Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Keith Payne


deception, warfare, strategy, guile, denial and deception, military deception, strategic deception

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


This thesis examines the use of deception in warfare and strategic affairs in the past 30 years. The thesis uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative assessments to determine the effectiveness of using deception to achieve surprise in battle, how successful achieving surprise is as an attacker, how deception can be used as a defender and how successful it has been. All of this was determined by studying 21 wars and 80 battles, as well as an additional ten scenarios of strategic deception, from 1969 to 2009. The research indicates a possible decrease in the use of deception, and a greater reliance on superior fire power than previous studies done on earlier timeframes. The thesis also suggests that due to the United States' varying adversary's reliance on deception to counter our conventional superiority, the U.S. should utilize counterdeception or deceptions of its own.


© Nathan Thomas Kennedy

Campus Only