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Trials by Fire: Strategic and Operational Intelligence in the Korean War

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph examines the intelligence warfighting function at the operational and strategic levels during the Korean War utilizing the Joint Intelligence Process and the Joint Intelligence Principles of prioritization, perspective, and unity of effort to examine the dichotomy between success at the operational level and intelligence failure at the strategic level. The case studies for this research are the onset of the conflict, the defense of the Pusan perimeter, the Inchon landing, and the Chinese intervention. This monograph demonstrates that intelligence failed at the strategic level because it lacked focus, was poorly resourced, and was based on deeply flawed assumptions. Intelligence succeeded at the operational level because intelligence operations focused on requirements, were adequately resourced, and were integrated effectively. This research highlights the dangers of over reliance on assumptions with regard to an adversary for modern intelligence professionals.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Humanities and History

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