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Thread: Defense Clandestine Service - Pentagon creates (another) new espionage unit

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Defense Clandestine Service - Pentagon creates (another) new espionage unit

    Pentagon creates new espionage unit, by Greg Miller. The Washington Post, April 23 2012.
    The Pentagon is planning to ramp up its spying operations against high-priority targets such as Iran under an intelligence reorganization approved last week by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, a senior defense official said Monday.

    The newly created Defense Clandestine Service would work closely with the CIA to expand espionage operations overseas at a time when the missions of the agency and the military increasingly converge.

    The defense official said the plan was developed in response to a classified study completed last year by the director of national intelligence that concluded that the military’s espionage efforts needed to be more focused on major targets outside war zones.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Meanwhile....

    Proposal submitted to Congress: DOD Seeks Authority To Use Commercial Cover For Military Ops Abroad. InsideDefense.com, April 18, 2012.
    The Defense Department is seeking new authority from Congress that would let DOD personnel work undercover in industry to conduct clandestine military operations abroad against terrorists and their sponsors.

    The Pentagon's request, submitted to lawmakers last week in a package of legislative proposals, is designed to significantly broaden DOD's existing authority -- first enacted in 1992 -- to use commercial cover in support of intelligence-collection activities.

    In recent years, the conflict with al Qaeda and its affiliates, as well as "other developments, have required the regular conduct of small-scale clandestine military operations to prepare the battlefield for military operations against terrorists and their sponsors," DOD writes in the proposal. U.S. clandestine operations differ from covert operations by focusing on concealment of the mission rather than on concealment of American sponsorship. Special operations activities may be both clandestine and covert.
    “[S]omething in his tone now reminded her of his explanations of asymmetric warfare, a topic in which he had a keen and abiding interest. She remembered him telling her how terrorism was almost exclusively about branding, but only slightly less so about the psychology of lotteries…” - Zero History, William Gibson

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Meantime has anything be done to address the often reported lack of language skills? Important across the intelligence domain.

    On the 'commercial cover' as much as the USA is admired for it's openness is this really helpful? Given the known difficulties for US commerce to operate legitimately as a business in many parts of the world, is it really wise to openly declare the use of 'cover'?

    Bizarre.
    davidbfpo

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    Default Major transformation of the DIA coming...

    DIA is projecting to have around 1,600 collectors worldwide:
    The Pentagon will send hundreds of additional spies overseas as part of an ambitious plan to assemble an espionage network that rivals the CIA in size, U.S. officials said.

    The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.

    Big change, according to Lt.Gen Flynn:
    “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA,” the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, said at a recent conference, during which he outlined the changes but did not describe them in detail. “This is a major adjustment for national security.”

    Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. At the same time, the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...58f_story.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-04-2012 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Fix quotes, PM to author

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Oh, no you don't DIA!

    From a FP article:
    DOD's spy grab and congressional smackdown. Late last year, word leaked to the Washington Post that the Pentagon was planning a huge expansion of the Defense Intelligence Agency's clandestine service. But Congress stopped the madness and quickly put the kibosh on this turf grab, noting that the Defense Intelligence Agency was notoriously bad at training and managing the spies it already had -- so bad in fact, that two former defense secretaries had recommended transferring recruitment and management of DOD's spooks to the CIA. Stay tuned. The Pentagon is designed to take and deny territory. Beltway bureaucratic turf is no exception.
    Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...gence?page=0,1
    davidbfpo

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    Actually the jury is still out on this one. Amy is qualified to comment on this, but I'm surprised at her superficial assessment on the topic.

    so bad in fact, that two former defense secretaries had recommended transferring recruitment and management of DOD's spooks to the CIA. Stay tuned. The Pentagon is designed to take and deny territory.
    The CIA has a long track record of clownish operations and incompetence interspersed with moments of super natural performance (the exception, not the rule). To state that DOD is more incompetent, if true, implies DOD intelligence is in deep trouble. However, the part of the sentence I bolded is where I take issue. DOD's role is broader than taking and denying territory, but even for that limited role DOD is responsible for collecting its own tactical and operational level intelligence to support that mission. That isn't the CIA's focus.

    If the history books are accurate the KGB ran circles around the CIA, yet we still won the Cold War indicating that intelligence operations were not decisive. Not down playing the critical role intelligence "should" play, like preventing the attack that happened on 9/11, simply pointing out that we prevailed despite multiple intelligence failures over the years. Doesn't mean that will always be the case, especially if a terrorist manages to acquire a WMD. We need to get the problems fixed, but that doesn't mean fighting turf wars.

    https://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2012_cr/sasc-dcs.html

    The committee notes that President Bush authorized 50
    percent growth in the CIA's case officer workforce, which
    followed significant growth under President Clinton. Since 9/
    11, DOD's case officer ranks have grown substantially as well.
    The committee is concerned that, despite this expansion and the
    winding down of two overseas conflicts that required large
    HUMINT resources, DOD believes that its needs are not being
    met.
    The committee concludes that DOD needs to demonstrate that
    it can improve the management of clandestine HUMINT before
    undertaking any further expansion. Furthermore, if DOD is able
    to utilize existing resources much more effectively, the case
    could be made that investment in this area could decline,
    rather than remain steady or grow, to assist the Department in
    managing its fiscal and personnel challenges.
    Bad management must be addressed, but my concern with this bean counter logic is they're missing the lesson learned over the years is always paid a serious price when we underresourced our intelligence capacity over the years, then react by surging money into it to fix it. When you rapidly expand you are obviously going to lose a degree of professionalism. Also while we may have needed to expand to our capacity to support the war efforts, in a more perfect world having adequate intelligence capability would better enable us to prevent future wars.

    Amy wrote: Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community

    http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Spies-Int.../dp/0817912843

    In Eyes on Spies, Amy Zegart argues that many of Congress's biggest oversight problems lie with Congress itself. Although acknowledging that intelligence policy making has undoubtedly become more partisan and rancorous in recent years, and that individual personalities matter, she shows that the root causes of dysfunctional intelligence oversight cross party lines, presidential administrations, individual congressional leaders, and eras. The author first attempts to define what good oversight looks like—and concludes that, however one defines good oversight, Congress has not been doing it in intelligence for a very long time.
    This could explain the comments in the link I provided above. I suspect her book is interesting (anyone read it yet?), but also depressing for those of us who have to live in this world of dysfunction.

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    If the history books are accurate the KGB ran circles around the CIA, yet we still won the Cold War indicating that intelligence operations were not decisive. Not down playing the critical role intelligence "should" play, like preventing the attack that happened on 9/11, simply pointing out that we prevailed despite multiple intelligence failures over the years. Doesn't mean that will always be the case, especially if a terrorist manages to acquire a WMD. We need to get the problems fixed, but that doesn't mean fighting turf wars.

    . . .

    Bad management must be addressed, but my concern with this bean counter logic is they're missing the lesson learned over the years is always paid a serious price when we underresourced our intelligence capacity over the years, then react by surging money into it to fix it. When you rapidly expand you are obviously going to lose a degree of professionalism. Also while we may have needed to expand to our capacity to support the war efforts, in a more perfect world having adequate intelligence capability would better enable us to prevent future wars.
    Good and bad in the quoted material above.
    The good is that Bill points out the problems with trying to "flex" a clandestine human intelligence collection service. Similar issues have been discussed by SWC memebers with regard to keeping a large standing military or trying to grow an armed force quickly to meet a significant threat. The difference is that intelligence operations usually require a long term presence with both collection and analysis efforts to establish a baseline of normalcy, both in terms of the target's activities and in terms of the collector. A case officer cannot simply appear suddenly in some distant location and start to recruit sources that provide quality information.
    I am reminded of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Marcus Brody, the bumbling museum director, is at a total loss trying to "blend in" after we have seen the following ironic exchange:
    Professor Henry Jones: Marcus? You didn't drag poor Marcus along did you? He's not up to the challenge.
    Walter Donovan: He sticks out like a sore thumb. We'll find him.
    Indiana Jones: The hell you will. He's got a two day head start on you, which is more than he needs. Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he'll blend in, disappear, you'll never see him again. With any luck, he's got the grail already.
    And analysis usually requires a significant amount of prior knowledge of what constitutes normalacy in order to be able to distinguish the kinds of changes that signal something imporfant is about to happen.

    Perhaps the reason that US intelligence agencies are not as good as one might wish when it comes to HUMINT operations is related to the impatience characteristic to Americans that has been identified often in other threads on this board

    The bad is what I bolded in the quotation. I suspect that more often than not what are called intelligence failings are leadership failings instead. Leaders are presented with intelligence and then either make a bad decision
    fail to make any decison at all. The reasons for the apparent leadership failure would make for some interesting research and analysis. BTW the switch from my initial strong claim about leadership failures to the weaker claim about apparent failures is because what, from an ant's eye view of the world or a biased representation of the facts, is considered a failure may well be a triumph when viewed from the perspective of an eagle.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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