Success Or Failure Essay
Essay on Success and Failure of Intelligence
Historically, intelligence played an important part in military operations and wars. However, intelligence operations may have not only positive but also negative effects on military operations as well as the balance of power between opposing parties. At this point, it is possible to refer to the experience of the US and allies’ intelligence during World War II, when the intelligence suffered both successes and failures. In this regard, it is possible to refer to the case of the failure of the US intelligence to foresee the attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and the success of the allies’ intelligence in uncovering the way to crack Enigma, German encryption system used in the communication of Germans. These two cases reveal the full extent to which the intelligence operations may be influential and affect outcomes of large scale military conflicts. On the other hand, the revelation of the failure of the US intelligence in Pearl Harbor shows the importance of the intelligence as the agency that can foresee and prevent large scale military operations and failures of the national defense system. Therefore, successes and failures of the intelligence show that the intelligence plays an important part in military operations, wars as well as socio-political development of nations and the effective performance of intelligence can help nations to take a stronger position in the competitive struggle between nations and international relations.
The failure of the US intelligence in Pearl Harbor is a well-known fact as well as the cracking of Enigma is a renowned success of the allies’ intelligence. However, from the scientific point of view, the failure or success of the intelligence should be grounded on the revelation of facts and evidence that prove that the particular intelligence operation. In this regard, to determine whether the particular intelligence operation was a success or failure, it is possible to elaborate criteria which mark the success of the intelligence operation. Criteria of the successful intelligence operation include several key elements (Cook, 2006). First, the intelligence operation is successful, if it has caused harms to the enemy. In fact, the ultimate goal of the intelligence operation is obtaining the target information or completion of the target action successfully that will directly or indirectly harm the enemy. For instance, even if the intelligence operation does not lead to the destruction of the enemy infrastructure, but helps to reveal certain information about the enemy’s infrastructure, then the intelligence will weaken the position of the enemy because the party conducting the military operation will know weak points in the defense line of the enemy.
Second, the intelligence operation is successful, if it was conducted safely for agents and other stakeholders involved in the operation. The safety of agents is very important because, first, the intelligence agency has to invest funds into training of its agents that means that the loss of agents is costly. Second, the loss of agents weakens the position of the intelligence that naturally cannot be the marker of success of the military operation. Therefore, the safety of agents is definitely the evidence of the success of the intelligence operation.
Third, the intelligence operation is successful, if it allows saving life of soldiers and civilians of the party that conducts the intelligence operation or those of its allies. One of the primary goals of any intelligence operation is the safety of soldiers and civilians. The protection of soldiers and civilians and enhancement of their security proves that the intelligence operation is successful.
Fourth, the intelligence operation is successful, if it contributes to saving facilities, infrastructure, military equipment and other items essential for the successful military operations of the party conducting the intelligence operation. The protection of facilities and infrastructure is another priority of intelligence operations, especially, if they are conducted during the wartime. If intelligence operations secure the infrastructure and facilities of the party that conducts the intelligence operation then such intelligence operation is definitely successful.
Fifth, the intelligence operation is successful, if its outcomes have a generally positive effect on the particular military conflict and balance of powers of parties involved in the war. Intelligence operations conducted during the wartime should have the long-lasting positive effects and bring positive impact on the position of the military of the party conducting the intelligence. In fact, truly successful intelligence operations may have the determinant effect on the development of military conflicts and large scale wars.
Sixth, the successful intelligence operation remains unnoticed for the enemy until harmful effects of the operation become obvious or even after the end of the military conflict. The intelligence traditionally operates secretly. Therefore, if operations of the intelligence agency are uncovered, then they failed, while, on the contrary, if the enemy and public fails to notice the intelligence operation, then such operation is successful.
The major success of the intelligence during World War II was cracking Enigma, German cryptographic system, which they used for radio and data transmission during the war. The operation was conducted by international intelligence forces, including Polish, French, American and British professionals. They coordinated their actions and the intelligence agencies of the allies collaborated to crack Enigma. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Enigma machine based its cipher capabilities on a series of wired rotor wheels and a plugboard. Through a web of internal wiring, each of the 26 input contacts on the rotor were connected to a different output contact. The wiring connections of one rotor differed from the connections on any other rotor (Cornwell, 2008). Additionally, each rotor had a moveable placement notch found on an outer ring. The notch forced the rotor to its left to step one place forward. This notch could be moved to a different point on the rotor by rotating the outer ring. The Germans followed a daily list, known as a key list, to indicate where the notch should be placed each day (Cornwell, 2008). Theoretically, Enigma was considered to be extremely difficult to crack. Researchers (Cornwell, 2008) estimate that the Germans believed the encryption generated by the machine to be unbreakable. With a theoretical number of ciphering possibilities of 3 X 10114, their belief was not unjustified.
Cracking Enigma was the results of the Polish breakthrough combined with a German traitor provided by the French that resulted in the major success against Enigma, since the British and Americans became able to expand their findings into breaking Enigma as well as even more resilient German Navy encryption. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Navy played the key part in the national security of the UK because the breakthrough of the Navy defense line would lead to the opening the way for landing the German army in the UK.
The operation was conducted safely and did not cause casualties among the allies involved in the operation. In fact, all participants of the operations and agents remained safe and were not vulnerable to any prosecution or attacks from the part of Germans. They had managed to complete the intelligence operation successfully without being uncovered by the enemy. This is why the operation conducted by the allies’ intelligence to crack Enigma was successful. At the same time, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the intelligence operation on cracking Enigma involved the large scale cooperation of agents and intelligence agencies internationally. The intelligence operation involved professionals from Poland, France, the UK and the US and even a German traitor. Therefore, the operation involved a large number of people that apparently increased the risk of its failure because the more there are people involved in the intelligence operation the higher is the risk of the failure of the operation. In case of the intelligence operation on cracking Enigma all professionals working on the operation had managed to survive and remained undiscovered by the enemy. This is why this operation was apparently successful.
Furthermore, the allies’ armies and infrastructure remained unharmed and, more important, the allies armies have got better opportunities to track the movement and actions of the enemy securing its position through deciphering the communication between Germans, who used Enigma or its navy encryption. In such a way, the German military faced the problem of information breaches since the allies had got an opportunity to decipher the communication of Germans. As a result, they had got access to the secret information and their interceptions could help them to understand what Germans planned to do and reveal German strategy and key military operations (Stinnett, 2009). In fact, the cracking of Enigma gave the allies the clue to the communication channels of Germans that apparently weakened German army and enhanced the position of the allies in the war.
The cracking of Enigma cause substantial harms to Germans, who became vulnerable to unexpected actions and attacks of the allies, who deciphered German communication due to the successful intelligence operation of cracking Enigma. Germans could not be absolutely safe anymore because the allies could foresee their operations and actions due to the information which they intercepted from the communication between Germans. In such a situation, Germans could not conduct their operations successfully and the risk of their failure increased because they could not encrypt their communication effectively, while their enemy, i.e. the allies, could elaborate effective counter strategies being aware of actions and plans of Germans.
Essay on Success and Failure of Intelligence part 2
To achieve the greatest success, you have to embrace the prospect of failure.
The sweetest victory is the one that’s most difficult. The one that requires you to reach down deep inside, to fight with everything you’ve got, to be willing to leave everything out there on the battlefield—without knowing, until that do-or-die moment, if your heroic effort will be enough. Society doesn’t reward defeat, and you won’t find many failures documented in history books.
The exceptions are those failures that become steppingstones to later success. Such is the case with Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype. “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Unlike Edison, many of us avoid the prospect of failure. In fact, we’re so focused on not failing that we don’t aim for success, settling instead for a life of mediocrity. When we do make missteps, we gloss over them, selectively editing out the miscalculations or mistakes in our life’s résumé. “Failure is not an option,” NASA flight controller Jerry C. Bostick reportedly stated during the mission to bring the damaged Apollo 13 back to Earth, and that phrase has been etched into the collective memory ever since. To many in our success-driven society, failure isn’t just considered a non-option—it’s deemed a deficiency, says Kathryn Schulz, author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. “Of all the things we are wrong about, this idea of error might well top the list,” Schulz says. “It is our meta-mistake: We are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition.”
Related:10 Things Successful People Never Do Again
Failure Is Life’s Greatest Teacher
When we take a closer look at the great thinkers throughout history, a willingness to take on failure isn’t a new or extraordinary thought at all. From the likes of Augustine, Darwin and Freud to the business mavericks and sports legends of today, failure is as powerful a tool as any in reaching great success. “Failure and defeat are life’s greatest teachers [but] sadly, most people, and particularly conservative corporate cultures, don’t want to go there,” says Ralph Heath, managing partner of Synergy Leadership Group and author of Celebrating Failure: The Power of Taking Risks, Making Mistakes and Thinking Big. “Instead they choose to play it safe, to fly below the radar, repeating the same safe choices over and over again. They operate under the belief that if they make no waves, they attract no attention; no one will yell at them for failing because they generally never attempt anything great at which they could possibly fail (or succeed).”
However, in today’s post-recession economy, some employers are no longer shying away from failure—they’re embracing it. According to a recent article in BusinessWeek, many companies are deliberately seeking out those with track records reflecting both failure and success, believing that those who have been in the trenches, survived battle and come out on the other side have irreplaceable experience and perseverance.
“The quickest road to success is to possess an attitude toward failure of ‘no fear.’ ”
They’re veterans of failure. The prevailing school of thought in progressive companies—such as Intuit, General Electric, Corning and Virgin Atlantic—is that great success depends on great risk, and failure is simply a common byproduct. Executives of such organizations don’t mourn their mistakes but instead parlay them into future gains. “The quickest road to success is to possess an attitude toward failure of ‘no fear,’ ” says Heath. “To do their work well, to be successful and to keep their companies competitive, leaders and workers on the front lines need to stick their necks out a mile every day.
They have to deliver risky, edgy, breakthrough ideas, plans, presentations, advice, technology, products, leadership, bills and more. And they have to deliver all this fearlessly—without any fear whatsoever of failure, rejection or punishment.”
Reaching Your Potential
The same holds true for personal quests, whether in overcoming some specific challenge or reaching your full potential in all aspects of life. To achieve your personal best, to reach unparalleled heights, to make the impossible possible, you can’t fear failure, you must think big, and you have to push yourself. When we think of people with this mindset, we imagine the daredevils, the pioneers, the inventors, the explorers: They embrace failure as a necessary step to unprecedented success. But you don’t have to walk a tightrope, climb Mount Everest or cure polio to employ this mindset in your own life.
When the rewards of success are great, embracing possible failure is key to taking on a variety of challenges, whether you’re reinventing yourself by starting a new business or allowing yourself to trust another person to build a deeper relationship. “To achieve any worthy goal, you must take risks,” says writer and speaker John C. Maxwell. In his book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success, he points to the example of legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, who set several records and achieved many firsts in her lifetime, including being the first female pilot to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean.
Although her final flight proved fateful, Maxwell believes she knew the risk—and that the potential reward was worth it. “[Earhart’s] advice when it came to risk was simple and direct: ‘Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.’ ” Of course, the risks you take should be calculated; you shouldn’t fly blindly into the night and simply hope for the best. Achieving the goal or at least waging a heroic effort requires preparation, practice and some awareness of your skills and talents.
Easing Into a Fearless Mindset
“One of the biggest secrets to success is operating inside your strength zone but outside of your comfort zone.”
“One of the biggest secrets to success is operating inside your strength zone but outside of your comfort zone,” Heath says. Although you might fail incredibly, you might succeed incredibly—and that’s why incredible risk and courage are requisite. Either way, you’ll learn more than ever about your strengths, talents and resolve, and you’ll strengthen your will for the next challenge. If this sounds like dangerous territory, it can be. But there are ways to ease into this fearless mindset.
Related:21 Quotes About Failing Fearlessly
Maintain a Positive Attitude
The first is to consciouslya mintain a positive attitude so that, no matter what you encounter, you’ll be able to see the lessons of the experience and continue to push forward. “It’s true that not everyone is positive by nature,” says Maxwell, who cites his father as someone who would describe himself as a negative person by nature. “Here’s how my dad changed his attitude. First he made a choice: He continually chooses to have a positive attitude.
Reading and Listening to Motivational Material
Second, he’s continually reading and listening to materials that bolster that attitude. For example, he’s read The Power of Positive Thinking many times. I didn’t get it at first, so once I asked him why. His response: ‘Son, I need to keep filling the tank so I can stay positive.’ ” Heath recommends studying the failures and subsequent reactions of successful people and, within a business context, repeating such histories for others. “Reward them and applaud their efforts in front of the entire organization so everyone understands it is OK to fail.
So employees say to themselves, ‘I see that Bill, the vice president of widgets, who the president adores, failed, and he is not only back at work, but he is driving a hot new sports car. I can fail and come to work the next day. Bill is proof of it.’ ” Finally, Heath stays motivated by the thought that, “if I become complacent and don’t take risks, someone will notice what I am doing and improve upon my efforts over time, and put me out of work. You’ve got to keep finding better ways to run your life, or someone will take what you’ve accomplished, improve upon it, and be very pleased with the results. Keep moving forward or die.”
Related:Fail Often and Fast
Seth Godin: ‘I’ve Failed Way More Times Than I’ve Succeeded’
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.