1999-2000 (Winter)

Fulfilling a Crucial Role: National Intelligence Support Teams

Capt. James M. Lose, USMC


In the early and mid-1990s, even as the US Department of Defense worked to reduce its Cold War-size budgets, it found its military forces becoming embroiled in numerous “low-intensity conflicts” around the world.  The global situation that President Bush characterized as the “New World Order” soon proved to be a world in disorder. New threats have emerged that pose new challenges for the Intelligence Community (IC). Accordingly, the IC has employed several recent innovations to meet these new tasks. One such innovation that has proven to be invaluable during recent US military operations is the National Intelligence Support Team (NIST). . . .

The unique unconventional nature of these new threats compels the commander to rely more heavily on his intelligence officer than he may deem necessary in more conventional combat operations. With this increased reliance on intelligence, the intelligence officers at the theater and tactical levels have looked to the national IC for support to fill the commander’s information shortfalls. Consequently, the IC has sought to provide support to the tactical commander with historically unprecedented vigor. One means of providing timely, tailored national intelligence support to deployed forces is through a NIST.