Strategic Surprise, Intelligence and Terrorism: Developing a Tolerance for Disaster

December 18, 2013

For special access to experts and other members of the national security community, check out the new War on the Rocks membership.
This is the first of a two-part podcast set on the concept, and uses, of Strategic Intelligence.  In this episode, Tom and I lay out the actual, social function of Strategic Intelligence and look at it place in the long history of divination.  Strategic surprise, or intelligence failures, often are neither: a surprise or a `failure“, at least on the part of Intelligence Agencies.  What they often are is a breakdown in communications between the players involved; a breakdown that is often facilitated by a gross misunderstanding of what Strategic Intelligence can and cannot do.
In the second segment, we sit down for a long discussion with Steven Strang, Director of Research and Innovation at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Steven is one of the top people in Canada when it comes to understanding how certain groups, mainly terrorists, communicate to their audiences and how this communication can, and should be interpreted by Intelligence agencies.  Steven has also trained many of the analysts working in the various Canadian agencies, and has presented world wide.
For the full show notes for this podcast, check out
Image: Jef Poskanzer Flickr
We have retired our comments section, but if you want to talk to other members of the natsec community about War on the Rocks articles, the War Hall is the place for you. Check out our membership at!