International Security (Prior Research)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

"Visions of the Enemy from the Field and from Abroad: Revisiting CIA and Military Expectations of the Tet Offensive." 2011. Journal of Strategic Studies. 31(4): 119-144.

Abstract: As the January 1968 Tet holiday approached, CIA analysts and American commanders in South Vietnam developed more accurate conclusions about communist military strategy than did intelligence analysts at CIA headquarters. Besides valuing different types of intelligence, General William Westmoreland, Lieutenant General Frederick Weyand,and CIA analysts in Saigon also placed greater emphasis on new information about communist military strategy than did CIA analysts at Langley. These different reactions to information highlight reasons why military commanders and intelligence analysts stationed in the theater of operations might develop more accurate conclusions about enemy military strategy than intelligence analysts stationed at their national headquarters.

"(Mis)interpreting Threats: A Case Study of the Korean War." 2007. Security Studies. 16(2): 254-286.

Abstract: During the fall of 1950, many American national security officials concluded that the Chinese Communists would refrain from undertaking full-scale intervention in the Korean War. Contrary to most secondary accounts, however, officials who doubled that Communist China would intervene nonetheless drew increasingly worrisome signs from incoming verbal threats and intelligence singals. A small minority of officials in the State Department expressed considerable concern over the dangers of having United Nations forces cross into North Korea and approach the Yalu River. This growing concern and the minority of opposing voices, however, did not override the prevailing judgment -- held by hawkish members of the State Department and the CIA as a whole -- that China would more likely increase covert involvement in the Korean War, but would not undertake full-scale military intervention. Theories of biased assimilation and risk-taking practices have divergent success in predicting American reactions to the threat. Only further archival research can shed light on how this case of American strategic surprise comports with these theories.