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Strategic Warning Intelligence: History, Challenges, and Prospects, John A. Gentry and Joseph S. Gordon

Reviewed by Uri Bar-Joseph



In 2018, as John A. Gentry and Joseph S. Gordon were finishing their book, they estimated that U.S. strategic warning and counterdeception efforts were at one of their lowest points (p. 88). When we hear this sober assessment against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s constant demand for intelligence to please, Dan Coats’s resignation as director of national intelligence (and the futile attempt to replace him with a typical Trump loyalist), and the escalating challenges to American global interests, we are forced to conclude that the next strategic warning failure is only a matter of time. In this sense, Gentry and Gordon’s book publication is certainly timely.

The book does not offer a new theory. It is mainly a practical guide that outlines the chief problems involved in alerting policymakers to future developments that may demand their response while also offering suggestions as to how these problems might be met and overcome. This format suggests that, like Cynthia Grabo’s Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning (2004), Strategic Warning Intelligence is targeted primarily at practicing members of the intelligence community. But, given that the record of U.S. strategic intelligence warnings is the main topic of the book, it is unclear why Willard Matthias’s American Strategic Blunders (2001) about intelligenc

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