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Intelligence What do we know, need to know, and how do we get there?

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Old 01-06-2010   #21
BayonetBrant
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To me the biggest thing that intel supports is making the right decisions at the right times for the right reasons to create the right effects.

Blow stuff up? We know the calculus on that.

Population-centric warfare, where the population is not an inherent component of the enemy, but the environment in which he operates? I'm not sure we know what the "right" effects are, and some of the answers that we're pretty sure are right we (honestly) don't have the stomach for.


Until we know what the right effects are, we can't begin to define what tools can be used to create those effects.

Until we know what tools we can use, we don't know what the contraints are within which we can operate.

Until we know what the constraints are, we don't know what information we do/don't need to make the right decisions on implementation of tools for the purposes of creating the effects we desire.


Someone *really* needs to start with the effects and work backwards from that.


The Map-HT tools are a set of population-focused tools that are designed to offer a robust picture of the "green COP" and not just an S2/S3 'maneuver-focused' SITREP. There's a lot more that can be handled in that toolkit and it colors shades of gray for the commander quite nicely. More to the point - it forces the collectors/assessors to spend time digging for real information to support the non-kinetic analysts rather than just rolling into town and counting AK47s on a drive-by basis. It gets the non-kinetic questions out of the S2's hands and into the S9 where they belong.

All that said, until you can answer the questions about effects, it's just collecting data to collect data, so that criticism is spot-on.
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Old 01-06-2010   #22
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Eloquent answer beyond: It's complicated.

Effects on the land and people---I think that starts with the ways to define and differentiate the land and people---then to start thinking about how to model effects on them.

I think one of the gaps, which the military only has to do as the force of last result, is to now look at what is beyond the conflict issues.

We saw today in the kids killed and injured what many people have talked about as a challenge to typical COIN practices. Troops bring conflict. How does that get factored into obvious effects?

Also, sometimes troops bring population displacement.

Talk on another thread about safe zones and refugee areas. Do those get factored in before conflict? Are they a critical component of winning hearts and minds while not losing population? Is there a process? (Warn. Resettle. Clear. Rebuild. Repopulate. Hold.)

I keep watching the metric of 6.5 million in schools and growing. What are they going to do when they graduate? Better educated opponents, or a central part of the solution? (Tick. Tick. Tick.)

There was a poultry processing plant in Tikrit, and every new deployment would bring folks who spent US dollars trying to restart it (for the supposed thousands of jobs), but it wasn't going to work until you restarted agriculture. I sure as hell hope that these kids can be uptrained to be the Johnny Appleseeds instead of, every year, another deployment of US ag teams.

Be nice to understand the framework and processes of sequenced job evolution before what the UN calls the Ticking Time Bomb (one million per year graduating form school).

Those big factors are, I believe, the more critical gap that is separating us from a clear picture. Lots of bits around to assemble, but bits don't make strategy.

Etc...
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Old 01-06-2010   #23
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Default Cims

Cross-posted from the Sanctuary Thread:

Beetle:

Major Madera does a great job in providing an overview of CIMS -Civilian Information Managament Systems as:

demographics, economics, social constructs, political processes, political leaders, civil-military relationships, infrastructure notes, non-state actors in the area of operations, civil defense, public safety and public health capabilities, the environment.31 In short, CIMS capture the sort of information that paints a clear picture of the ecology of insurgency.

If he were updating this 2006 paper, I would suggest that he add: cadestral/property ownership (What MG Flynn calls out), and the basic topo, soil type and hydro data sets for cursory reconstruction/manuever stuff.

In Iraq, we used roads and bridges (with identification of the agency responsible for the component-state, provincial, local), ag components (the whole value chain for each applicable sector), reconstruction assets (asphalt & cement plants), major industrial/economic components, and important government activities (schools, clinics)/repair facilities.

Other special purpose maps "might" have included appointed/elected official's homes (for a variety of reasons).

Key thing in Iraq and Afghanistan, where UN demographics were used, was to set up shape files for each census boundary, even if political boundaries may have changed since. Important to, is to integrate real time, refugee, and pop displacements best estimates whenever you can suck them in.

As much as you can get whenever you can get it.

I'll cross post this on the Fixin's thread.

Steve

Citation from SurferBeetle:

"From a SAM's paper entitled Civil Information Management in Support of Counterinsurgency Operations: A Case for the Use of Geospatial Information Systems in Colombia by Major José M. Madera, United States Army Reserve"
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Old 01-06-2010   #24
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Does anyone have an opinion about the appropriateness of CNAS/Foreign Policy magazine as a place for an active duty two-star to publish his article?
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Old 01-06-2010   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
Does anyone have an opinion about the appropriateness of CNAS/Foreign Policy magazine as a place for an active duty two-star to publish his article?
I don't have a problem with publishing an article, but this wasn't just an article - it was also an order which, to me, is extraordinary.
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Old 01-06-2010   #26
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In a strange quirk of fate, somebody on Tom Ricks blog pointed out that MG Flynn's positions on intel were directly parallel to those made by the White House re: CIA.

So, in September Gen. McCrystal is criticized in the press for appearing to oppose the White House (although that is no longer obvious).

Now, perhaps by accident/incident, the two elements are in lock-step, and at the same time.

Isn't that news?

No chance that it is anything other than compatible, and for all we know, synchronized. If modern war, and especially this one, is a public policy matter, the two are earnestly chasing the same rabbit down the same hole.

Wired made the interesting comment that laid off journalists ought to be applying for the Stability Ops positions, since: (1.) they are trained as journalists to scurry around and get intel from many obstinant sources; and (2.) most everybody is relying on journalism, vs. intel sources, anyway.

Toynbee's big point. If a political structure fails to adapt to challenges, it will be bypassed. Darwinian....

Oh, Brave New World!

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Old 01-07-2010   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
Does anyone have an opinion about the appropriateness of CNAS/Foreign Policy magazine as a place for an active duty two-star to publish his article?
I think it has the effect of making pseudo-spooks realize that their little world isn't above scrutiny.
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Old 01-07-2010   #28
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One of the people leaving a comment to Tom Ricks' blog said CNAS is a centrist-Democratic think tank and that putting the article there was like a DoD information operation aimed at gaining support from the Democrats. When I first heard the "Hearts and Minds" expression during the Vietnam War around 1965 it seemed like the addition of an LBJ Great Society program to warmaking.

Last edited by Pete; 01-07-2010 at 12:43 AM.
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Old 01-07-2010   #29
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Inteltrooper:

The risk is that a spook, or quasi-spook, becomes to vaporous.

Just can't seem to touch the ground.

Steve
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Old 01-07-2010   #30
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There are some great quotations in the article. After describing how intelligence information usually flows from top to bottom during conventional conflicts, the authors state:

Quote:
In a counterinsurgency, the flow is (or should be) reversed. The soldier or development worker is usually the person best informed about the environment and the enemy. Moving up through levels of hierarchy is normally a journey into greater degrees of cluelessness.
On PowerPoint briefings:

Quote:
Microsoft Word, rather than PowerPoint, should be the tool of choice for intelligence professionals in a counterinsurgency.
Does this mean that the "PowerPoint Ranger" tab will soon be a thing of the past?
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Old 01-07-2010   #31
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Pete:

Bottom to top sounds right to me.

I think the best recommendation for Powerpoint is below.

Somebody on SWC considered, in 2005, CERP funding to fit AQI out with Powerpoint.

If only they had done that AQI would have been lost in briefings forever, and miss the whole point of everything.

Maybe, as a last ditch, we could rig-up the Taliban. I know it takes a few years before effective PP paralysis sets in, but might be worth the effort with, say, a target date of 2013.

Strategic patience,

Steve
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Old 01-07-2010   #32
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From the essay "Dumb-dumb Bullets" in the July 2009 issue of Armed Forces Journal. I wouldn't have known about it had I not read about it in an endnote to the Flynn article.

Quote:
Make no mistake, PowerPoint is not a neutral tool — it is actively hostile to thoughtful decision-making. It has fundamentally changed our culture by altering the expectations of who makes decisions, what decisions they make and how they make them. While this may seem to be a sweeping generalization, I think a brief examination of the impact of PowerPoint will support this statement.
Click on the link below to read the entire article.

http://www.afji.com/2009/07/4061641
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Old 01-07-2010   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
On PowerPoint briefings:
Quote:
Microsoft Word, rather than PowerPoint, should be the tool of choice for intelligence professionals in a counterinsurgency.
Does this mean that the "PowerPoint Ranger" tab will soon be a thing of the past?
Probably not. After all, how many of the briefings out there are time-wasters generated by someone other than the intel guys?

I can already see what'll happen - the intel guy will write a beautiful 4-page narrative on the local situation, and because it'll take more than his allotted 5 minutes in the evening CUB, some assistant to the assistant deputy night ops officer will bulletize the whole thing into 2 slides to "help him out" and everyone will collectively miss the point.
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Old 01-07-2010   #34
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Hmmm. A call for a shift from a threat-centric approach to a populace-centric approach; with intel being the ones who need to change the most.

I have read this somewhere before...

(though I do find amusing all the intel guys who have been pumping threat threat threat up their commander's backside for years now all crying how they were victims, and only giving the boss what he wanted.... Bull. If I had a dollar for every time I've asked the intel guys to stop dronning on about HVIs and to give us some info on the environment and the populace; and gave back 90 cents for everytime those same intel guys smugly replied "that's not our job, we just do threats," I'd still be rich. Sure there are plenty of commanders who only want to know about the bad guys, but that doesn't relieve one of the duty to develop the critical intel he doesn't ask for.)
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Old 01-07-2010   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
Inteltrooper:

The risk is that a spook, or quasi-spook, becomes to vaporous.

Just can't seem to touch the ground.

Steve
What about semi-spooks?
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Old 01-07-2010   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
(though I do find amusing all the intel guys who have been pumping threat threat threat up their commander's backside for years now all crying how they were victims, and only giving the boss what he wanted.... Bull. If I had a dollar for every time I've asked the intel guys to stop dronning on about HVIs and to give us some info on the environment and the populace; and gave back 90 cents for everytime those same intel guys smugly replied "that's not our job, we just do threats," I'd still be rich. Sure there are plenty of commanders who only want to know about the bad guys, but that doesn't relieve one of the duty to develop the critical intel he doesn't ask for.)
The intel community is certainly not blameless, but some of us lack the standing and resources to effectively challenge the threat-centric system that has been in place since the beginning, in spite of our best efforts. I've recommended population-centric PIRs to battalion and brigade S-2s, only to get blown off.
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Old 01-07-2010   #37
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Bob:

Right. Counter Terrorism is about threat assessments. No doubt, there is an enemy, real or imagined, under every rock and behind every tree.

COIN, to the extent it involves understanding, control and or changing the land, its people and activities, requires understand them---and it gets pretty broad (and ill-defined).

Appropriate intelligence for COIN is, necessarily, about the land and people, and not the enemy.

The kinds of basic CIMS data appropriate for assessing the land and people is different, and needs to be created to get an appropriate operating picture.

We faced this problem in Iraq in 2008, and dealt with it on an ad hoc basis. Now, for Afghanistan, the request is a bit more formal.

But, underneath this immediate report for Afghanistan, and the ad hoc solutions for Iraq, is the fundamental question about the current intel foundation.

If it was the wrong tool for Iraq and Afghanistan, where else is it wrong.

My guess is that, like the miser who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, we have exhaustively evaluated the threat of everything, but missed substantial alternative analyses and opportunities.

Was the real point of MG Flynn's report to decsribe another ad hoc fix, or to advice the outside world of a systemic problem that needed to be resolved?

I believe it was the latter, but, as you suggest, it may not be very well accepted, or adopted.

Not every system is capable of learning. We know the military does (even if it stumbles around sometimes before it gets there). But...

Steve
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Old 01-07-2010   #38
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The threats aren't always those of direct bodily harm. The "threat" might be that the local populace doesn't have enough water.

The problem is that we've drawn a ring around the S2 and declared him the "Threat Guy" when much of the info that matters is not his - it's the S9's. Unfortunately, the S9 is just seen as a sidekick to the S2 who just dumps occasional useful nuggets to him.

The commanders need to shift who they're asking for info as much as the intel guys need to shift what they collect, and the S9 needs to seriously assert himself as the keeper of the info MG Flynn says is actually important.

And Bob - how often did the S9 already have the info that the commander was banging on the S2 about (or should have been banging on him about)?
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Old 01-07-2010   #39
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Right.

If the S9 didn't have it, he could easily get it.

As a dumb-ass DoS civilian reconstruction guy stumbling around a Division Command in Iraq in Jan 2008, it took a little while to figure out who, in a mil structure, had the best reconstruction info.

At COB Spiecher, I was introduced at a conference and made some comments about locating things needed for reconstruction planning.

As I walked out, two guys came up and explained that they did targeting: One said: I do kinetic targeting. The other said: I do non-kinetic targeting.

So, I went to visit them at the Div HQ.

Obviously, they had mapped and located a lot of stuff to either blow up or not. It was ahiuge amount of good stuff.

Then, as I walked through the building, the Div Eng folks opened their doors: roads, bridges, electrical systems. There wasn't a whole lot that they didn't have in their sphere, or terrain didn't have access too.

By the time I got to S9/CA, they were tracking agriculture, economics, etc..., etc...

No offense, but, for my purposes, there was only a little that S2 had that I needed. Everybody else was so helpful and contributing that, like them, I could run the risk of having so much information that a Tower of Babel could begin to grow.

Same at MND-C, etc...

What I learned was that 90% of anything I needed to know was there. It just hadn't been asked for for my purposes or format. Getting to 99% was just a moderate effort.

Funny thing is that when you went "upstairs" to the Palace (and even to Al Faw), they had a lot less quality info, and what MNDs knew was not trickling up, mostly because they seemed to be focused on sending out and collecting answers to specific requests rather than wandering around to see what was known.

All the info flow, but without adequate wisdom flow...

And it didn't take long to figure out why. Short-tour rotating collection folks there were fixatedon (and swamped with) creating monthly reports, building information, not knowledge. They got their accountabilities in.

How to fix it?

Steve
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Old 01-07-2010   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayonetBrant View Post
The problem is that we've drawn a ring around the S2 and declared him the "Threat Guy" when much of the info that matters is not his - it's the S9's. Unfortunately, the S9 is just seen as a sidekick to the S2 who just dumps occasional useful nuggets to him.

The commanders need to shift who they're asking for info as much as the intel guys need to shift what they collect, and the S9 needs to seriously assert himself as the keeper of the info MG Flynn says is actually important.

And Bob - how often did the S9 already have the info that the commander was banging on the S2 about (or should have been banging on him about)?

Lets agree and say that we would like our taxpayer funded commanders to have a holistic understanding of the AO which our Democracy has sent them to. Presumably this holistic understanding would, at minimum, include actionable knowledge about the security, economic, and governance systems. Presumably we are structured, with the resources we have (total number of mil & civ USA, USMC, USN, and USAF), to support this desire. Lets consider how we are currently allocating DoD capital to provide our commanders with the holistic knowledge that they need for the AO.

Resources or Capital can be defined as "assets available for use in the production of further assets" and classified as land, labor, capital goods, and in some cases knowledge.

How much DoD capital is allocated to analyzing and interacting with each of the security, economic, and governance systems of an AO? Is a 94%, 3%, 3% split a fair estimate?

How much capital is allocated to the Army Band? Is it larger or smaller than the amount of DoD capital allocated to to analyzing and interacting with economic, and governance systems of an AO?

What existing structures can provide knowledge concerning the economic, and governance systems of an AO? I would say that includes all US troops who work outside the wire, (infantry, SF, MTT's, the S9/CA-bubbas, the S2 bubba's, etc.) contractors who work outside the wire (HTT's etc.), reachback folks in the US, and most importantly the locals who live in the AO.

So, how are we allocating existing DoD capital to collect, process, and deliver this knowledge about about the security, economic, and governance systems to those whose job it is to complete the mission in the AO?

The larger picture which needs to be considered is how the USG as a whole is allocating it's capital (DoD, DoS, DoJ, USAID, etc.) in order to develop the knowledge to shape the security, economic, and governance systems of the AO of concern. Understanding what structures receive capital help us to understand what type of solutions are provided/desired....
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