Intelligence: March 3, 2004


The war on terror has caused a lot of organizational indigestion among the military services and numerous federal agencies (CIA, FBI, State Department, Department of Homeland Security). All of these outfits have been mobilized to join together and cooperate in the fight against terrorism. At first, this seemed like an impossible task, as these organizations had rarely worked with each other in the past, and certainly not worked closely over an extended period. Fortunately, there was already a successful model available; JIATF model (Joint Inter-Agency Task Force). 

The JIATFs were created in 1994 to coordinate intelligence collecting for the war against illegal drugs. The JIATF brought together intelligence personnel from the military and civilian organizations (CIA, DIA, DEA, Etc.) to coordinate their information for a common purpose. After several years of pushing, shoving and experimentation, the different agencies actually figured out how to cooperate on a regular basis. 

The success of the JIATFs has been used to establish similar organizations (or use the existing anti-drug JIATFs) for anti-terror operations. Over the last ten years, thousands of personnel from the involved organizations have served in a JIATF and learned what it takes to overcome the institutional obstacles to sharing intelligence information. There were a lot of problems, initially, with the many different organizations contributing people, and information, to the JIATFs. But over the years, solutions were worked out. The JIATF model provided a relatively painless way to get coordinated to go after the widely scattered terrorist organizations that are making war on the United States. 


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