The Intelligence Community

Recommendations and Actions

INTEL07: Improve Support to Ground Troops During Combat Operations


Numerous "lessons learned" studies conducted after the Gulf War pointed to the need for a framework or process to provide necessary intelligence support to combat operations. The problem is that while there are numerous service- and agency-unique studies, there is no single comprehensive picture of operations/com-bat arms needs and expectations. The following partial list illustrates the fragmented nature of the approach to this problem to date:

--- Project Grandslam (National Security Agency)

--- Project Talon Sword (Air Force Space Command)

--- Project Fastball (Air Combat Command)

--- Project Radiant Oak (Navy)

--- 1991 Scientific Advisory Board Summer Study (Air Force)

--- Joint Air Defense Operations - Joint Engagement Zone or JADO-JEZ (Joint Chiefs)

--- Intelligence Requirements Survey (Defense Intelligence Agency)

--- AFIC Pilot Study (Air Force)

--- Capabilities Analysis Wartime Support Study (National Security Agency)

--- Intelligence for Targeting Plan (Department of Defense/Director of Central Intelligence)

The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board voiced similar concerns in a memorandum to the President in April 1992: "Inadequate dissemination of product to tactical users was one of the most serious shortcomings of the Gulf crisis. And while we are encouraged by efforts throughout the Intelligence Community to rectify this problem, their pace, scope, and ‘jointness' have not been altogether reassuring."

A reinvention lab should be created to produce recommendations for ensuring seamless, usable battlefield intelligence support to ground forces for combat applications. This lab would produce prioritized recommendations in the areas of policy, procedures, resource allocations, data, and products. When adopted by the intelligence and/or operations communities, these recommendations will result in increased effectiveness and efficiencies in battlefield intelligence support for combat applications. Some of the lab's recommendations will identify existing and future technologies that could be useful in meeting this objective.

A reinvention lab addressing the issue of improving the quality and flow of intelli-gence to ground forces in combat operations will benefit both the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community (IC). Some of the lab's recommendations will identify existing and future technologies that could be useful in meeting this objective; however, focus should be on increasing intelligence efficiencies within existing fiscal constraints.

For the purpose of this lab, an Operations Support Core Group should be formed comprising members of the operations/combat arms and intelligence communities, representing a cross-section of the parties affected. The Director, Central Intelligence, should appoint an individual from outside the Intelligence Community to lead the group; the Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, should act as Executive Secretary. The Operations Support Core Group should not exceed 60 members, and should include the following:

--- National Security Council;

--- Office of the Secretary of Defense, including the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence;

--- Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the Directors for Intelligence, Operations, and Command, Control, Communications and Computers;

--- Central Intelligence Agency, including the Central Imagery Office;

--- National Security Agency;

--- Operational and Intelligence representatives from each of the military services (both officer and enlisted);

--- Other Defense organizations, including the National Reconnaissance Office, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Defense Mapping Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency;

--- Other advisers from outside the IC with experience in combat operations and intelligence.

Existing lessons-learned studies and many related test programs and high-value demonstrations should serve as input to the lab, as should the lessons learned from Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, and Provide Promise (ongoing). The information from these efforts should be sufficient foundation for a diverse group of experts from the operational military and Intelligence Community to construct a comprehensive framework for optimizing intelligence support to ground forces in combat.

For the purposes of this study, the battlefield users of intelligence will be defined as those personnel who have immediate control over weapons platforms or whose safety may be jeopardized without real-time threat information concerning enemy intentions.

While there have been many recent success stories regarding improving intelligence to the warfighter, the lack of correlation in the process, the absence of integration of usable intelligence with information already resident on weapons platforms, and the failure to institutionalize the process have made these only isolated successes. Five criteria need to be met if adequate and appropriate intelligence support is to reach the battlefield:

1. Battlefield intelligence must be a usable product presented in a form the warfighter or "shooter" can use.

2. The process for making highly classified information available for an "event-triggered requirement" must flow smoothly from the highest levels in the IC through the theater command to the battlefield itself.

3. The intelligence product cycle must be shorter than the operation cycle.

4. There must be methodologies in place for not only establishing operational military requirements and needs but also developing an intelligence tasking process. These standing methodologies can then be refined in near real-time to meet combat-specific needs. In addition, mechanisms to give the IC feedback on how useful its information is must be put in place.

5. Interoperability of the different information handling systems receiving intelligence must be improved.

Of paramount importance in addressing these criteria is defining who the battlefield user of intelligence is in all forms (tank driver to fighter pilot). Intelligence needs differ throughout the chain of command. Intelligence needs also differ during the various stages of an engagement from strategic warning, tactical warning, initial contact with the enemy, and heavy engagement.

The reinvention lab should: (1) identify minimum essential battlefield user's intelligence requirements to support ground combat operations; (2) assess the IC's capability to meet those needs, and identify any shortfalls; (3) assess the ability of the communications and acquisition communities to meet the solutions for changes to policy, procedures, or technology to satisfy shortfalls. Fiscal implications should be provided whenever possible for each recommendation; and (5) prioritize the recommendations.


1. The Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence should establish a reinvention lab to address these issues.

2. The Secretary of Defense and the DCI should appoint a small group of neutral monitors to coach the process.

These monitors should work full-time for the duration of the lab, not to exceed 12 months. These monitors should adhere to the methodology outlined in the classified version of this report.

3. The reinvention lab will report its findings to the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Director of Central Intelligence in September 1994.

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