Intelligence Reforms Ensuring Preparedness for Current, Future Threats
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2006 Intelligence reforms under way, both within the Defense Department and at the national level, are critical to protecting the U.S. and other free nations in a security environment "that's full of surprises," DoD's top intelligence adviser told reporters yesterday.
"Surprise" has become "a guiding watchword" in how DoD members think, plan, prepare and operate, Stephen A. Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said during a media roundtable at the Pentagon.
This environment demands the best, most responsive intelligence operation possible that looks toward future threats while putting actionable intelligence into warfighters' hands today, he said.
Cambone said it's understandable why, even before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cited intelligence as his most pressing concern.
"And the reason is that it enables so many other elements of what the department does," Cambone said. "It has become integral to what gets done."
Reforms in the U.S. and defense intelligence establishments are helping ensure they support those missions in the fastest, most accurate and most responsive way possible, Cambone said.
These reforms are streamlining operations and improving the way intelligence is collected, processed and shared. They're also making intelligence more operational, eliminating stovepipes that impeded the speedy analysis and passing of intelligence to users.
Intelligence is no longer a matter of "weather, terrain and where the enemy was 24 hours ago," Cambone said. "It is, 'Here are the circumstances you face today. These are the choices you have in front of you, these are the potential effect(s) that you can have (and) here is your next opportunity.'"
DoD is continuing efforts to improve its intelligence operation to ensure a faster, more precise response, he said.
One major change, ordered by Rumsfeld, consolidated all intelligence efforts under a single chain of command, to the undersecretary for intelligence.
"The services pursue things slightly differently among themselves. Each of the commands went about its business very differently," Cambone said. "So gathering all that together under one office was the thought the secretary had to see if we couldn't rationalize what we were trying to do and do it more effectively."
Another new initiative taking shape throughout the department is the introduction of Joint Intelligence Operations Centers worldwide. Rumsfeld directed in April that these centers be stood up at DoD's Defense Intelligence Agency, at each unified combatant command and at U.S. Forces Korea.
These centers, to become fully operational by October 2007, will help "operationalize" intelligence by bringing all-source analysts in regular, direct contact with operators. Both entities will benefit, Cambone explained. Operators will get more rapid access to intelligence, and intelligence collectors and analysts will be better able to tap into information that operators gather.
DoD's reforms are part of a sweeping national intelligence reorganization that's helping position the U.S. for the threats it will face into the future, Cambone said. "The environment in which we may find ourselves operating is anything but predictable," he said.
The most significant development on the national intelligence front was the establishment of a director of national intelligence. John Negroponte was the first official named to the post, in which he oversees and coordinates efforts of the CIA and 14 other intelligence agencies, including those in DoD.
DoD and the director of national intelligence are cooperating closely in "a fairly tightly coupled working enterprise" to ensure their reform efforts are complementary.
"We know between us - the DNI's office and the Defense Department - that it is not a question of one or the other," Cambone said. "It is both succeeding and doing what each can do for the other to succeed."
The country needs a DNI, and Negroponte has an important job to do, Cambone said. "And it is our job here to make sure he succeeds."