Intelligence and Peacekeeper in Haiti

by Major Denver E. McPherson

Editor's Note: The term "Operations Other than War" used throughout this article is no longer considered to be doctrinally accurate. Precise terminology while discussing peace keeping operations, humanitarian assistance, and operations in aid of civil authorities should replace the term "OOTW." A message from the Joint Staff, DJS, 311514Z Aug 1995 released this guidance.
The key to successfully supporting commanders with intelligence is in knowing what information to provide, how to obtain the information, the proper processing of that information, and the correct dissemination of the information. The proper implementation of these objectives, either directly or indirectly enables the commander to make an informed decision that influences the outcome of the mission. The continued success of the U.S. Forces Haiti (USFH) Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) is a result of balancing these objectives.
The J2's role in the intelligence cycle is dynamic. The commanders in Haiti have driven the intelligence effort daily and relentlessly. This is the cornerstone of intelligence doctrine and is a requisite for directing what information is necessary for sound decisionmaking. How the JIC is collecting information is the J2's responsibility. In Haiti, this involves the careful balance of gathering information from all sources to support several different objectives, while supporting the operational and tactical needs of several commanders. Processing and producing the information into usable intelligence are as critical as gathering the information. The J2 accomplishes the disseminating of intelligence to the right customer through careful management of information coupled with an understanding of the needs of the user. He balances the needs of several different commanders against his section's capabilities and limitations.
In Haiti, the J2 must balance the need for operational as well as tactical intelligence objectives. The key to successfully completing the intelligence cycle is contingent upon meeting four conditions:

The Commanders Drive Intelligence

Initially, a provision of successful intelligence support depends on whether the commander drives the intelligence effort. This phase of intelligence must not be compromised. The commander driving intelligence is the cornerstone in developing sound intelligence support. The commander must understand the capabilities and limitations of his intelligence assets, and what he can expect from those assets to maximize their capabilities. In Haiti, this is critical since the J2 essentially works for three separate and, at times, differently focused commanders (see Figure 1). The USFH J2, U.S. Support Group Haiti (USSPTGRPHAITI) J2, and the JTF J2 are the same person. The J2's initial focus encompasses answering two sets of priority intelligence requirements (PIR), one set for the USFH Commander and one set for the JTF Commander.
The USFH Commander essentially drives operational-level intelligence. His focus includes the entire country of Haiti. He must ensure support for all U.S. forces in Haiti, to make sure that the theater campaign is properly executed.
The J2's support for the USSPTGRPHAITI Commander is more of a balance between operational and tactical intelligence. Since the Commander of the USSPTGRPHAITI also serves as the USFH Deputy Commander, his interests focus in two different areas. He is currently responsible for standing up the U.S. Support Group Haiti, planned to come on line in early 1996, so he plays a critical role in focusing the J2 toward these two different objectives. The third commander who plays a role in driving the intelligence process is the JTF Commander. Zone V encompasses the majority of the Hatian capital, Port-au-Prince. His focus is primarily tactical although he is keenly attuned to the operational objectives of the other two commanders as they are often the same.
A J2 who works for three separate commanders is inherently challenged. This would be extremely difficult if the command structure was not cohesive. In Haiti this is not a problem. Working relationships between the commanders facilitate the intelligence process by creating consensus on common intelligence objectives. Every morning the commanders meet within the JIC and review the latest information and intelligence. This is an informal process where each of the commanders reviews all the information from the previous day. This review includes the daily intelligence summaries from the United Nations (U.N.), USFH, Zone V, the Cavalry Squadron, the Military Police (MP) Battalion, and the Special Operations Task Force. They also review information papers from Force Protection, higher headquarters, and other agencies. The commanders review this information asking questions and discussing analysis with the J2. The morning intelligence update is an interactive process between the commanders and the J2. The questions and answers that come out of the discussions make the meetings informative and also serve as the basis for information requirements and taskings. This meeting usually takes about an hour. Every day, except Sunday, the commanders have the undivided attention of the J2 wherein they drive the intelligence effort. It is important to note that the morning update is an informal process. The commanders do not require any special briefings. This indicates their trust in their intelligence support.
In addition to these morning meetings, the commanders receive formal briefings every Saturday. These briefings focus on analytical overviews of specific geographical regions of Haiti or on specific subjects. The commanders indicate the focus for the brief or any special emphasis on a particular subject or area in which they are interested. Twice a month, the JIC analysts conduct the briefing, while rotating with either the MP Battalion or the Cavalry Squadron S2s brief their areas of operation.

Operational versus Tactical Intelligence

Doctrine for war compliments that for operations other than war (OOTW). The levels of war, strategic, operational, and tactical apply as much to peacekeeping in Haiti as they do to a full scale Operation DESERT STORM. Operational-level intelligence provides support to that vital link between strategic objectives and tactical employment of forces. Tactical operations are executed to achieve operational results. Tactical-level intelligence provides support to the commander who is responsible for obtaining those results.
The J2 has the responsibility for supporting both operational and tactical intelligence. Successfully balancing these needs takes an understanding of these needs against the current capabilities of the JIC. The capabilities of the JIC, when the JTF first "stood up" in Haiti, were far more dynamic than what is seen today. The functions are essentially the same but with fewer personnel and systems.
Balancing intelligence requirements against the J2's capabilities is the essence of the J2's challenges. Understanding these requirements starts with the commander's PIR. The J2 is responsible for managing two sets of PIR, one for the USFH Commander (operational) and one for the JTF Commander (tactical). The J2 balances core intelligence functions such as indications and warning analysis, reporting, threat assessment, planning and directing collection assets, all-source analytical reporting, and target development and nomination, in answering these PIR.
The USFH Commander, who is subordinate to the Commander In Chief U.S. Atlantic Command (ACOM), focuses on the operational objectives of Haiti. In supporting this, the operational intelligence needs at times complement the tactical intelligence needs. When you compare the two, they are very similar yet the USFH Commander's PIR reflect more of a holistic view of operations in Haiti. The JTF Commander's PIR, although similar, take a more focused view of Zone V activities. In essence, collection against the tactical PIR is managed in more detail. Analysts accomplished essentially the same goal but with two different levels of detail. As an example, one of the main tenets for which U.S. forces were brought to Haiti during the reinstatement of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was to ensure free and fair elections from legislative through presidential level. This involved more than 10,000 candidates running for more than 2,100 local, state, and national offices. For these elections to successfully occur, U.S. and U.N. forces needed to help maintain a secure and stable environment prior to, during, and after the elections. Since elections of this magnitude had never occurred without a large amount of bloodshed, there was a major focus in effort in meeting the JTF Commander's operational goals.
The JTF Commander's primary goals, unequivocally stated since arriving in Haiti, have been vigilance in force protection, maintenance of a secure and stable environment, and safety. All of these goals are reflected in his PIR. The J2's objectives to ensure proper intelligence support were dual; the focus was on the geopolitical factors of the elections as well as the tactical intelligence needed to support the troops on the ground. There was a carefully thought-out plan in the collection, processing, and the dissemination of information during this period. The J2 focused on an extensive political intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB), which included names of primary candidates, headquarters of the major party, electoral headquarters, etc. At the organizational level, there was a need to ensure that the commanders were aware of the dynamic and constantly changing political situation within the country. At the tactical level, there was a need to ensure that there were fully developed target folders on potential hot spots throughout the country. As well, there was a need for a more focused IPB of the Zone V area of operations to include the electoral headquarters, lines of communications, road conditions, attitudes of workers and voters in selected regions of the city, and potential problems that may occur during the elections. Balancing the organizational and tactical needs of these differently focused commanders is an art which an intelligence officer can learn not only through books, but by experience too. The success of the JIC in keeping the commanders informed during these times took a well-synchronized JIC with a clear focus.

Focused Objectives

Focusing the JIC means conservatively using the assets available, since at any given time there are more than 100 current taskings or requirements levied on the J2. Not all of these requirements are intelligence oriented (the majority are), but are requirements that must be accomplished either daily, weekly, monthly or by suspense. Originally approximately 144 personnel supported intelligence for the commander. Currently there are 25 people to accomplish the mission. In addition, the J2 must focus the joint interoperability of these human resources in order to ensure timely, accurate, relevant, usable, and complete intelligence support to the operational and tactical requirements. The intelligence architecture has undergone changes in the last year based on mission requirements. Under the original JTF intelligence architecture, the JIC comprised (see glossary) JDISS, JWICS, STICS, TROJAN SPIRIT, MITT, FAST, MSE, INMARSAT, ASAS-Warrior, GMF circuit, packet-switch network, LAN, and a WAN (see glossary). Currently, systems directly supporting the JIC's intelligence architecture include the JDISS, JWICS, INMARSAT, OPX, DSN, GSA, HOTS, SINCGARS (frequency-modulated radio), Motorola Saber System (ultra-high frequency), LAN, and GSA. Additionally, systems that are at the disposal of the JIC (if needed to support the intelligence architecture) include the GENSER VTC, DDN, TACSAT, WWMCCS, the "U.S.A. Direct" AT&T commercial service, and the TELCO-Haitian local commercial line. The loss of some of the systems and the addition of others has not degraded the capabilities of the JIC. Instead the JIC reconfigured to support operational and tactical intelligence operations in support of USFH under the U.N. Mission in Haiti. With these limited resources, the J2 cannot afford to waste the JIC's time on objectives that are not clearly defined. Every member of the JIC must work toward the proper end-state(s). There are ongoing requirements to gather information at many different levels. This requires using all assets, personnel, and equipment efficiently and to their full capability.
In order to effectively focus the JIC, the J2 ensures that each section is fully aware of the primary objectives for both current and long-term operations. The JIC is broken down into J2 Operations (J2 OPS), Collection Management and Dissemination (CM&D), the All-Source Production Section (ASPS), the Tactical Feedback Force Protection Coordination Authority, Special Security Officer, and the JIC Watch Officer (JICWO). At any given time, these sections are working together toward the same endstate yet may also be focusing in different directions on entirely unrelated projects. During the previous elections, J2 OPS kept the commander and J2 updated on the current situation. At one point, the U.N. alerted the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) and gave them the mission of going to a major road block along Highway 100, north of Port-au-Prince. This road block was in an area that was not previously targeted as a potential hot spot. The CM&D immediately began pulling imagery of the area so that the QRF could use it in its analysis of the area to identify what the terrain and road conditions offered. The ASPS was quickly analyzing historic databases for indicators of possible problems within the area and analyzing the possibilities of any organized threat toward U.N. forces on the ground.
The J2's role was to focus specific personnel on the immediate objective, while keeping ACOM, the United Nations, and subordinate commanders informed and still developing intelligence for other tasks. They successfully accomplished this because everyone understood the objectives and the management of each section's focus. Focus alone does not ensure success. The end-state is only found through the management of focus, combined with teamwork.


Teamwork is an essential ingredient for the success of any operation involving two or more people working in concert to achieve the same goal. This is especially true within a JIC. Each person must not only understand the desired objectives but also how to achieve that end-state. With the myriad of backgrounds and skills that a joint operation brings, there has to be a cohesiveness within the JIC that the J2 must achieve. The current tour of personnel assigned to the USFH JIC ranges from 90 to 179 days. Consequently, on-the-job training is a necessity and cannot be accomplished without absolute teamwork. Cross training is a necessity as limited personnel with a myriad of different skills work together with complex systems daily. All four Services are represented within the JIC; the U.S. Army comprises the majority. The J2 expects all soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors to use most of the systems (supplied by several different tactical, operational and national agencies). It is a requirement that almost everyone in the JIC have a basic overview of how these systems operate and where the systems fall within the overall structure of the JIC architecture.
The interoperability of all these forces is just as much a challenge for the J2 as ensuring that they are properly focused. At any time, the CM&D, ASPS, or J2 operations personnel must be able to fill in for the JICWO and vice versa. There are only two table of distribution and allowance (TDA) slots for the JICWO. This position is staffed 24 hours a day since the JICWO provides the primary connectivity with the Atlantic Intelligence Command (AIC). These soldiers work 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week. The J2 gives them a day off periodically to ensure that they receive the appropriate breaks; this requires that another person from within the JIC stand in for the JICWO. This goes for any other section within the JIC as well. Accomplishing this is not possible without cross-training and teamwork.


USFH is the model of successful intelligence operations in an OOTW scenario. This success is attributable to properly managing the following four factors: the commander drives intelligence, balancing the effort, focused objectives, and teamwork. Although many more factors affect the intelligence operation, without the commanders' driving the intelligence effort and the J2 balancing the commanders' objectives and ensuring the JIC team works synergistically, these other factors would not positively effect the outcome of the intelligence support effort.
The Commander Drives Intelligence. In Haiti, the commanders do drive the intelligence effort. This clearly enables the J2 to effectively start the support process and properly focus the effort. Since three commanders are driving this effort, there is a potential for a disconnected and frustrating process. Not in Haiti. The commanders work toward the same end-state, synchronizing operations and their guidance and allowing the intelligence effort to be more responsive to their needs.
Balancing the effort. The intelligence cycle within the JIC focuses on both tactical- and operational-level intelligence support. This is a process requiring a balance of support. Since these objectives overlap, and in many cases are not clearly defined, the J2 must be cognizant of the potential for a dichotomy in support. This balancing of objectives and integration of one to support the other is a task that the J2 must constantly manage.
Focused Objectives. While ensuring that the JIC properly supports the commanders with their sometimes different objectives, the J2 must also properly focus his limited staff and systems. With the myriad of national, operational and tactical tasks levied on the JIC, the J2 must focus and ensure understanding of the end-state. Without this focus, the different sections within the JIC would not understand their roles within the intelligence architecture and thus would not support each other, threatening lives, and the mission.
Teamwork. In order to ensure successful intelligence support, this team must not only understand its roles within the intelligence cycle but must also have a good understanding of the other systems and their responsibilities. Bringing together personnel from each of the other Services and requiring them to accomplish many differently focused daily tasks, requires a cohesive operation emphasizing teamwork.
Major McPherson is currently the S2, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), Fort Polk, Louisiana. After a short period as the JTF J2 Operations Chief, he became the JTF Deputy J2 during the 2d ACR's Task Force Dragoon deployment to Haiti. Readers can reach him at (318) 531-0573, DSN 863-0573, or E-mail mcphersd@polk-emh