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Preventing poor intelligence cycles during crisis decision making

evaluating prescriptions and bridging the gap between science and practice

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Preventing poor intelligence cycles during crisis decision making

evaluating prescriptions and bridging the gap between science and practice

Rechten:

Samenvatting

The quality and efficacy of political-military decision making and command depends to a large extent on the quality of the ongoing intelligence cycle. In other words, the more errors organizations and decision makers make during the ongoing cycles of information collection, analysis, information dissemination, and information utilization/response, the more these processes will result in poor decisions, unanticipated risks, costs, outputs and outcomes. This widely accepted assumption is particularly relevant for crisis situations in which the combination of various types of increasing crisis-induced stress can easily result in a dynamic chain of uncontrollable escalations and entrapment. It is therefore hardly surprising that the stream of studies on foreign policy crises which started in the early 60s of the past century produced a wealth of policy prescriptions in order to prevent many of the traps that tend to undermine the quality of C3I cycles and decision making in almost every situation in which policy makers, commanders and their organizations are confronted with serious dangers, time pressures and uncertainty, as well as increasing risks of uncontrollable escalation. Strangely enough, publications of systematic meta-evaluations with regard to the content and the quality of (specific parts of) the prescriptions that have been offered thus far, have almost been non-existent up to the present moment. Insofar as books, review articles, and conference papers have discussed the state of progress on these aspects of crisis research, it was usually in quite general terms. This article represents a first attempt to fill this gap. It presents several tentative findings of a research project at the Royal Military Academy that was started two years ago. The article opens with a brief introduction of the main features of the research project. The next section discusses the framework that has been applied hitherto in order to evaluate the quality of policy prescriptions. It will emphasize the importance of logical consistency between the conceptual framework that has guided empirical studies on crisis decision making, the clarity and quality of its key concepts, case selection, main empirical findings and prescriptions. Other criteria that will be examined are, amongst others, (un-)ambiguity of the prescriptions, practical usefulness, range of applicability, etc. . This set of criteria is applied to a number of (sometimes widely quoted) prescriptions with regard to decision making structures; communication/information aspects; cognitive-psychological dimensions of decision making. The article continues with an evaluation of the quality of prescriptions and concludes with some observations on improving it.

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OrganisatieNederlandse Defensie Academie
OpleidingFaculteit Militaire Wetenschappen
AfdelingMilitaire Bedrijfswetenschappen
Gepubliceerd inInformation in context Royal Netherlands Military Academy, Breda, Vol. 2000, Pagina's: 67-84
Jaar2000
TypeBoekdeel
TaalNederlands

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