I’m not sure why so many people are against, or trying to find fault, with DIA’s move to hire and deploy a metric-***-ton of new HUMINT collectors. Lord knows I can pick plenty of nits with my old homies but I think this is one of the smarter moves they’ve made in recent memory.
For everyone who thinks this is some kind of power grab: collecting military intelligence via HUMINT has been part of DIA’s mission since the early 90s (the Defense HUMINT Services, or “little DHS” since Homeland Security was formed). Its is only recent events that has driven the other agency that does HUMINT – the CIA – to get more and more involved in military issues (nothing enables mission creep like a war) and DIA forced to focus on two discrete battlefields and leave coverage for the rest of the world a little thin (I have no current insight into the matter, I just know based on experience that’s how things tend to go during an extended crisis).
What people SHOULD be writing about is how, post-Afghanistan and post-Iraq, DIA is pivo…er, reorienting and expanding in recognition of the fact that there IS a much larger world out there and its as dangerous as ever. The more we know about what’s going on, and what other country’s military capabilities and intentions are, the more likely we will be able to avoid a strategic surprise, and the better informed we will be as to what sort of weapons and platforms will be needed to successfully combat our adversaries (not a paid advertisement). I mean, doves and fiscal tight-wads, wouldn’t you like to know if there is no military justification for “Expensive Military Aircraft 6.0″ so that budgets could be cut or the funds reprogrammed towards something there is justification for?
In fact, I think there are a number of other things we should be looking at along these lines. For example:
- Why is the CIA flying weapons platforms and killing people? How is that not a military/military intelligence job?
- Why does the CIA have offices and personnel that do military intelligence work? Did I mention we have this place called DIA?
- Why are there agencies that have their own “signals” collection elements, when we have a massive agency in Maryland that does just that?
- Why are there agencies doing all-source intelligence analysis when that is a job for the CIA or DIA (depending on the issue)? Oh, yes, you call it “fusion” but we all know what that really means…
- Etc., etc., etc.
My point is this: If budgets are going to shrink, everyone cannot continue to try to do everything. This is a perfect time to get everyone back into their hedgehog (wheelhouse, bailiwick, you get the point). If there is ever a time when we can make what has been a “community” in name only an actual community, this is it. Why waste time and energy fighting the guy across town (risky) when you can make him your customer (empire building)? That’s what you want, isn’t it? Lots of customers, justification for a bigger budget, more people, etc.?