Support to Military Operations

One of the highest priorities for intelligence support to military operations is ensuring that military commanders receive timely information required to successfully execute their combat missions, while minimizing the loss of American lives. The Community provides the military with a wide array of support, ranging from an encyclopedia of basic information on military forces, logistics, climate and terrain, to precise targeting information and battle damage assessments (BDA). In support of long-term planning, the IC provides the US military with assessments based on all-source analyses on future force dispositions, capabilities, and intentions of foreign militaries. We also assess the capabilities of current and anticipated weapon systems of potential opponents. Such information is needed to prevent technological surprise and to ensure the technological superiority of US military equipment.

The Intelligence Community's Support to Military Operations is categorized into five components:  Indications and Warning; Force Protection; Force Modernization; Operational/Campaign Planning/Execution; and Training and Readiness.


Indications and Warning

US military forces depend on accurate and timely intelligence to prepare and respond to threats and potential crises. Such intelligence may involve reporting a threat to US or allied military forces, tracking hostile activities, or furnishing insight into an adversary's intentions. All the intelligence collection disciplines and all-source analysis contribute to indications and warning for US military forces.  For example:

  • Throughout the year, the DCI Warning Committee monitored and published biweekly and monthly lists of developments that could pose a serious threat or challenge to US interests as well as in-depth examination of these developments. 
  • JICPAC developed an indications and warning matrix for the Intelligence Community that provided analysts with greater clarity in assessing the China-Taiwan problem. 
  • The DIA/J2 Deputy Director for Crisis Management disseminated worldwide I&W intelligence via warning reports and WATCHCON change reports.
  • The Noble Eagle Intelligence Task Force was established to collect data that will satisfy current intelligence production for combating terrorism and supporting the war effort.

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Force Protection

CIA deployed a computer web-based, collaborative common virtual workspace that provided secure dissemination of both raw and finished intelligence, to military commands and selected US government agencies. This capability provided timely I&W of terrorists' actions against US forces.

  • DIA established the Joint Intelligence Task Force–Combating Terrorism (JITF-CT) to provide enhanced analysis and production to support worldwide efforts to counter terrorism. JITF-CT analysts produced daily assessments of possible terrorist threats to DoD personnel, facilities, and interests.
  • DIA's Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) provided deployed US ground force commanders with detailed analyses of foreign environmental hazards, health conditions, and infectious disease risks. NIMA provided US Air Force units with imagery-based assessments of environmental hazards at various worldwide deployment locations.
  • AFMIC provided medical intelligence that enabled US forces to avoid or limit the incidence of infectious diseases during overseas deployments. Moreover, extensive work on the medical facilities portion of the Modernized Integrated Data Base lowered the probability for unintended collateral damage to medical facilities from air and missile strikes in preparation for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. 
  • The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) provided tailored support to US Pacific Command for sensitive US-Chinese negotiations during the Navy EP-3 incident in April 2001. Also, JICPAC prepared threat assessments regarding the resumption of flights after the incident.
  • CIA analysts deployed overseas in support of US forces and US military commands in the Persian Gulf, providing timely support to force protection.

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Force Modernization

To maintain US technological superiority, the Intelligence Community provides military planners with detailed information and analyses of the capabilities and vulnerabilities of foreign state-of-the-art and developmental weapons systems. 

  • Each intelligence production center of the military services—the National Ground Intelligence Center, National Air Intelligence Center, and the Office of Naval Intelligence/National Maritime Intelligence Center—acquired foreign material for exploitation. Analysis of such material provided a basis for the development of effective countermeasures and tactics to protect US forces and their warfighting equipment. 
  • The Air Force's Air Intelligence Agency ensured that all combat aircrews and campaign planners of all services were kept apprised of the capabilities of adversaries by analyzing and evaluating the operational tactics of foreign air and ground-based air defense forces.
  • DIA's analysis of new explosives and propellants helped to mobilize DoD research and testing on high-energy materials and volume-controlled munitions. A series of Military Intelligence Digest articles and briefings to senior officials resulted in a review of the US energetic materials technology base. 

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Operational/Campaign Planning/Execution

The IC provides significant operational support to deployed military forces engaged in counterterrorism and other missions. Immediately following the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States, the Intelligence Community surged to support US and allied military operations against Usama Bin Ladin's al-Qa'ida terrorist group in Afghanistan and the Afghan Taliban regime that provided the al-Qa'ida sanctuary.

  • DIA convened the Military Intelligence Board (MIB), with participants from all nine Unified Commands, JCS/J2, the Service intelligence chiefs, CIA, National Security Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, US Coast Guard, OSD, and FBI, to organize support for US Central Command in preparation for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  All support issues were addressed rapidly by the MIB.
  • DIA's Joint Intelligence Task Force—Combating Terrorism provided extensive targeting intelligence support in preparation for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
  • DIA deployed a valuable counterterrorism web-centric collaborative tool. It has since been available worldwide around the clock to those with appropriate access and has been used by both warfighters and targeteers.   
  • DIA printed more than 75,000 copies of country handbooks on Afghanistan for forces preparing to deploy for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and disseminated geospatial operational support packages for tactical operations in Afghanistan. These packages help military planners track and monitor potential escape routes of al-Qa'ida leaders. Numerous products were disseminated to other government agencies and partners in preparation for the war on terrorism.
  • A NIMA Support Team provided on-the-scene support to the National Military Joint Intelligence Center (NMJIC), Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the immediate aftermath of the 11 September attack on the Pentagon.
  • The US Strategic Command's Joint Intelligence Center (STRATJIC) set up an around-the-clock intelligence task force last August and executed DoD's first application of the groundbreaking Crisis Intelligence Federation Concept of Operations. Because of procedures developed by the STRATJIC, the task force was able to transition immediately from its original purpose of supporting a military operation in Korea to preparing to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan.
  • CIA analysts provided senior policymakers with analysis on Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia. CIA helped senior policymakers gauge and maintain Allied political and military support for the war in Afghanistan. 

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Training and Readiness

In addition to indications and warning and support during crises and ongoing operations, military customers—to enhance their training and to ensure readiness—require a wealth of basic information on matters including transportation, communications, infrastructure, government and politics, military order-of-battle, doctrine and strategy, and geospatial information.

  • Noting the growing importance of commercial imagery, NIMA hosted a three-day Commercial Imagery Conference to familiarize users with purchasing and exploiting commercial imagery and to share applications. 

  • The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) expanded the Open Source Information System (OSIS) to more military commands and military users, providing them greater access to open source material.
  • NSA has increased its efforts toward full integration with deployed military forces, senior military planners, and military intelligence analysts at every level.  Integration requires direct participation in deliberate and crisis cryptologic planning to support operations, exercises and joint training. As a result of the Director of NSA's SIGINT transformation initiative, NSA is continuing to improve the readiness of the United States Cryptologic System and the military customers it serves.
  • DIA provided counterterrorism analysis training through the Mobile Counterterrorism Analysis Course for students at the Joint Analysis Center at Molesworth in the UK and at US Central Command. 
  • DIA's Defense Intelligence College established the Joint Intelligence Virtual University to ensure the continuation of a highly competent cadre of military and civilian intelligence professionals. This virtual university offers more than 100 intelligence courses available at the desktop to all intelligence personnel through the Sensitive Compartmented Information communications network. This self-paced, computer-based intelligence training has proven to be a cost-effective way of acquiring the skills needed for current and future challenges. 
  • In addition, DIA created new online intelligence course material for topics such as battle damage assessment (BDA) and began a comprehensive online learning catalog for all Intelligence Community elements. The Joint Forces Intelligence Command's mobile training teams were extended to the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center.  

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Posted: May 01, 2007 06:38 PM
Last Updated: Jan 03, 2012 12:53 PM