Intelligence: October 28, 2004

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One of the problems encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq was getting useful intelligence information from the troops, to the analysts, who could make sense of it, and place it in the larger scheme of things, and do it all fast enough to make a big difference. While the troops in Iraq run over 4,000 patrols a day, only two percent of these generate intelligence reports. The troops were seeing a lot of useful things, but there was no easy way to get the information back to intel units. Two solutions are being used. The army has set up two man battalion intelligence liaison teams to go and interview the troops who have returned from patrols and basically debrief them. There are not enough trained intelligence troops for this, so troops who seem on the ball and eager for intelligence liaison duty are selected and set to work. The teams get a list of items the intel people feel are worth looking for, and go ask questions. This way, the intel personnel get information back in an organized form, add it to what theyve already got and develop more information from all that. But the big problem is keeping more information coming in a format that the intel analysts can handle. To that end, a thousand specially modified PDAs are arriving in Iraq. The PDAs can use special intel questionnaires. These can be filled out while on patrol, or after return, and transmitted. Pictures and maps can be included with the report. This allows the intel crew to automate the process, and handle large quantities of quality information rapidly. In the past, intel was processed to in order to support operations that might not take place for days. But if you can process intel data to support new operations that can take place in hours, or even minutes, you have a major advantage. New ideas and new technology can make this work.

 


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