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Center for a New American Security: Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan

Authors: Major General Michael T. Flynn, USA, Matt Pottinger, Former Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow, and Paul Batchelor, DIA
January 4, 2010

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This Center for a New American Security paper, discusses the signficance of the U.S. intelligence community to the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan and recommends a reorientation of focus from the "enemy" to the Afghan people.

This report critically examines the relevance of the U.S. intelligence community to the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. The authors - Major General Michael T. Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Afghanistan; his advisor Captain Matt Pottinger; and Paul Batchelor, Senior Advisor for Civilian/Military Integrations at ISAF - argue that because the United States has focused the overwhelming majority of collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate in and the people they are trying to protect and persuade.

Quoting  General Stanley McChrystal, the authors write that "Our senior leaders - the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the President of the United States - are not getting the right information to make decisions with ... The media is driving the issues.  We need to build a process from the sensor all the way to the political decision makers."  

This report is the blueprint for that process.  It describes the problem, details the changes, and illuminates examples of units that are "getting it right."  It is aimed at commanders as well as intelligence professionals in Afghanistan, the United States and Europe.

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