Two very sound reasons for the lack of operational secrecy suggest themselves. First, I’d back the insurgents to know something was coming, even without a subscription to the [Wall Street] Journal.
Second, more importantly, avoiding a big fight is the name of the game for the coalition. Preserving your force and securing the people are key objectives if you’re going to do population-focused counterinsurgency. Ideally you want to take control of the populous areas with minimal fighting, and you want the insurgent out in the sticks, where he can be hunted down more readily than among the population, and where there’s less chance of large-scale civilian casualties.
The insurgent, meanwhile, must fight among the people, not just for safety, but to retain his relevance. Announcing that you’re coming gives him a tough choice.
Ted Striker: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.
Elaine Dickinson: When will you be back?
Ted Striker: I can't tell you that. It's classified.