Intelligence: NATO Outlaws Save Lives


May 14, 2010: Although NATO is over half a century old, and has developed many common standards, member nations in Afghanistan are finding out that their national rules on sharing intelligence prevent them from exchanging data on many enemy activities. This is particularly troublesome for information on IEDs (roadside bombs), where the enemy is constantly changing weapons design and tactics.

The problem is that the NATO alliance was set up to fight a conventional war, and there are existing protocols for sharing high level information. But this was never extended down to tactical level data. Right now, the problem is the lawyers (who draw up the agreements) and the politicians (who have to approve them). Lower level commanders, who are hurt most by the current security regulations that prevent sharing of tactical information with "foreigners", have little clout with the lawyers and politicians back home. The mid-level commanders often break (or bend) the rules informally, to share life-saving data on what the enemy is doing on a tactical level. Everyone ignores this lawlessness, but careers could be ruined if some journalists decide to make headlines over the issue. For the moment, the only one benefitting from this situation is the enemy.




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