Cynthia M. Grabo


Grabo, Cynthia M.

1. Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2003. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2005.

From "Anticipating Surprise, originally written as a manual for training intelligence analysts during the Cold War, has been declassified and condensed to provide wider audiences with an inside look at intelligence gathering and analysis for strategic warning. Cynthia Grabo defines the essential steps in the warning process, examines distinctive ingredients of the analytic method of intelligence gathering, and discusses the guidelines for assessing the meaning of gathered information.... Grabo suggests ways of improving warning assessments that better convey warnings to policymakers and military commanders who are responsible for taking appropriate action to avert disaster."

The assessment by Jonkers, AFIO WIN 5-03, 4 Feb. 2003, that this work is "a classic imperishable text" is reinforced by the 2005 republication of Grabo's work -- and its nomination for a Francis Parkman Prize.

Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), notes that while the central theme of this book "is strategic warning, the concepts apply to intelligence analysis generally; put another way, it is a textbook for a 101 course in analysis.... Anticipating Surprise is valuable for young analysts wondering where to start and what to do next." For Younes, Air & Space Power Journal 22.3 (Fall 2008), "the guidelines found in this outstanding work apply to fields other than national security. Political scientists, economists, businessmen, trend watchers, and competitive intelligence analysts all can benefit from reading Anticipating Surprise."

2. Handbook of Warning Intelligence: Assessing the Threat to National Security. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.4 (Dec. 2010), notes that this is an expanded edition of the abridged Anticipating Surprise (see above), although still not the full three-volume classified version. It deals with "the kinds of things intelligence analysts should look for, but not how to go about doing the job." By now, the book "is out of date and needs source citations and practical examples."


Grabo, Cynthia M. "Deception in the Normandy Invasion." American Intelligence Journal 8 (Summer 1987): 20-24.


Grabo, Cynthia M. "Soviet Deception in the Czechoslovak Crisis." Studies in Intelligence 14, no. 1 (Spring 1970): 19-34. Studies in Intelligence: 45th Anniversary Special Edition (Fall 2000): 71-86.

The author provides a quick overview of general types of deception activities. With regard to Czechoslovakia, Grabo concludes that "it is almost impossible to conceive that [the Soviet leaders] could have carried out an operation such as the invasion of Czechoslovakia without employing some of their traditional deception tactics." However, "[t]he scope of actual deception measures ... was probably far less than might be expected under other circumstances."


Grabo, Cynthia M. "Strategic Warning: The Problem of Timing." Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 79-92.

"[W]arning judgments are not necessarily more accurate or positive in the short term and ... assessing the timing of attack is often the most elusive, difficult and uncertain problem which we have to face."


Grabo, Cynthia M. Warning Intelligence. Intelligence Profession Series. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1987.


Grabo, Cynthia M. "The Watch Committee and the National Indications Center: The Evolution of U.S. Strategic Warning." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 3, no. 3 (Fall 1989): 363-385.


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