Traditionally, the Royal Navy expected autonomy.
As possessor of the world's largest fleet, the Admiralty might be supposed capable of organising warfare for itself.
Yet it had signally failed to learn the lesson that navies depended not only upon force but upon information, for guns and torpedoes were impotent unless in the right place at the right time.
Like the giant Cyclops, 'Our Fighting Navy' was decidedly one-eyed.
Naval Intelligence was embodied in an organisation that anyone of the new generation would find absurdly Victorian, if not criminally incompetent.
Only in the First World War had any Naval Intelligence Division been set up, and this had declined in peacetime into Kafkaesque fantasy.
In 1937, the NID was11 '… neither interested in nor equipped to collect or disseminate information about the organization, dispositions, and movements of foreign fleets …
the situation was very little better than it had been … in 1892….
Large old-fashioned ledgers were used in which to enter in longhand the last known whereabouts of Japanese, Italian and German warships….
These reports were often months old, and only once a quarter were the supposed dispositions of foreign navies … issued to the Fleet.'