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A New Definition of Precision Strike
Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency
ISR Integration Conference
Crystal Gateway Marriott
15 November 2004
(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you Dr Goodman for your introduction and invitation to speak before the ISR Symposium today.
It is a pleasure to address you on the subject of Enabling Precision Strike.
Over the course of my career we have truly made revolutionary strides to achieve Precision Strike in the traditional targeting and kinetic attack world.
Our success in DESERT STORM, highlighted by many as demonstrating a revolution in military affairs, only hinted at our abilities.
Later success in Kosovo, Afghanistan and, most recently, in Iraq demonstrated our ability to further integrate our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection systems to support precision weapons employment.
Dramatically improved telecommunication systems combined with changes in doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures allowed us to blur distinctions between national, theater and tactical collection systems. Operators and intelligence professionals more effectively collaborated and we successfully orchestrated the capabilities of numerous analytic centers around the globe.
Today, it makes no difference whether targeting data is provided by a space based system, manned or unmanned airborne vehicle, or forward observer working with a US Army or Marine infantry company or small platoon of Afghan National Army troops.
We have come further in the past 13 years since DESERT STORM than we did from the Vietnam War to that first Gulf War.
Reviewing the agenda, I see you will receive numerous presentations on our efforts to further fine tune our present capabilities in operational fires. However, it is doubtful these efforts will allow us to make comparable strides to those since DESERT STORM.
Instead, what is needed is to take those principals and lessons learned and use them in broader range of military operations
A New Definition for Precision Strike
The threats from present day adversaries and the missions we are increasingly called on to perform have changed since the 1990’s.
While the current conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism still require us to place steel on targets, other capabilities need to be more fully addressed.
- Identifying and targeting small groups or individual terrorists or insurgents that are barely distinguishable from the civilian population that they purposefully surround themselves with.
- Identifying and targeting ever more discrete production capabilities for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Dual use technology makes this job even tougher – knowing when that technology is being used specifically for chemical or biological weapons production. Greater use of underground facilities is also complicating our intelligence collection and targeting as is the fact that production facilities often have the outward appearance of a warehouse in a light industrial complex.
- Understanding foreign cultures, distinguishing between neutral, belligerent and supportive ethnic groups, tribes, and clans and adopting policies and taking actions to move those groups from the belligerent to at least the neutral, if not the supportive category.
- Understanding foreign leaders’ intentions, interests, values and decision processes to dissuade, deter belligerent actions or strengthen a foreign nation’s support for US goals.
Additionally we need to provide this data or knowledge instantaneously up and down the chain of command. As we are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq, success depends on quickly making the right decision at the battalion and lower level. It also is important that the knowledge of the local situation flows upward to assist in assessing trends and opportunities. This is new behavior for many of us.
Meeting the coming challenges will require us to expand our definition of Precision Strike to one that encompasses highly detailed and timely data and knowledge for a broader range of military operations from conventional force on force engagement to counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism and stabilization efforts.
This should also include data and knowledge to support the broad range of Information Warfare needs prior to and during conflict. This includes IO needs, support to psyops and perception management. These too are precision strike support requirements.
To make this transition to an expanded definition of Precision Strike we need to embrace a number of concepts. These are “Persistent Surveillance,” “Ubiquitous Collaboration” and “True All-Source Analysis.” We also need to establish a collaborative environment to pass requirements, data and knowledge between and amongst operators, intelligence professionals, defense planners and policy makers - what the 9/11 Commission Report called a “Trusted Information Network”
The 9/11 Commission Report and numerous other recent studies on the Intelligence Community made it clear that our collection was poor, either through inadequate resources, having a risk averse mindset or poorly coordinating our collection assets.
Our present intelligence collection architecture - optimized to identify and track large conventional forces - is inadequate to warn against these new challenges from terrorists, provide sufficient information on insurgent groups, determine the status of discrete WMD production capabilities, learn the intentions of leaderships from rogue states or determine friend from foe when intermingled in a foreign country.
To meet these challenges we need to shift from the present “Reconnaissance” paradigm to one of “Persistent Surveillance.” By that I mean moving from intermittent intelligence collection against discrete targets to that of close-in and continuous collection against broader problem sets.
Persistent Surveillance will be achieved by:
- Greater reliance on Human Intelligence, Technical Intelligence and other long dwell sensors.
- Optimized asset allocation where the expanse of our collection capabilities can be synchronized to provide near continuous coverage – developing a system of systems for intelligence planning and collection.
- Developing dynamic operational capabilities where collection assets can be rapidly adjusted to collect information or can be automatically cued by other systems.
- Artificial distinctions between national, theater, tactical and commercial collection assets must be erased.
- Additionally, this collection must be available on demand - meaning it must be agile and flexible.
- Successfully making this shift will provide us more detailed information to meet threats and identify opportunities to improve our nation’s security.
Ubiquitous Collaboration is necessary to achieve a new definition of Precision Strike.
By Ubiquitous Collaboration, I mean greater collaboration between intelligence professionals and operators, defense planners and policy makers.
Intelligence analysts and collectors need to work closer together to both focus requirements to collect truly needed information and better overcome our adversaries’ counter-intelligence and deception efforts.
Intelligence professionals and their consumers also need to work closer together.
Intelligence professionals will gain by better understanding and anticipating their consumers’ needs. Operators, defense planners and policy makers will also benefit by better understanding the strengths and limitations of our information, diversity of opinion within the Intelligence Community and our overall capabilities.
Operators, defense planners and policy-makers must be part of the network and constantly engaged in the process. The days of throwing requirements over the transom must be put behind us. The need is for a constantly interactive process in which the operator is an active participant.
True All-Source Analysis
True All-Source Analysis must also be achieved to attain a new Precision Strike. Let me spell out what I mean by “True All-Source” since many seem to be confused by that term.
I mean “all” as defined in the standard Webster dictionary as “the total entity or extent of”, “the whole number, amount, or quantity of”,”the utmost possible of”, “every or any whatsoever.”
That means all applicable HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, MASINT and Open Source Intelligence. That means all Blue Force data. “All” actually means “all.”
It also means making data available at the earliest point of consumability, meaning that information must be available in less finished format if a consumer is capable of working with the data.
It includes redoubling our efforts to share information within the Intelligence Community.
Replacing the “need to know” with “need to share” mind set with accompanying penalties for not sharing.
Banishing the notion that the intelligence collector is the data owner who gets to decide who can access the information and under what circumstances.
It includes sharing information between the operators and the intelligence community.
Military units in the field are collecting valuable information that rarely migrates to intelligence channels - especially in the area for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. This information may be more valuable than any new intelligence collection system.
Successful efforts to include pilot debriefs and weapon system video for Battle Damage Assessment provide a model for integrating operational information into assessment processes.
I whole heartedly support the notion of “every soldier a sensor.” But that sensor’s information must be available to be aggregated as part of the assessment process.
Academia and industry have valuable information and expertise that need to be utilized and be available on demand.
They can assist in satisfying our needs for analytical breadth and depth to meet the broad array of questions we’re asked.
They can also serve as a source for scientific research to assist in development of new technological collection capabilities.
We need to revitalize our analytical corps.
We are hiring more analysts with language skills and life experiences outside the United States in an effort to improve our perspective and avoid cultural mirror imaging – a significant problem in the US Intelligence Community.
We have improved our training and analytic methods to foster competitive and alternative analysis.
We are developing and fielding new analytic tools capable of mining large volumes of data to identify our adversaries’ plans, intentions and capabilities to improve our warning abilities and determine potential adversary’s vulnerabilities.
We have refocused our analysis from traditional “military intelligence” to that of “defense intelligence.” We recognize the security challenges we face are grounded in cultural, demographic, economic and political issues. Focusing solely on military orders of battle, traditional targeting and military capabilities leaves operators poorly equipped to prevail over terrorists and insurgents.
Finally, we have reprioritized our analytic resources – dividing intelligence problems and Defense Intelligence production among Master, Measure and Monitor categories.
All national and worldwide issues are organized into one of the three categories that delineate the level of collection and analytic effort that will be devoted to them.
This prioritization will allow us to focus on the core issues, building depth and expertise in those areas, while maintaining situational awareness over the rest of the world.
Trusted Information Network
Finally, all of this data, knowledge and capability must be made available on a “Trusted Information Network” accessible to intelligence professionals, operators, war planners and policy makers with specific needs and differing security clearances.
It should be equipped with the right tools to assist consumers - anticipating their needs and retrieving the right information for their missions.
It should also provide for an environment for instant collaboration between the various communities.
Here’s an example:
- A “Trusted Information Network” employing modern information management techniques would recognize a battalion commander from the 4th Infantry Division when he logs on.
- It would know his intelligence needs and his approximate operating location based upon the types of questions he previously asked.
- It could be pre-programmed to sort and store data.
- Upon log-on, the network would save valuable time and communications bandwidth by presenting that data and accompanying analysis, rather than requiring him to initiate a search.
- It would know that he has a Secret clearance and would separate the sources from the content of the information so that he could have maximum access to data at the Secret classification level.
- If he wanted to know what is literally over the next hill, he would get what he needs regardless of what exotic collector may have been employed to get that data.
- Just as importantly, if that battalion commander who is not an intelligence collector by definition, but in possession of potentially relevant information – enemy documents, interrogation results, visual observation, and so on, that data could immediately be loaded on the network where it could be acted upon, related to other data, and subjected to scrutiny by analysts in numerous intelligence centers around the world.
- In an integrated endeavor, the operator can switch from customer to provider and back again in an instant, even on the battlefield.
- And this model would be effective regardless if the operation is conventional force on force, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, humanitarian relief or a pre-crisis psychological campaign.
Concluding, I applaud the success of Precision Strike in more traditional military missions involving kinetic kills. We need to continue to progress in meeting the targeting needs of ever smarter, more precise weapons.
There has been revolutionary change - integrating precision weapons with intelligence from national, theater and tactical level intelligence collection systems.
More work can and will be done to fine tune those capabilities.
However, I believe the era of greatest growth is over.
The threats this nation is facing and the missions we are called on to perform have changed drastically since the 1990’s.
We need to expand our definition of Precision Strike to more unconventional missions, providing accurate and detailed data and knowledge to our consumers to meet these new challenges and missions and prevail in a broader range of military operations with precision and assurance.
Central to our success will be adopting concepts and building capabilities that lead to “Persistent Surveillance,” “Ubiquitous Collaboration” and “All-Source Analysis,” relying on a “Trusted Information Network.”
Thank you. I look forward to your questions.
This page was last updated January 25, 2013.