What Is The Purpose of Intelligence?

Marauder06

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Restarting this thread after the orginal one got off track.

A question was posed by one of our members- "what is the purpose of intelligence?" Is it to drive ops? To prevent surprise? To support the commander? Does the purpose of intel change or differ depending on the level (tactical, operational, strategic) at which the intelligence function resides? Does one of the major "-INTs" (HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, OSINT, etc.) matter more than another?

The challenge of this thead- take a position and support it. Use your own reasoning, your own experience, your own thoughts, doctrine, history, whatever you want to use. For purposes of this thread, there are no "wrong" answers.

You don't have to have an intelligence background to have an opinion. Keep your answers consise, rational, unclassified, and above all, professional.
 
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irnbndr

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The pourpose of intelligence:

Strategic: To provide policymakers and international consumers with products in order to enhance foriegn intelligence and shape international and domestic policies at home.

Operational: To provide supporting intelligence consistant with strategic policies within a specified area of operation.

Tactical intelligence: To provide battlefield commanders with timely, objective and accurate information about their enemies and battlespace in order to acheive operational objectives.

Objectives of intelligence as a whole:

1) Provide timely, accurate and relevant knowlege of the surrounding environment.

2) Assists in protecting friendly forces through counterintelligence.


Question: The senate Select Comittee on Intelligence (SSCI) often loses focus on how intelligence works. (Recent National Intelligence Estimates, for example) How does one go about deciding the true effectiveness of intelligence at all three levels? Easy if you are on of us. If the mission is a success, intelligence was effective right? But, what if you are on the SSCI and dealing with the subject at the policymaker level? How then do you judge the effectiveness of an art that is hypothetical in nature in the first place? How do you determine whether or not the intelligence produced is policy neutral or if, in fact, policy is driving operations rather than intelligence?
 

x SF med

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The purpose of Intelligence - to distill and analyze information into data useful to the strategic and/or tactical commands and units to keep our guys alive and make their guys dead, or disheartened. (that's the short answer, I could go on, but I think I like this Reader's Digest version).
 

Rabid Badger

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irnbndr;141132]Question: The Senate Select Comittee on Intelligence (SSCI) often loses focus on how intelligence works. (Recent National Intelligence Estimates, for example)

The SSCI reacts/doesn't react to all of the Info/Intel that is given to them.

What often happens is that info/intel from one 'pet project' favorable to a senior Senator is seen as more important than info/intel offered from a junior Senator, thus the Senior Senator's info/intel becomes more important and policy is then dictated from the more important [sic] data, even though the junior's was more up to date and correct.


How does one go about deciding the true effectiveness of intelligence at all three levels?

Easy if you are on of us. If the mission is a success, intelligence was effective right?

Sometimes not the case because we, as thinking on our feet SOF professionals, 'read' the intel and make our own assessments, arriving at and reacting on our own judgements. In other words, We fukn make those jackass Intel weenies look good, even though we had Shitty Intel.

But, what if you are on the SSCI and dealing with the subject at the policymaker level? How then do you judge the effectiveness of an art that is hypothetical in nature in the first place?

Refer to question and answer one. He who is in the Director seat makes the decisions, often based, by your own assessmnet, on a bad NIE.

How do you determine whether or not the intelligence produced is policy neutral or if, in fact, policy is driving operations rather than intelligence?

That would be individual based IMO. Researching and knowing those on your side is often as important as knowing your enemies....


:2c:
 
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irnbndr

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The SSCI reacts/doesn't react to all of the Info/Intel that is given to them.

What often happens is that info/intel from one 'pet project' favorable to a senior Senator is seen as more important than info/intel offered from a junior Senator, thus the Senior Senator's info/intel becomes more important and policy is then dictated from the more important [sic] data, even though the junior's was more up to date and correct.

Interesting thought. Could this be why NIE's are so subjective with certain agencies (Replace Senator with analyst) while others such as the INR and DOE are not? (in the case of the 2002 Iraq NIE) And what is to say that the most recent Iran NIE is not guilty of the same influences? Scary.

[/QUOTE]Sometimes not the case because we, as thinking on our feet SOF professionals, 'read' the intel and make our own assessments, arriving at and reacting on our own judgements. In other words, We fukn make those jackass Intel weenies look good, even though we had Shitty Intel.[/QUOTE]

:eek: That's crazy talk! Who says that?:eek: LMFAO

Good point... at the end of the- day, dusty, tired and dirty- we talk another game.

[/QUOTE]That would be individual based IMO. Researching and knowing those on your side is often as important as knowing your enemies....

Hmm... not sure I understand. Maybe the beer, but that usually makes me smarter!

:2c: [/QUOTE]

What is it then? If you are elected Senator and appointed Chairman of the SSCI, what gives you the warm and fuzzy that intel guys are doing thier job? Keep in mind Miltary mission other than war (MMOTW). Haiti in 1994-95 for example. No real engagement, but billions of dollars spent. \

I don't know the answer to this. There must be some quantifying factor.

Haven't quite figured out the multi quote thing yet, my message is in your quote.
 

Rabid Badger

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I'll only answer one of these and then I'm bed bound.

The 2002 NIE is still up in the air.

Just because we haven't found WMD's yet, doesn't mean they're not there.

After all, we just found 1,000,000 barrels of diesel (yes, 1 million) in an area that has supported thousands of troops for the last 5 years.

Mass graves are constantly found. Shit is buried over there that will be discovered decades/centuries from now.

He had 10 years to dig a hole and hide everything. Others haven't spilled the beans and are waiting for us to leave so they can dig it out again.......IMO

How is it that you kill 100-200 people and bury them in one grave and no-one knows/saw a thing?? The same way you bury the 'big stuff' and kill everyone who knows.

:2c:
 

275ANGER!

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IMO Intel is all hypothetical and until the end result of that Intel is known then the Intel cannot be quantified.

How does the “man” judge that the Intelligence community is doing its job? It is when the end result of the Intel has a “positive” or desired outcome. We pour millions of dollars into exploiting and “researching” with uncertainty that we will be afforded something useful.

We can also go back to policies before 9/11 that strained our battle field assets/ears to the ground/ HUMINT(rats) approach which makes Intelligence that much more effective/essential because it is there in real time... smacking you in the face... rather than relying on technology. The ball was dropped when policy makers and bureaucrat's had the attitude “The Cold War is over”.

I have always liked the HUMINT approach but even then that was like chasing ghost at times. All the Intelligence platforms are essential, the more the better.

Then again what do I know I was just a door kicker.
 

pardus

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Just because we haven't found WMD's yet, doesn't mean they're not there.

After all, we just found 1,000,000 barrels of diesel (yes, 1 million) in an area that has supported thousands of troops for the last 5 years.

We have found very limited amounts of WMDs over there if my foggy brain recollects properly.

Interesting about the diesel...
 

moobob

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As for which -INT is most important, I would say that MASINT is growing fast, and it's pretty amazing what you can find with it.

I think that HUMINT and SIGINT are at the forefront right now. SIGINT can lead to an instant target, but HUMINT, by it's nature, is a slow process. It's really like apples and oranges, but if I had to lose all and keep one, HUMINT would stay. It's the oldest form of them all.

Over reliance on IMINT has cost us dearly in other disciplines, but the new generation of UAVs has made it far more capable and relevant. It's far to easy to use deception measures against IMINT, unless it's live video.
 

car

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As for which -INT is most important, I would say that MASINT is growing fast, and it's pretty amazing what you can find with it.

I think that HUMINT and SIGINT are at the forefront right now. SIGINT can lead to an instant target, but HUMINT, by it's nature, is a slow process. It's really like apples and oranges, but if I had to lose all and keep one, HUMINT would stay. It's the oldest form of them all.

Over reliance on IMINT has cost us dearly in other disciplines, but the new generation of UAVs has made it far more capable and relevant. It's far to easy to use deception measures against IMINT, unless it's live video.

SIGINT has always been at the forefront - said the SIGINTer - }:-) but the fusion of all the INTs is where it's at. Getting rid of stove pipes and rice bowls (and any other catchword you can think of) is where we're going, and going successfully.
 

QC

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Any brand of INT finished product has to be accurate and timely. There also is the question of bias within the finished product itself, which must be acknowledged, or at least understood. Good INT product will have no sales pitch or bias.
 

FNG_tracker

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Restarting this thread after the orginal one got off track.

A question was posed by one of our members- "what is the purpose of intelligence?" Is it to drive ops? To prevent surprise? To support the commander? Does the purpose of intel change or differ depending on the level (tactical, operational, strategic) at which the intelligence function resides? Does one of the major "-INTs" (HUMINT, IMINT, SIGINT, OSINT, etc.) matter more than another?

The challenge of this thead- take a position and support it. Use your own reasoning, your own experience, your own thoughts, doctrine, history, whatever you want to use. For purposes of this thread, there are no "wrong" answers.

You don't have to have an intelligence background to have an opinion. Keep your answers consise, rational, unclassified, and above all, professional.

Wow..what a complicated question...as an Intel instructor for a few years now, i could give you the book defintion, but thats boring Army speak thats gaurenteed to put you to sleep in no time flat....

I will try an answer this in small groups..IMO Intel as a whole should provide the commander at what ever level the best picture of the battlefield/enemy he is facing. That being said it should drive operations to a degree, and if done correctly it should prevent suprise if you know the mindset, temperment and capabilites of the enemy you are facing. The more you know about him, the less you should be suprised about. The hardest part of intel is getting it to the warfighter in a timely fashion. Yesterdays news is just that...old news. I dont care how awesome of a powerpoint slide you put togther about the enemys strenth, and location yesterday, if he is still not there, whats the use. I have seen first hand how compartmentalized the intel community is, how much info hoarding is going on and how many assbags will delay the relase of intel so they can get credit for finding it in front of their boss...anyway..off my soap box now...

As fars as the most important INT out there, its really mission dependant. The best INT is the one you have at your disposal, and depending on what level you are at, you may not have access to all the INTS, or the time to check with all your collection platforms. I think all INTs are equally important, but they all need to put the best product they can because it may be the only thing the commander has to base his decision on.
 

car

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The hardest part of intel is getting it to the warfighter in a timely fashion.

Been saying that for many moons. As a young 98C, I "found" ways to get info to the tactical commander that he didn't "have access" to. If you can't get info to the commander, what's the point? The community finally came around.

Then I gave a "class" to 18 series BNCOC and ANCOC about "what a SOT-A can do for you." Same thing - The "Green Door" no longer exists. It's combat information. Get it to the commander who can use it!

I think we're there now. The "enterprise" allows people at all levels to access (almost) all information/intel. :2c:
 
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irnbndr

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As fars as the most important INT out there, its really mission dependant. The best INT is the one you have at your disposal, and depending on what level you are at, you may not have access to all the INTS, or the time to check with all your collection platforms. I think all INTs are equally important, but they all need to put the best product they can because it may be the only thing the commander has to base his decision on.

Great answer...
 

moobob

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I'm supposed to goto the 82nd, not that I'm underhandedly trying to go elsewhere up until the moment I physically sign in or anything...

irnbndr said:
The duece.... sign a ranger contract, quick!
Not to get off topic, but I did put in a packet and was denied at HRC because I quit SF selection, and the Ranger liaison doesn't want to waste money on me. Understandable (*cough* bad decision *cough*).

Now, I had ligament damage in my foot and was on crutches for a couple months immediately after I got back, but I was not med-dropped and am NTR. If I hadn't messed that up as a Specialist 4 months into my first duty station, I'm pretty sure I'd be on orders there right now. Lesson learned: Not only did I fail, but as far as assignment potential goes, I damaged my career. I'm otherwise being fast-tracked promotion-wise, for better or worse. I'm OK with going to the 82nd, but there are other places on Bragg I'd much rather go... Regardless, I am still planning to pursue SF when the right time and opportunity presents itself in the future.

My MOS is fairly new to the Rangers and there is a chronic NCO shortage in the field. The field is pretty small, and I don't know a SSG that knows what he's doing that would even consider going there (because of the typical type of dude in the job, and other opportunities out there). Plenty of Privates though, so they will eventually grow their own NCOs I guess.
 

varsity

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This thread has been hijacked but I have to put this out.

moobob said:
Not to get off topic, but I did put in a packet and was denied at HRC because I quit SF selection, and the Ranger liaison doesn't want to waste money on me. Understandable (*cough* bad decision *cough*).

Don't let that get you down. I know plenty of guys who quit either BUDS or selection early on in there careers and then went back with more maturity and passion and made great assets to their units. You can learn a lot in the 82nd and you WILL see combat. Pay attention, learn from senior NCO's and you will be fine. Remember, if you want something, the only thing holding you back is you.
 

JBS

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Intelligence, as I understand it is very simply:


What does a given organization (military, political, private) know about a particular subject?

The underlying data upon which all decisions are based is "intelligence".

Before a policymaker can can make a policy, before a military strategist can build his plans for attack or defense, there must be an absolute basic set of facts that will be considered. This basic set of facts is the intelligence.


The finer the resolution, and the more detailed the intelligence gets, the less "knowable" something may be. Eventually some details that cannot be directly confirmed must be extrapolated from other, secondary evidence. For example, we might not be able to find a nuclear bomb built by an enemy force, but a nuclear detonation on a designated facility inside the enemy's border, is a good indicator that our enemy has a nuclear capability- even without a sample bomb to study.


Simply put, intelligence is what we know- to whatever degree a subject is actually knowable.


When you are talking politics or socio-economic data, intelligence may come from open sources. For geo-spatial needs (maps, etc.) that might come from photographs of a given area. Intelligence is a huge, multifaceted subject, each aspect of which could probably fill a whole library.

How it is used depends on who you are, and how precise the intelligence estimate is, and what your agenda might be.
 
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irnbndr

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Intelligence, as I understand it is very simply:


What does a given organization (military, political, private) know about a particular subject?

The underlying data upon which all decisions are based is "intelligence".

Before a policymaker can can make a policy, before a military strategist can build his plans for attack or defense, there must be an absolute basic set of facts that will be considered. This basic set of facts is the intelligence.


The finer the resolution, and the more detailed the intelligence gets, the less "knowable" something may be. Eventually some details that cannot be directly confirmed must be extrapolated from other, secondary evidence. For example, we might not be able to find a nuclear bomb built by an enemy force, but a nuclear detonation on a designated facility inside the enemy's border, is a good indicator that our enemy has a nuclear capability- even without a sample bomb to study.


Simply put, intelligence is what we know- to whatever degree a subject is actually knowable.


When you are talking politics or socio-economic data, intelligence may come from open sources. For geo-spatial needs (maps, etc.) that might come from photographs of a given area. Intelligence is a huge, multifaceted subject, each aspect of which could probably fill a whole library.

How it is used depends on who you are, and how precise the intelligence estimate is, and what your agenda might be.

I disagree.
Some of what you say is true, yet, one of the types of intelligence is called estimative intelligence. This is exactly what it sounds like. Hypothetical information that is analyzed, classified and used as intelligence. (this is why we call them National Intelligence Estimates instead of national intelligence facts) The problem with this type of intel is that it is up to the analyst to describe to the policymaker- or whoever the consumer is- what is known or unknown and how the hypothesis was reached.
 
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