Wolfowitz Favors Intelligence-Sharing, But Urges Caution
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2004 Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told a House panel Aug. 10 that he agrees with the 9/11 Commission that there should be more information sharing among U.S. intelligence-gathering agencies.
"The commission correctly emphasized that we need to do a better job of sharing" intelligence information, Wolfowitz testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
The commission has recommended the appointment of an intelligence chief to oversee U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts as a means of helping prevent another terrorist attack on the United States.
However, Wolfowitz cautioned, "we'd make a mistake --particularly in an age of information technology and networking -- if we think sharing information means pulling it all together in one central brain that then decides who gets to look at it."
Rather than having a one-source clearinghouse for information, Wolfowitz said the government should improve its networking systems, while "pushing information out horizontally," as is practiced in the private sector.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accompanied Wolfowitz to the House hearing, along with Army Gen. Bryan Brown, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command.
Regardless of any changes made in the intelligence realm, Pace underlined the need "to retain our capability to provide the warfighter the kind of intelligence that we've been able to provide them."
And any changes "should not be focused solely on the global war on terrorism," Pace pointed out, noting there are "other threats out there."
Speaking to the issue of terrorists seeking new sanctuaries since the liberation of the Afghan and Iraqi people, Wolfowitz remarked, "South America is an area of concern."
Wolfowitz then turned the question over to Pace, a former head of U.S. Southern Command.
Pace pointed to drug-trafficking and terrorist activity in the tri-border region where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet. And narco-terrorists in Colombia, he observed, increase "the wealth of the terrorist community in many, many ways."
Regarding efforts to improve the gathering of military intelligence, Brown noted that the special operations community is an enthusiastic proponent of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles that have been employed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
UAVs are being fielded "as fast as we can" to Special Forces and SEAL teams, Brown said. "It's very, very important that we keep all of the intel capability available to these folks on the battlefield," he said.
Fighting terrorism "is truly a global effort," Pace observed, that's "going to require all elements of our national power and other nations' national power" to defeat.
"And that's why the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and your deliberations on how we can better arrange ourselves to face this threat in the future are so important," Pace told the committee.