underrattelser – US style

Ralph Peters’ latest report on improvements in MI. Money graph:

Appropriate technologies can help us – but no database or collection
system is a substitute for seasoned human judgment. The key task in
intelligence is understanding the enemy. Machines do many things, but they still don’t register flesh-and-blood relationships, self-sacrifice or fanaticism.

Underrattelser: Improvement from below (how Swedes describe MI) covered at John Robb’s site.


Goldwater-Nichols for suits

From Inside the Pentagon (subscription required):

Bush administration officials are preparing an executive order for the president’s signature that calls for sweeping changes in educational programs and career development for the federal workforce so professionals in each agency with a national security mission can learn how to better work across organizational lines when tackling 21st-century threats, according to sources and documents.

The gist is they’re trying to create of a uniform set of standards that will allow for the migration/rotation of  practitioners across the various national security-related agencies.

The original seed for this effort was to be the NDU, but apparently that idea has been (wisely) scratched in order to create a “consortium” of government institutions from which aspiring national security advisors and undersecretaries can gain the requisite knowledge. A smarter move: develop and promulgate a core curriculum and take the NSA Center of Academic Excellence approach. You’re never going to have enough slots at any single institution to fill the demand (it is cut-throat enough already trying to get a civilian slot to a service school), so spread the effort out as widely as you can.  Besides, who would you prefer: someone educated at MIT or someone subjected to the military education system?

Even if supply and demand issues are sorted out, the planners and implementers of this effort need to take a long hard look at similar efforts and what makes them fail. I’m speaking of the Intelligence Community Officer Program, which has gone through a couple of iterations and still isn’t what is could/should be.

Signing up for the program is easy; getting into the requisite classes and then convincing your respective hierarchy to cut you loose for the necessary rotation assignment is another thing entirely. Even if everything works out like a charm, there is precious little chance that your home agency will put your newfound skills and experience to good use (which is why so many participants opt to stay with their adopted agency).

All in all a good idea, but there are lot of potholes on the road they’re about to travel down.

Iran EBO

The Pentagon has plans for everything, including invading Canada, still, this is another data point to consider when setting your doomsday clock:

US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear
sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the
BBC has learned.

It is understood that any
such attack – if ordered – would target Iranian air bases, naval bases,
missile facilities and command-and-control centres.

Generally speaking the latter targets are the most important from an Effects Based Operations approach. I’m not an expert on the Iranian military. Absent orders from above are the Iranians trained to act on their own initiative? Not that we are likely to offer up many targets but . . . I guess if you believe that the Quds are operating in Iraq independent of the Mullahs, you’ll believe anything.

For those of you playing the indications and warning game at home:

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an
attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a
nuclear weapon – which it denies.


Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US
forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it
were traced directly back to Tehran.

If you don’t believe Iran is going to go for the extended-dance IAEA remix Iraq did, nor that the US will play reindeer games with the UN, then the latter trigger is the one most likely to be pulled. How many casualties does “high” mean? Double digits at a single blow at least.

For my money I’d rather pursue the Global Guerrilla EBO approach to collapsing Iran.