REVIEW: Spies for Nimitz. Joint Military Intelligence in the Pacific War.


By Jeffrey M. Moore. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004. 300 pages, endnotes, bibliography, photos, maps, index

It seems like yesterday but it is now more than a decade since I pored over the weekly issues of the bulletin put out by the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Areas (JICPOA) while researching my study of U.S. intelligence and the Japanese Navy in World War II. The JICPOA bulletins were replete with surveys of Japanese defenses on various islands, articles on the characteristics of land weapons, ships, and aircraft, translations of documents, and more.

I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to do a book just on this material, how it provided ample scope for an examination of intelligence performance prior to several campaigns of the Pacific war. Now Jeffrey Moore has done exactly that in his work Spies for Nimitz. Truth to tell I was more excited when picking up this book to read than I have been with any Pacific war history of recent years.

In a Saigon bar in 1996, Moore, who was in Vietnam teaching English, heard a story of scout recruiting of agents on Pacific islands from a former U.S. Army officer. That piqued his curiosity. The author's background is somewhat shadowy in the jacket notes here, which list various consultancies, but from the internal evidence is clearly related to the Marine Corps and to intelligence. He studied with naval historian Michael A. Palmer and has come away with the tools necessary to organize and arrange the material. Spies for Nimitz is the result.

The book opens with a chapter on JICPOA's organization and evolution and then swings into a series of case studies. The campaigns Moore selects are the Marshalls, Marianas, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, and the intelligence preparations for the invasion of Japan. He ends with a chapter of conclusions and lessons learned, using that specific terminology. Moore uses a particular methodology. He begins with a description of the strategic background and U.S. decision to..

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