Intelligence Failure

Module code: PL7542

Module co-ordinator: Dr David Strachan-Morris

Module Outline

It is often said that victory is the result of good planning while defeat is the result of poor intelligence. Given that intelligence failure can be catastrophic, the single most important question regarding intelligence is how to prevent failure from occurring. In this module students will examine the concept of intelligence failure in detail, first by analysing the theories that seek to explain failure and then by studying specific cases from national security and police intelligence to consider the utility of these different theoretical approaches. Finally, the module will examine the lessons learned from these cases to see how failure can either be avoided or its risk mitigated.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching will be delivered through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) – Blackboard - this allows for a range of innovative and engaging teaching techniques to be used such as online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels.


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)