Intelligence: July 21, 2003

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Some things never change. During the 1991 Gulf War, commanders complained that little useful intelligence reached them from all the large intelligence agencies. Same thing happened in 2003. This time, the ground battle moved so fast that even a few hours delay in getting division or brigade commanders data from satellites or recon aircraft made the information useless. Division and brigade commanders had to depend on their own intelligence collection resources. Not too long ago, this wouldnt have amounted to much. A few helicopters and aircraft, and what ever scouts they had on the ground. But this time around there were some UAVs that were used by division and brigade personnel. These were very useful. In addition, the JSTARS aircraft sent its information to terminals at division headquarters (although the Marines had to borrow one from the Army, along with troops to run it.) The JSTARS would not always look where the divisions wanted it to look, but whatever the JSTARS could see, the divisions could see in real time. Like the real time video of the UAVs, this was very useful, for otherwise, the troops were finding the enemy the old fashioned way, by bumping into him. The division, brigade, and even battalion, commanders now feel that they need their own intelligence collecting systems because its apparent that the organizations and bureaucracies controlling the more expensive intelligence collection resources will never be able to respond quickly enough to be useful to the troops. Since UAVs are cheap and reliable, theres no reason why even combat battalions cant be given their own. Unless the major intelligence agencies can prove that they can deliver, the combat units will continue to seek their own methods for finding out what's out there.

 


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