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Strategic Warning IntelligenceStrategic Warning Intelligence

History, Challenges, and Prospects

John A. Gentry and Joseph S. Gordon

Narrated by Andy Dix

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

John A. Gentry and Joseph S. Gordon update our understanding of strategic warning intelligence analysis for the twenty-first century. Strategic warning—the process of long-range analysis to alert senior leaders to trending threats and opportunities that require action—is a critical intelligence function. It also is frequently misunderstood and underappreciated. Gentry and Gordon draw on both their practitioner and academic backgrounds to present a history of the strategic warning function in the US intelligence community. In doing so, they outline the capabilities of analytic methods, explain why strategic warning analysis is so hard, and discuss the special challenges strategic warning encounters from senior decision-makers. They also compare how strategic warning functions in other countries, evaluate why the United States has in recent years emphasized current intelligence instead of strategic warning, and recommend warning-related structural and procedural improvements in the US intelligence community. The authors examine historical case studies, including postmortems of warning failures, to provide examples of the analytic points they make. Strategic Warning Intelligence will interest scholars and practitioners and will be an ideal teaching text for intermediate and advanced students.

John A. Gentry is an adjunct professor in the Security Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University and at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Joseph S. Gordon is the Colin Powell Chair for Intelligence Analysis at National Intelligence University, president emeritus of the International Association for Intelligence Education, and was formerly an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency.


Strategic Warning Intelligence is an important new study of the critical problem of intelligence warning. This book is a welcome successor to Cynthia Grabo's classic Handbook of Warning Intelligence, and it should be read by students, by professionals in intelligence and national security, and by everyone seeking to understand the many challenges facing the intelligence community today.”

—Erik Dahl, Naval Postgraduate School

“As Chair of the National Intelligence Council until 2017, I was struck by a paradox: in this shapeless world, strategic warning is ever more important but is in one of its recurring troughs, as Gentry and Gordon note. Their book, by experienced professionals, provides an exhaustive discussion of how we got where we are, and it gives critical pointers to where we might go. In particular, the current practice of "every analyst is a warning analyst" means, as us government veterans know, that nobody is a warning analyst. They identify a number of possible arrangements, but the common central feature is focal points in the Intelligence Community for warning as a goad and cheerleader for both better practice and more training, and as a test bed for new warning methods in this era of ubiquitous data.”

—Greg Treverton, Former Chair of the National Intelligence Council

“Students and practitioners of intelligence will gain invaluable insight into a discrete analytic function that is regularly overlooked or misunderstood from this book.”

International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence

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University Press Audiobooks