Strategy after Deterrence

By Stephen J. Cimbala | Go to book overview

5
MILITARY DECEPTION AND DETERRENCE: THE ART OF NOISE

Deception is one kind of stratagem. It is the nature of stratagems that they do not accomplish decisive aims in themselves. They accompany a wellconsidered operational plan for fighting war or for deterring it. Deception also involves a way of thinking about strategy and military operations. Deceiving a target state, its leaders, or its intelligence collectors and evaluators requires some knowledge of its decision-making process and national strategic style: How does it make decisions, and who makes which ones? This intelligence is not only the product of rigorous collection, but also of preconceptions that one side's political leaders and military planners have about another's. These preconceptions or belief systems determine the perspective from which intelligence on potential opponents is viewed.

This chapter considers the problem of military deception as a component of strategy and military operations. I first discuss the problem of threat assessment. This is first established as a species of uncertainty. I then consider the problem of threat assessment from two vantage points, although they overlap: the general estimation of capabilities and intentions of some states by others, and the problem of policyrnakers' expectations as related to vulnerability to deception and surprise. The relationship between deception and operational art is then considered. The "peculiar" problems of long wars, unexpected attacks, and other outcomes for which planners are infrequently prepared are treated separately. Finally, the use of electronic warfare in combination with deception is discussed, for the Soviet approach is unique.

This chapter draws from my article, "Mainstrearning Military Deception", Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 3, no. 4 ( 1989), 509-535.

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