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SURPRISE, SECRECY, AND DECEPTION Topic #12. Preface: Dilbert on Tactical Warning.

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Presentation on theme: "SURPRISE, SECRECY, AND DECEPTION Topic #12. Preface: Dilbert on Tactical Warning."— Presentation transcript:

1 SURPRISE, SECRECY, AND DECEPTION Topic #12

2 Preface: Dilbert on Tactical Warning

3 Surprise Attack Nations are often surprised and/or successfully deceived in international relations. – German Strike in the West, May 1940 – German Strike in East, June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) – Pearl Harbor, December 1941 – Korea War North Korean invasion of South, June 1950 Inchon Landings, September 1950 Chinese intervention, November 1950 – Cuban Missile Crisis SU surprised US prior to October 14, 1962 US surprised SU on October 22, 1962 – Israeli pre-emptive attack on Egyptian Air Force, Six-Day Way – Egyptian attack on Israeli forces at Suez Canal, Yom Kippur War – Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, August 1990 – 9/11 attacks on US

4 “Signals vs. Noise” Why do surprise attacks (etc.) so often succeed? – A few “signals” are buried in a lot of “noise.” Signals : in this context, bits of information giving advance indications about an upcoming attack (or other surprise). Noise (or static): the much more numerous bits of information that are essentially random or meaningless, in any case – are not advance indications of anything unusual or threatening. Signal are typically (and “naturally”) hidden in or camouflaged by noise.

5 Kermit Tyler: RIP /24/2010

6 Signals, Noise, and Expectations Because of noise, a variety of expectations about the immediate future are plausible, and – usually the most plausible one is that the immediate future will be the same as the present (and recent past). Decision makers usually have premises/predispositions/mind sets) that lead them to overlook signals inconsistent with the most plausible expectation. – It is difficult to “look at evidence with an open mind,” contrary to “the doctrine of immaculate perception.” “Things must be believed to be seen [quickly].”

7 Signals, Noise, and Expectations (cont.) US before Pearl Harbor: “Japan would be crazy to directly tangle with the U.S.” SU before Barbarosa: “We have a non-aggregation with Germany – and Germany’s main lesson from WWI was: don’t get into a two-front war.” US before Chinese intervention in Korea: “The Communist regime needs time to consolidate its rule.” US before Missile Crisis: “SU would not run the risk of stationing nuclear weapons outside of the SU.” – Also Cuban refugee reports had been “crying wolf” for months. Such expectations sometimes work the other way. – US in Vietnam: “China intervened unexpectedly in Korea – they may do the same in Vietnam.”

8 Signals, Noise, and Expectations (cont.) The “signals vs. noise” distinction can also work in the opposite fashion. – What may be interpreted as signals of hostile intent may really just be meaningless noise. In the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a US U2 spy plane accidently overflew the Chukotka Peninsula (eastern Siberia). – This can lead to “self-fulfilling prophecy” of hostile intent. “ The Spiral Model” Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August [origins of WWI] Rationale for “appeasement” prior to WWII. Historical controversy regarding origins of the Cold War. Stable vs. Unstable Nuclear Deterrence. “War-by-Accident” scenarios: Failsafe, Dr. Strangelove. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Chapter 6 (“The Dynamics of Mutual Alarm”)

9 Warning and Decision In summary, it is hard to pick signals out of noise (to “connect the dots”) in advance, – though it may be easy to identify and connect them out later. And, on the whole, a false sense of security is more prevalent than a false sense of insecurity. To avoid spiral model: “look ahead and reason back” thinking of ExCom in Cuban Missile Crisis.

10 Secrecy We saw earlier that a player may have (though does not always have) an incentive to keep his strategy (plan of action) secret from the other player, – particularly in a non-strictly determined zero-sum game. – In the D-Day Game, the Allies wanted to deceive the Germans as to where the invasion would take place and therefore needed to keep their actual plans secret. In a Chicken Game, a player may be ostensibly committed to a “stand firm” strategy, – but if this really is a bluff, this fact must be kept secret. So while there is tendency toward “natural deception” resulting from the signal vs. noise distinction, there are also incentives for “artificial [player-made] deception” as well, – that is, to “damp down” signals indicative of their intentions.

11 “Signals vs. Indices” Another pair of concepts is relevant to consideration of secrecy and deception. – “Signals” vs. “Indices,” due to Robert Jervis, The Logic of Images in IR. – Unfortunately, the term “signal” is used here in a somewhat different sense from in the “signals vs. noise” distinction. Signals and Indices are both means that can be used by a player (an “actor” in IR) to project an image of itself that induces preferred perceptions and actions by other players.

12 Signals A signal is conveyed by words, actions, or other communi- cations the meaning of which is established by convention, i.e., – tactic or explicit understandings among players. In game theory, signals are now commonly referred to as “cheap talk,” – because it is as easy project a false image when using signals as it is to project a true image. Examples of signals in IR include: – “words” such as public speeches and messages, diplomatic notes, press releases, confidential messages sent through intermediaries, etc., and – “actions” such as expelling diplomatic personnel, extending or breaking diplomatic relations, good will visits, conspicuous military maneuvers, etc.

13 Indices An index is a statement or action that carries with it some inherent evidence that the projected image is a true one, – because the index is believed to be inextricably linked to the capabilities and/or intentions of the actor. Example of indices in IR include: – intercepted private messages; – major actions involving high costs or risk, e.g., putting US soldiers in West Berlin or South Korea, putting a US Navy “quarantine” around Cuba. Homely examples of signal vs. index: – In driving, turn signal vs. slowing down/shifting lanes, etc. – Pitcher’s mannerisms indicating next pitch.

14 Indices Can Evolve into Signals Do “actions speak louder [have more credibility] than words”? – Deeds/indices may evolve into mere signals, e.g., car with hood up; expelling diplomatic personnel, etc. Using signals, it is as easy to lie as to tell the truth. Using indices, it is harder to lie than tell the truth, – but it is not impossible, and so – indices may be manipulated.

15 Signals Can Evolve into Indices In some contexts, what would be otherwise be a mere signal becomes an index, – especially in the context of “repeated play” of a game: in particular because the actor has an established reputation for telling the truth (even in awkward circumstances), or because the actor would be subject to severe social or other penalties for being found out as lying. – This is exemplified within established (and non- “dysfunctional”) families, work groups, academic departments, circles of friends, etc.

16 Lying vs. Deceiving Using signals, it as easy to lie as to tell the truth. This does not mean that it easy to deceive using signals, – precisely because others recognize that you may have an incentive to lie and it is easy to do so. An actor cannot deceive by signals, if he has a reputation for lying. – Moreover, an actor cannot tell the truth and be believed by signals,if he has a reputation for lying. “The boy who cried wolf”: Fire alarms, etc. – If you want to believed in the future, “honesty is the best policy” for the present. – Also, if you want to deceive in the future, “honesty is the best policy” for the present.

17 Lying vs. Deceiving (cont.) Games with “incomplete information”: – Players don’t know each others payoffs/preferences. You suspect someone A is lying and trying to deceive you. – A may be either of two “types”: someone who wants to tell you the truth, or someone who is trying deceive you. – You ask A: “Are you telling the truth?” A’s answer is uninformative, because A’s best reply (answer) will be the same (“yes”) regardless of his type. – However, asking this question may produce somewhat informative indices. Mannerisms, evident tension or embarrassment, etc. polygraph tests. – “A diplomat is a man who's sent abroad to lie for his country.” JFK/Gromyko talks, October 18, 1962

18 Indices and Intelligence Especially good indices of A’s intentions are intercepted and decoded signals among members of A’s “team.” – They are playing a zero-conflict coordination game in which there is no incentive to lie. If B can intercept and decode A’s internal signals, B can get a big advantage. – Baseball signals (coded vs. uncoded) – MAGIC (disclosed 1960) – Enigma Machine / Ultra-Secret (disclosed 1974) – Venona Project (disclosed 1995). – Radio phones (vs. runners, etc.) on battlefield Navajo Code Talkers (disclosed 1985)

19 Using Secret Intelligence Breaking an enemy code – may seem to present marvelous opportunities, but – it also generates many paradoxes, dilemmas, and risks requiring strategic choices. Having broken the codes, what do you do? – Keep the fact that you have broken the code secret. The is the purest kind of national security “ultra-secret.” What must be kept secret from the enemy is not his decoded messages but the fact that you are reading them. If the enemy discovers you have broken his codes, his most obvious (though not necessarily best) response is to change his codes. So you cannot disclose your achievement publically – U-571 movie (fictionalized): A few weeks before D-Day, US forces capture a U-boat with its Enigma Machine and codes intact. The US forces almost wish they had not done this. They have to keep secret from the Germans the fact that the U-Boat was captured, not sent to the bottom, or else the Germans are likely to change their codes just before D-Day.

20 Using Secret Intelligence (cont.) You must keep the fact that you have broken the code secret – and also the intelligence derived, – not only from the press and public – but also almost everyone in the government. For example, the MAGIC decrypts were distributed to only about a dozen people only in Washington, and they were then shredded and burned. – This made it hard to see broad patterns and to “connect the dots.”

21 Using Secret Intelligence (cont.) Even if you do not (deliberately or in advertently) disclose your intelligence coup, – if you make “too good” use of the intercepted messages, – your enemy will conclude that you have broken his code, and therefore will change his code (or generate deceptive messages). So you probably should not exploit the intelligence as fully as you might. – You need to continue to make “normal mistakes” in order not to arouse suspicion. – Down the road, more “Monday morning quarterbacking.” – Controversy and recriminations regarding bombing of Coventry, England, November 14, – Ditto some Merchant Marine convoys. – Cuban Missile Crisis: great effort to maintain normal routines prior to October 22.

22 Deception: The Man Who Never Was After clearing German forces from North Africa, the most obvious next Allied target was Sicily – a stepping-stone to Italy. But the Allies wanted to convince the Germans that Sardinia and Crete were the next targets, – so the Germans would defend Sicily less strongly. Allied intelligence planted fake documents and identity papers on a body floated ashore in Spain. German found the documents and evidently believed them, and therefore interpreted Allied preparations to invade Sicily (which could not be hidden) as an attempted deception.

23 Deception (cont.) The Allies had an intelligence network in occupied Holland. The Germans got control of this network. The Allies discovered that their network was actually under German control. The Allies put naïve allied agents into Holland, – with orders to get information about German forces in the Calais area, – which the Germans would interpret as more evidence that the D-Day landings would be in Calais.

24 Cycles of Deception: Interception Suppose your opponent learns that you have broken his codes and are intercepting his messages and he believes (correctly) that you don’t know this. – Now your opponent has his own “ultra-secret.” – Since you regard intercepted messages as highly credible indices, your opponent can now turn the tables on you. While your opponent can merely change his codes, he can also start generating out deceptive coded messages. – But again they cannot exploit this opportunity “too much,” because you will figure out that they have found out that you have broken their codes and you will therefore no longer believe their coded messages.

25 Cycles of Deception: Double (etc.) Agents A has an agent X spying on B B “finds out” that X is an enemy agent B can arrest X but also – B can (try to) “turn” the agent into a “double agent” feeding (partially) false messages to A through X. If A finds out his agent has been turned, – A will discount all the information coming from X, but – A should stay in contact with X, because it is useful for A to know what B wants A to believe. But if B finds out that A knows X has been “turned,” B can feed true information though X, expecting that B will discount it.

26 Cycles of Deception: Double (etc.) Agents (cont.) Jervis, Logic of Images: in WWII there was a French colonel in Algeria working as a German agent. – The Allied discovered he was a German agent. – The Allied “turned him” and used him to feed false information to the Germans. – After a while, the Germans figured out he had been turned. – The Germans kept in contact with him, because it was useful for them to know what the Allies wanted you to believe. – Shortly before D-Day, the Allies discovered that the Germans knew the colonel had been turned. – The Allies had the colonel tell the Germans that the D-Day landings would take place at Normandy on June 5, 6, or 7. – To the German, this was conclusive proof that the landings would take anywhere except Normandy and any time except June 5-7. – On June 7, the colonel’s credibility shot up with Germans. – The Allies to resumed feeding false information through the colonel.

27 The Double-Cross System In the early days of WWII, British (counter) intelligence identified (many) German agents in Britain. Rather than arresting these agents, the “Twenty Committee” “turned” and “ran” these agents. This had to be very carefully orchestrated, so the German would not realize their agents had been turned. – The Double-Cross System had to feed some true and useful information to the Germans. – This obviously created difficult relationships with Allied military decision makers.

28 The Double-Cross System (cont.) The XX Committee “ran” the system conservatively, because the expected the Germans to check information from Double- Cross agents against information from other agents not under British control. – In fact, after the war it was discovered that the Double-Cross System controlled all German agents in Britain. Once the XX Committee deliberately ran an agent to show that he was under British control, – in order the give German intelligence a false impression of how the British would run double-agents. – But the Germans continued to regard the agent as reliable. The XX Committee “shot its wad” leading up to D-Day, but the Double-Cross System still didn’t collapse.

29 The Double-Cross System (cont.) Some ironies: – The success of the Double-Cross System and similar deception operations gave the Allies a large stake in the influence of German intelligence on German decision making. But Hitler made the final choices, and did so more on the basis of intuition that intelligence. – The Allies were fearful that defectors from German intelligence would inform the Allies about German agents in Britain, whom the Germans would then expect to be arrested.

30 A Bodyguard of Lies In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. Winston Churchill Virtually all Allied deception efforts built up for the great (tactical) deception for D-Day. – That it would occur later rather than sooner. – That it would be in the Calais area, not Normandy. – That after a first attack, the main blow would be elsewhere. – Some forces were identified as landing in Normandy (as they did). – An entire “phantom” 3 rd Army was built up in southeast England.


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