The plans for the invasion were begun under President Eisenhower and continued under President Kennedy. It was hoped that exiled Cubans could form a government outside Cuba to replace Castro after a successful invasion. This is where some of the initial failings took place. The exiled Cubans were incapable of establishing a government and had no clear leadership. Ike was animate about the formation of the government and insisted that the plan could not go forward without a leadership in place.2 Yet, according to Richard Bissell who was directing the CIA operation, there never was any cooperation among the Cubans who Bissell called "hot tempered and hardheaded" and incapable of forming a government.3 By the time of the invasion there was not sufficient political unity to manage and direct the overthrow of Castro.4
One of the key ingredients for a successful invasion was to be the element of surprise. However, training a force of 1500 exiled Cubans in Guatemala was difficult to keep secret. The New York Times had run a story detailing the planned operation in October 1960, six months before the invasion.5 Though the CIA assumed that Castro was unaware of the plan, when April 1961 rolled around and the invasion was taking place, Castro was well prepared to respond and was expecting the military action.6 Castro had also thwarted CIA plans to infiltrate Cuba by detaining and arresting large numbers of his opposition.7
The original CIA plan called for small groups of exiles to infiltrate Cuba and set up pockets of resistance. However, by November of 1960, the exiles were having difficulty establishing any kind of underground network inside of Cuba. It was at this time that the CIA changed plans from an infiltration campaign of internal revolt to a large-scale invasion.8 This continual changing of plans and goals also diminished any hope of success for the operation. Shortly after the election of 1960, Kennedy was briefed on the CIA plans for the invasion. At that time, the plan was to use 600 to 750 exiles and invade Cuba at Trinidad.9 They would be aided by CIA flown air strikes flown out of Nicaragua in conjunction with a massive propaganda campaign. It was hoped that this would trigger internal resistance and defections from Castro's military and result in his overthrow.
The key to the mission was dependent on the Cuban people actively supporting the uprising. In February 1961, the Joint Chiefs of Staff raised some doubts about the operation. In a report to Kennedy, they indicated that the success would be totally dependent on the uprising within Cuba and there were "...no margins for miscalculation".10 However, the invasion sight was abruptly changed from Trinidad to the Bay of Pigs, and was planned to take place at night, which presented a special logistic challenge. The Bay of Pigs was surrounded by eighty miles of barren swamp, which no one had taken into account.11 According to Bissell, Lewis, and Pudlo, "The concept that had been appropriate for a Trinidad landing was retained even though it was inapplicable to a Bay of Pigs landing".12 The CIA's inspector general would later conclude that it was unrealistic to expect the operation to "[...] prevail