By Milo Jones, Philippe Silberzahn

« Building on the landmark work of Allison (1971), we reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis to understand not how the crisis was managed, but how it developed in the first place. What is usually described as a triumph of crisis management and diplomacy by President Kennedy was first and foremost a failure for the organization charged with preventing such surprise, the CIA. We trace this failure to the key features of the CIA’s identity and culture. We provide a unified understanding of surprises that does not conflict with prevailing theories, but is logically prior to them because the identity and cultural features of the organization create the antecedent conditions that enable these theories to operate. »

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