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Knowing the AdversaryLeaders, Intelligence, and Assessment of Intentions in International Relations$
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Keren Yarhi-Milo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159157

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159157.001.0001

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The US Intelligence Community’s Assessments of Soviet Intentions

The US Intelligence Community’s Assessments of Soviet Intentions

The Collapse of Détente

(p.158) Chapter 7 The US Intelligence Community’s Assessments of Soviet Intentions
Knowing the Adversary

Keren Yarhi-Milo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the indicators used by U.S. intelligence organizations to assess the intentions of the Soviet Union. Drawing on National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) produced on the Soviet Union between 1977 and 1980, the chapter considers the degree to which history confirms the predictions of the selective attention thesis's organizational expertise hypothesis. It also tests the capabilities, strategic military doctrine, and behavior theses. After providing a brief overview of the U.S. intelligence community's estimates of Soviet intentions earlier in the 1970s, the chapter discusses the intelligence organizations' views about Soviet intentions during Jimmy Carter's presidency. It shows that an effort to understand the adversary's political intentions did not play a significant role in the U.S. intelligence community's intentions assessments, and particularly in the NIEs' judgments of the threat posed by the USSR. Instead, most of the NIEs were dedicated to estimating current and projected Soviet strategic forces as well as military intentions.

Keywords:   U.S. intelligence organizations, Soviet Union, National Intelligence Estimates, selective attention, organizational expertise hypothesis, capabilities, strategic military doctrine, behavior, political intentions, military intentions

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