Intelligence Study on Failed Prediction of Nuclear Programs



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This thesis will address the problem of United States intelligence failing to predict the capabilities and first test of foreign nuclear programs. The research question addressed is did the United States make mistakes during any of the phase in the intelligence cycle that led to the failed prediction of the first successful nuclear test by the Soviet Union, PRC, and DPRK, or were the failed predictions due to outside problems? The methodology used in this study will consist of a structured, focused comparison between three case studies of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Peoples Republic of China (PRC), and Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). In each case, efforts by the US intelligence will be divided into one of the five phases of the intelligence cycle. The data revealed that each case contained different failures that could have possibly caused the US to fail in predicting the capabilities and first test of each nuclear program. This study presents data from literature around intelligence failures, conceptualized in a new method, comparing the efforts of the US intelligence in three cases and drawing conclusions from presently declassified data.



Intelligence, Intelligence Failure, Nuclear Programs, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, People’s Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea