Operational Intelligence in Irregular Warfare: Organized to the Task or to the Technology
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Unmanned aerial vehicles and other emerging technologies are changing the face of the modern battlefield, especially in the irregular warfare IW environment. However, while these tools have allowed tactical forces to identify, track, and kill high-value targets in Iraq and Afghanistan, the missions have also become the focus of operational intelligence functional support in many instances. In short, operational intelligence support to IW has been organized to the technology rather than to the task. This raises three particular issues. First, the missions are primarily kinetic, thus best suited for tactical forces. Second, the missions are not the most appropriate for IW from the operational perspective. Third, and related to the first two, intelligence resources are limited, and the U.S. cant afford to waste them on the wrong mission. IW presents a complex and varied landscape, in which forces face an enemy who is very competent, but who uses tactics that are unfamiliar and run counter to current training. The U.S. military cant fall back on its conventional warfare methods, but must learn new techniques. Emerging technologies can help, but intelligence professionals at the operational level must not allow themselves to be distracted by the tools and lose sight of the overall mission.
- Military Intelligence
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics