the Red Army and Navy they could contribute more to the armament of China and the Satellites. These are capabilities. They are basic capabilities to produce or take general action not normally subject to interference. Further analysis and research can develop what, under various assumptions, the Soviets can do with these resources and thus can determine their capabilities to act. Perhaps it is this distinction that Mr. Smith has in mind when he speaks of "gross" and "net." Even if this is the case we would still be loath to accept the concept because, in the general sense of the term, even such "gross" capabilities are "net." Rather than adopting misleading terms like "gross" and "net" we seem to be better off if we stick just to "capabilities" and understand it to apply, as in basic military doctrine, to a stated set of circumstances.

The second point in Mr. Smith's thesis that we wish to examine is the matter of war-gaming. He laments the fact that accepted practice frowns on having intelligence officers war-game the plans of their own side. We do not concede that this "frowning" is as prohibitively effective as Mr. Smith contends. To the extent that it does exist, it is directed against the idea of having the intelligence officer play both sides. This is logical. The intelligence officer cannot be "expert" on his own resources and plans as well as on those of the enemy. As pointed out earlier, the latter is a full-time job. To the extent that he thumps for joint war-gaming by intelligence and plans personnel as a device to assist in improving the usefulness of intelligence estimates, however, Mr. Smith is emphatically right.

War-gaming for this particular purpose is not used as widely in the military as it might be. But the concept of war-gaming for other purposes with all staff elements participating is well established. It could easily be used in the more complex field of national estimates.

War-gaming has been modified radically in recent years with the employment of advanced mathematics and electronic computers. These techniques leave much to be desired in the military field and many of them could, at the current stage of development, be used to only a very limited extent in reference to the "imponderables" of national policy affairs. The more conventional type of war-gaming, on the other hand, could certainly be used across the board and with every possibility of making our intelligence estimates more useful.

Mr. Smith's observation that national policy-makers have a more complex problem than military leaders is valid, and it has an important bearing on the activities of the intelligence services which support them. The national policy-maker must consider a great variety of "capabilities" which interact on each other. For example, a sociological change in Germany may have an important repercussion in the political capabilities of France. Furthermore, it is always difficult to determine the "facts" in many areas of interest. The military leader usually knows how many and what kinds of guided missile squadrons, atomic bombs, fleets, and army troops he and his opponent have. The political leader is always far less certain about his "forces" and those of his allies. There is even more uncertainty about the resources the enemy can bring to bear. To illustrate, we can be sure that Khrushchev's advisers have many a headache estimating how effective the Satellites and Communist China really are and what assets the West will actually apply in various situations. In such a field, therefore, there can be no one "net" capability. There are as many "net" capabilities as there are variant situations. Mr. Smith appears to think that intelligence officers should compute these "net" capabilities by their own efforts. It would seem more logical that they should be worked out in conjunction - and we do not mean concurrence - with the planners. Intelligence officers and planners must sit down together and thrash out all the angles. This is precisely what happens in an efficient military staff in time of war. The formal estimates of capabilities appear only when a radical change in one's own or the enemy situation takes place. For example, after "The Bulge," 21st Army Group conducted an extended and more or less "conventional" campaign to gain the Rhine. It was obvious that crossing that formidable obstacle would call for different types of action and support. An estimate of the situation was essential.* This, in turn, meant that intelligence forecasts and estimates had to be produced. At such times a new "stock-taking" is in order. At other times, day-to-day close coordination by the working intelligence officers and planners, with a check on interpretations of major importance by the senior intelligence and plans officers, is the best modus operandi. It keeps all concerned aware of enemy capabilities applicable to the prevailing conditions.

* Both US and British strategic planners had long before been working on such plans. We are here considering the more nearly tactical planning.

In the national field, a similar condition could obtain. Unhappily the lines of demarcation in staff organization are not as simple and clear as in the military. Instead of overall planners like those in the Joint Staff or in an international staff such as the Combined Staff Planners of World War II, we have political planners in State, military in Defense, economic in agencies like OES, propaganda in USIA, etc. Each of these has some form of intelligence support of its own. These intelligence agencies are tied together by CIA for national purposes and planning is brought together in the NSC. However, there is still a vast amount of "sprawling." Parenthetically, it should be noted that this statement is a description of a condition; it is not to be construed as an unfavorable criticism.   This is not the occasion for such criticism; and it is by no means certain that highly centralized planning and intelligence would be best, or even better, for the country. Here, we want simply to note that close integration of intelligence into planning is difficult because of the decentralized planning and operating mechanism in the US government. A great deal of informal coordination on the working level does take place. This is all to the good and should be encouraged. This complexity of organization and operations in the national field results in a greater need for formalized estimates and is, in itself, a justification for the use of the war-gaming principle. However, with all due respect for the skill, wisdom, and judgment of our intelligence community, we should not leave war-gaming as a basis for decisions to them alone. The danger here is at least as great as it is to have the planners do it alone. We have suffered on both the military and the national plane from an unwillingness (or inability) to accept and understand available intelligence. We need not repeat such gross errors.

With little or no information of our own plans and resources, the intelligence officer can still tell the planner what resources the enemy can have at a future date and the general kinds of action he can initiate with them. If the commander and planner want to know what results the enemy can achieve with these resources and actions, the intelligence officer must have knowledge of his own resources and plans.

Applying this notion to the current situation, we can expect national intelligence officers to tell us what resources the Soviets will have for peripheral wars by 1959 without much guidance as to our own resources and national plans and policies. But they can tell us where and with what likelihood of success the Soviets can use those assets only if they know the opposition which the Soviet action is likely to meet. Joint war-gaming would provide such interchange of information. It should make for a healthy interplay between intelligence and planning and probably result in improving both.


Estimating Enemy Intentions

In Colonel Kirtland's paper we have a more restricted and therefore more specific subject for consideration. He objects to what he describes as "unrealistic resistance" to the use of intentions-analysis as opposed to capabilities-analysis in intelligence estimates. He holds that we need to consider both. By inference, he is most directly concerned with combat intelligence. He makes clear, however, that his conclusions apply to strategic intelligence as well.

After analyzing what Colonel Kirtland has to say, we can agree with his main thesis that both intentions and capabilities need to be considered. However, he has not hedged his proposal with essential safeguards and his arguments against the "capabilities doctrine" contain very serious weaknesses. We will review these arguments and then develop our own conclusions.

In order to evaluate Colonel Kirtland's contentions, it is important that we have a common understanding of the meaning of "the capabilities doctrine." The burden of -this concept is that in a combat intelligence estimate, the intelligence officer should present to the commander his best estimate of the enemy's capabilities rather than the enemy's intentions. The doctrine goes further: it holds that the commander in his estimate should consider each of the lines of action open to him in the light of each of the enemy capabilities in arriving at his final decision on a course of action. It is important to keep in mind that the doctrine has these two aspects: first, the intelligence officer is to determine capabilities; and second, the commander should make his decision only after considering all the capabilities.

An elaboration of this doctrine which is too often forgotten is that the G-2 is expected to give the commander his conclusion as to the relative probability of the exercise of any of the enemy capabilities, where there is evidence to support such a conclusion.*

* FM 30-5.

Earlier doctrine had held that the task of the intelligence officer was to estimate the mission of the enemy and, from that, deduce the lines of action the enemy might take and then to determine their effect on the courses open to his own side. This doctrine invited a refined form of guessing as to the enemy mission and encouraged consideration of intentions in the deduction of enemy lines of action.

The new capabilities doctrine was developed after World War I because it was felt that earlier doctrine introduced too much clairvoyance into military problem-solving (which is what decision-making really is), and that it came too near urging officers to guess the worst the enemy could do and to stake everything on that. It was believed that the "capabilities" system was more "scientific" and more nearly in accord with the facts of life. This conviction was illustrated at the Command and General Staff School, just before World War II, when one of the instructors "clinched" the argument in favor of basing estimates on capabilities by showing that in World War I von Muck had changed his mind four times in one day and actually issued three different orders.

A concomitant of the acceptance of the capabilities doctrine has been the growth of an attitude that anyone who advocates basing estimates on enemy intentions just hasn't been brought up properly. To advocate the use of intentions-analysis has come to be considered the equal of advocating mind-reading or the use of a ouija board. Advocates of intentions-analysis like Colonel Kirtland object more to this anti-intentions prejudice than to the capabilities doctrine per se.

In marshaling support for the thesis that our doctrine needs review and, in particular, needs to give more consideration to intentions, the critics tend to make some amazing misinterpretations and to neglect some crucial facts. We agree that our doctrine needs recasting but we must, in fairness, keep the record accurate and logical.

Colonel Kirtland's objection to current doctrine is based on three main points: first, "a nation or a commander must have a preponderance of force if he bases his decisions on capabilities alone"; second, "the resulting decision is always conservative"; and third, the enemy's potential capabilities are not adequately considered.* We will examine each of these points in some detail.

* The third point is paraphrased because the actual statement is not very precise. However, subsequent explanation makes clear that it means what has been said here.

The statement that the capabilities doctrine is useable only when you have a preponderance of force is clearly erroneous. It is a very practicable doctrine when you are on the defensive and even when you are the hunted in a pursuit. To hold otherwise is like saying you cannot use the principles of arithmetic when you are in debt. The capabilities doctrine - and, for that matter, any other doctrine - gives you a discouraging picture in such cases, but that is the picture you must face. In an adverse situation, the doctrine is designed to indicate which line of action would have the least adverse result. In other words, it indicates the course of action which would get your nose least bloody.

The second criticism, that application of the doctrine generally results in conservative action, is to a large extent true; but it is true because, in matters of life and death, leaders generally tend to be conservative. Usually they should be. The criticism is justified only to the extent that the going doctrine makes it easier for leaders to be conservative. This is particularly true when officers take the view which an allegedly bright and "successful" officer (he later got a star) expressed when he said: "I teach my officers to select the line of action which gives them the best chance against what they figure is the enemy's most dangerous capability."

It is this use of the capabilities doctrine that brings on the criticism of conservatism. Actually it is a reversion to the older doctrine. It is, in fact, a form of intentions-analysis because the user assumes that the enemy will exercise a given capability. Such use does not condemn the doctrine itself, any more than the fact that some men get drunk justifies the condemnation of all whiskey. Current doctrine holds that the commander shall select the course of action which, in the face of all the estimated enemy capabilities, insures the most effective accomplishment of the mission. This is not the same thing as saying that he should select the one that gives the greatest certainty of accomplishing the mission. Clearly, the most certain course might be the most bloody while a slightly more risky line of action would be less costly and might accomplish the mission in a shorter time or have some other advantage. The selection of a line of action requires a balancing of costs and gains under the various possibilities. It also calls for what is known as "military character." No matter whether we use capabilities or intentions, the decisions will reflect that character.

The third argument is that use of the doctrine prevents consideration of potential capabilities, meaning those that develop between the time the estimate is made and the action takes place. This, of course, is woven of the very flimsiest cloth. The doctrine is based on the use of capabilities which the enemy will have at the time of the action for which one is planning-not the capabilities at the time the decision is made. It is the capabilities forecast for the action-time. If one accepts the argument, he must also accept the conclusion that if intentions were used in the analysis, one could not use forecasts of intentions. On this score, then, one would be as badly off under one system as under the other.

One other serious error in Colonel Kirtland's paper that we must bring out is the failure to show that Army doctrine has for years made clear that in strategic intelligence - as distinguished from combat intelligence - both intentions and capabilities are considered. Official doctrine and teaching at the Strategic Intelligence School and at Army schools have emphasized this point at least since World War II.


The Role of Intentions in Intelligence Estimates

So far we have been concerned with showing that the arguments presented against the capabilities doctrine are not very good or conclusive. This is not the same as saying that we are trying to build a case against intentions-analysis. Actually, we do not intend to do so.  We will weasel but, we believe, with good reason.  We agree that use should be made of both capabilities and intentions in developing estimates, but we hold that one must be equally objective and "scientific" in determining either of them.

Having noted that the common arguments against the capabilities concept are not too decisive let us note a few of the weaknesses of that system and indicate some of the strengths of the intentions approach.

The faults of the capability system are two-fold. First it tends, as Colonel Kirtland points out, to cause intelligence officers to include remote possibilities as capabilities. They forget that the doctrine calls for the consideration of only those capabilities which bear on the accomplishment of one's own mission. Second, and despite strong language to the contrary in Army training, the doctrine seems to justify lazy intelligence officers to feel that they have done their bit when they have made one forecast of capabilities. This is most unfortunate. Intelligence officers must keep capabilities under continuing study to narrow them down. For example, in September of 1943 the predicted capabilities of the Germans vis-a-vis the Normandy landings were of a given order. As time went on, the Allies developed certain techniques and equipment and new forces became available. On the Axis side, Italy was knocked out of the war, and the Germans committed some of their forces in new areas. Consequently, the enemy capabilities changed continuously so that by June 1944 they were far more limited than could possibly have been predicted in September 1943. SHAEF intelligence kept a continuous spotlight on these capabilities during this period. So it should be in all operations. The good intelligence officer keeps on the ball as long as there is time to influence his own side's line of action. In many cases the situation develops so that at a point the enemy has only one capability. This happened at Falaise and in the Ruhr. Eventually, the Germans could no longer disengage their forces. They had to stay and fight. This idea was also illustrated in General Eisenhower's statement to the effect that after a given time he could no longer influence the course of the Juggernaut that became the Normandy assault. For a considerable period he had only one capability. Just how long the German G-2 was useful by keeping tabs on that has not been made clear. Our teaching does not emphasize this concept as clearly and firmly as it should.

As we have already noted, World War I provided a startlingly effective case to bolster the capabilities doctrine. Similarly, the Civil War and World War II give us particularly fine cases for defense of intentions-analysis. In the Civil War, opposing commanders often knew each other personally. They used this knowledge in their planning. They knew the training, abilities, and personalities of their opponents and, hence, could determine the line of action the enemy was most likely to take. In a sense, of course, this too is an assessment of capabilities but there is no point in splitting any unnecessary hairs. In ordinary language, such an evaluation results in a prediction of intentions. There is a grey zone where capabilities slide into intentions, but for our purposes, we will lean to the conservative side and call the borderline cases intentions.

The World War II support for intentions-analysis is in some ways even stronger. It stems from the fact that the Japanese tendency to fight to the death was so effectively ingrained that, to a very marked degree, capabilities to take other lines of action were not meaningful. To a lesser extent this same situation applied in the European war where Hitlerism molded capabilities.

One can make a very good case for the contention that enemy intentions should properly be considered under the capabilities doctrine because they are a factor in the combat efficiency of the enemy. To accept such an interpretation without clearly labeling it, however, would simply be a way of getting around the intent of the doctrine and have the disadvantage of not calling intentions by their true name.

Experience in all walks of life shows clearly that a failure to make a thorough study of one's opponent to determine his motivations and his mental and psychological reactions as a basis for estimating his future action is worse than unwise. The press is full of stories that the USSR is very active in this field and has attained great successes, perhaps as a concomitant of progress in brain-washing and psychological matters generally. In our zeal to make sure that training will make commanders and intelligence officers "objective" and "scientific," we may have gone so far that we have tended to overlook the obvious. Certainly, the mental makeup and attitude of the enemy is as much a "fact" as is his training, his morale, his organization, or his weapons. Surely then it is logical to consider intentions. Equally surely, it is important to do so objectively and to know what you are doing. If you are an intelligence officer, it is most important that you alert your chief to the fact that you are considering intentions.

In the discussion so far we have used examples and applications in the purely military field. The conclusions are valid in national intelligence as well. In fact, intentions of a nation or a government can be determined with more accuracy than those of an individual commander. These intentions are shaped by many clearly observable facts such as past actions, sociological conditions, cultural characteristics, internal political pressures, economic circumstances, and a host of others. The British exploited their understanding of German intentions in both World Wars and it was not uncommon to hear their intelligence officers use such expressions as: "the Hun is sure to - - - -," and "the German probably appreciates." They personified the enemy government and high command. On the other hand, the Germans seem consistently to have missed the boat. They clearly either did not or could not evaluate US and Russian national intentions properly in either of the World Wars. The evaluation of national intentions involves a more comprehensive field of thought than does the evaluation of the intentions of an enemy commander. However, the task is no more difficult. Even if it is, it must be done because the rewards for success and the costs of failure are too great to permit neglecting the job.

Where does all this get us? It seems to indicate that, as Colonel Kirtland says, a proper doctrine would be to include both capabilities and intentions in all estimates as we now do in the strategic estimate. However, we should expand the principle to include insurance that staff and command training will impress on all concerned that they need to apply the most rigid tests to all evidence bearing on intentions and that conclusions based upon them clearly show that this is the case.

Since all concepts and doctrines wind up in a "form" of some sort, we might as well present a proposal on that score, too. In the military field the solution is easy. All we need to do in the commander's estimate * is to insert a paragraph on "enemy intentions." The intentions paragraph need be only a brief statement, either to the effect that there are no reliable indications of enemy intentions or that certain stated evidence indicates an intention to exercise one or more of these capabilities.

* FM 101-5

In the intelligence estimate, we need merely insert that "combat efficiency" includes knowledge of enemy personal characteristics which shape or have a major influence on his actions. In addition, we should add a paragraph on enemy intentions similar to the one suggested for the commander's estimate. This one should also present the critical evidence upon which the estimate of intentions is founded.

Such a detailed analysis of combat intelligence doctrine is warranted at this juncture because, as Mr. Smith points out, so much of the concept and procedure of combat intelligence has found its way into the national strategic intelligence process. The additions to military command and intelligence estimates which we have proposed here could be paralleled in our training for national strategic intelligence.

Our current doctrine probably goes too far in playing down intentions-analysis. Going all out the other way would certainly be worse. It would encourage clairvoyance and, in addition, might discourage the continuous effort to seek for new indications of capabilities. The stress on measurable physical facts is justified. While we are making important strides in understanding and measuring motivation and mental processes, we are not yet far enough along in that field to measure intentions as precisely as we can capabilities and, as Colonel Kirtland notes, the danger of deception is a very real one. Even so, since decision-making is so inevitably bound up with consideration of the personal element, it is the better part of discretion, and of valor as well, to consider intentions. They are so often the sparkplugs of human action.



Historical Document
Posted: May 08, 2007 06:55 AM
Last Updated: Aug 03, 2011 01:04 PM