The second factor of critical importance is the attention that must
be given to tailoring the force to support the mission. In a
mid-intensity conflict, one would expect to deploy everything in
the motor pool; after all, those types of operations drove the
design of the force structure. That is not the case in most SASOs.
Why would a deploying MI force emplace a robust signals
intelligence collection capability to work against a threat who is
ill-equipped to communicate? Yet, periodically we see lessons
learned about how a unit or piece of equipment did not perform well
when logic would have argued for leaving the capability at home. Is
this the case with Joint STARS?
(Editor's Note: See Lieutenant Colonel Agee's
Joint STARS article on page 6 of this issue of MIPB.)
A corollary to not deploying what you do not need is the
importance for the senior intelligence officer to guard against
thinking which says in essence, If I don't own it, it must not be
a player. Repeatedly since Operation DESERT STORM, intelligence
operations have benefited immensely from support provided by
elements like the NIST (National Intelligence Support
Team) precisely because it and other supporting elements like it
enable access to national or other-Service-produced intelligence
that is beyond the G2's or J2's ability to obtain directly. Perhaps
most notable in this category is human intelligence
(HUMINT) absolutely vital to the success of every SASO but not
generally available without the reporting that comes from the
Central Intelligence Agency or the embassy's attach‚.
Interoperability or architecture is, of course, a third factor that
deserves a great deal of attention in planning for intelligence
support to SASOs. Not only are equipment and communications key,
but so, too, are databases the raw material laboriously saved and
catalogued over time without which predictive intelligence and
definitive answers to the commander's hard questions are
impossible. Although interoperability or architecture issues
typically prompt the vast majority of lessons learned, they are
especially key in SASO intelligence operations because of the near
certainty that we will not only be operating with other U.S. Army
intelligence organizations, but with other Services and countries
as well. In many cases, equipment interoperability disconnects will
not be remedied overnight. However, hardware issues should not be
used as a crutch to avoid seeking clarity and simplicity in
procedures or creating databases areas that with some thought can
add real value to a coalition intelligence operation, or
alternatively bring it to its knees. Though not technically part of
interoperability, but certainly central to the ability to operate
is the issue of information sharing. While seemingly only of
peripheral interest, information sharing will be an issue for the
intelligence officer in a SASO. This will occur one hundred percent
of the time so it must be addressed at the onset. Not sharing
information with an ally (even a new one) is a non-solution.
Information is what the intelligence officer brings to the table as
part of what it takes to build trust with our coalition partners.
A word of caution though: be prepared to champion your cause the
bureaucrats will trip you up at every opportunity.
Finally, a fourth factor which deserves special emphasis in SASOs
is the threat. It is no less important than knowing the threat in
any other military operation; what is key is to focus on the unique
things about the threat as it pertains to the SASO mission. In the
four-power peace observer force (United States, Chile, Brazil, and
Argentina) that oversees the peace along a 100-mile jungle section
of the Peru-Equador border, some aspects of the threat are
preeminent. Weather and landmines, for example, are issues that are
immediately relevant to observer force protection. Because
potential Peruvian and Ecuadorian unit redeployments from garrison
might signal a return to hostilities, it is also important to
consider this possibility in assessing the threat. Yet, in carving
up the intelligence workload, the task of monitoring the larger
issue of potential force mobilization might very well be conducted
from sanctuary in this case, by the J2 at United States Southern
Command (SOUTHCOM). A clear understanding of what aspects of the
threat are uniquely relevant to the mission can facilitate
effective structuring of the intelligence support mission for
success from the onset.
The number of things which can influence the effectiveness of
intelligence support to unconventional military operations such as
Bosnia is seemingly limitless. However, the point of this
discussion has been to suggest that what appears to be a lesson
learned or a problem may not be just an equipment or doctrinal
shortfall, but in fact, flawed planning or inadequate
conceptualization of the effort.
The views above are offered both to stimulate and provide a
framework for your own thinking. As you read the articles which
follow, you will encounter a number of issues. Answer to your own
satisfaction whether the issue under discussion is really a problem
deserving a long-term fix or simply a reflection of a lack of
hard-nosed thinking and coherent planning.
I look forward to hearing your comments. I think it is important
that we be able to talk frankly about the challenges that we face
in the SASO arena. Send E-mail to me at smithj@huachuca-emh98.
ALWAYS OUT FRONT!
Prior to assuming his current position in October
1995, Brigadier General Smith was the Director, Intelligence
Directorate (J2), SOUTHCOM, in Panama. He has commanded the 207th
MI Brigade, VII Corps in Germany and later in Saudi Arabia during
Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM; the 104th MI Battalion,
4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado; the 1st MI Company,
1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas; and the Pittsburgh Field
Office, Region III, 109th MI Group.