Skip to main content

Responding to Capability Surprise: A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces

View Cover

Responding to Capability Surprise

A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces (2013)
Purchase Options
Purchase Options MyNAP members save 10% online. Login or Register



From a military operational standpoint, surprise is an event or capability that could affect the outcome of a mission or campaign for which preparations are not in place. By definition, it is not possible to truly anticipate surprise. It is only possible to prevent it (in the sense of minimizing the number of possible surprises by appropriate planning), to create systems that are resilient to an adversary's unexpected actions, or to rapidly and effectively respond when surprised.

Responding to Capability Surprise examines the issues surrounding capability surprise, both operational and technical, facing the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. This report selects a few surprises from across a continuum of surprises, from disruptive technologies, to intelligence-inferred capability developments, to operational deployments, and assesses what the Naval Forces are doing (and could do) about them while being mindful of future budgetary declines. The report then examines which processes are in place or could be in place in the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard to address such surprises. Today's U.S. naval forces continue to face a wide range of potential threats in the indefinite future and for this reason must continue to balance and meet their force structure needs. The recommendations of Responding to Capability Surprise will help to ensure more responsive, more resilient, and more adaptive behavior across the organization from the most senior leadership to the individual sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2013. Responding to Capability Surprise: A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Import this citation to:

Publication Info

202 pages | 6 x 9
  • Paperback: 978-0-309-27837-9
  • Ebook: 978-0-309-27840-9

Copyright Information

The National Academies Press and the Transportation Research Board have partnered with Copyright Clearance Center to offer a variety of options for reusing our content. You may request permission to:

  • Republish or display in another publication, presentation, or other media
  • Use in print or electronic course materials and dissertations
  • Share electronically via secure intranet or extranet
  • And more

For most Academic and Educational uses no royalties will be charged although you are required to obtain a license and comply with the license terms and conditions.

Click here to obtain permission for Responding to Capability Surprise: A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces.

Translation and Other Rights

For information on how to request permission to translate our work and for any other rights related query please click here. Customer Service

For questions about using the service, please contact:

Copyright Clearance Center
22 Rosewood Drive
Danvers, MA 01923
Tel (toll free): 855/239-3415 (select option 1)

Loading stats for Responding to Capability Surprise: A Strategy for U.S. Naval Forces...