The Limits of Intelligence in Maritime Counterproliferation Operations
U.S. Naval War College Review, pp. 35-52, Winter 2007
25 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2006 Last revised: 24 Dec 2011
Date Written: March 1, 2007
This article begins with an examination of the intelligence needs of those engaged in maritime counterproliferation efforts. It then turns to risk management decision making under conditions of uncertainty, focusing on decisions at the operational level, and explores the question whether decision strategies in the WMD context should seek to minimize false negative or false positive errors. It concludes that even vastly improved maritime intelligence will not obviate the need for national and operational commanders to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty and that such decisions should be made on the basis of established risk assessment and management principles. At the same time, risk management analysis must be sensitive to the public's attitude toward risk. When possession of WMD is at stake, sound risk management principles that give appropriate weight to the public's risk preferences might well call for action even where the relevant event probabilities are quite low.
Keywords: intelligence, WMD, proliferation, risk assessment, risk management, decisional error, national security
JEL Classification: H56, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation