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A Requirement for a National Intelligence Support Team in Direct Support of Special Operations Forces Task Groups in Multinational Operations

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Research paper

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The lack of intelligence cooperation among coalition forces causes severe problems for effective employment of Special Operations Forces SOF in multinational operations. Intelligence cooperation has proven difficult even within an alliance like NATO. Not only does the lack of cooperation increase the risk for units involved, it hampers effective mission accomplishment. A robust National Intelligence Support Team NIST in direct support of national SOF contributions that is authorized to share intelligence within the coalitions SOF structure provides a viable solution to this problem. NATO has changed its focus from defending Western Europe to facing irregular threats in out-of-area operations. The use of SOF in conflict areas like Kosovo and Afghanistan has proved to be a success. Based on these experiences, there is an increased demand on NATO member nations to develop additional SOF capabilities. After the NATO Riga Summit in 2006, the NATO SOF Transformation Initiative was launched and NATO established a U.S. led NATO SOF Coordination Centre NSCC in Mons, Belgium. The NSCC has identified a requirement for better interoperability within NATO SOF. However, the responsibility of the individual NATO nation to provide its SOF with intelligence enablers has not been emphasized. In the contemporary world of irregular threats and counterinsurgency campaigns, intelligence support must be tailored to the specific missions and capabilities of the Special Operations Task Group SOTG commander. It must be identified, organized, and trained together with the SOTG prior to deployment. The required intelligence support should take the form of a NIST that allows the deployed SOF unit access to national intelligence systems. Furthermore, the NIST must be authorized to share intelligence within the SOF structure. Thus, the NIST will be the connection between the SOTG, the national intelligence services, and other nations interagency representatives in theater.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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