Stressing Intelligence in War on Terror
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 18, 2004 In a war on terrorism, intelligence is everything.
Knowing the enemy and taking the fight to the enemy is the best way to deal with terrorists, the commander of the Army's 1st Armored Division said during a news conference today in Baghdad.
Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey said his forces have shifted as the terrorist threats in Baghdad have changed. He also is working with Iraqi security forces to ensure their intelligence effort is up to the task of defending the Iraqi people when sovereignty shifts at the end of June, he added.
Dempsey said he is working to adapt his intelligence effort to encompass all the threats, noting that in addition to the internal threat from domestic terrorists, foreign jihadists increasingly are launching attacks inside Iraq.
"We have become far better, far more sophisticated and cast a far wider net in terms of intelligence gathering for this challenge that faces us," Dempsey said. "I think the biggest single difference is that we are standing up, helping to establish an indigenous Iraqi tactical intelligence capability so that at the point in the future when we do turn over responsibility entirely, the Iraqi security forces will each be able to tap into an intelligence network." This has the added benefit of providing intelligence to coalition forces, he said.
The largest problem facing the greater coalition is the unwillingness of Iraqis to admit they have a domestic terrorist problem, he said. "There is this idea out there that all (terrorist) problems are outside problems, and it's just not true," he said. "It's not true in this country; it's not true in Spain; it's not true in the United States."
Working with the fledgling Iraqi intelligence effort has been a major push for U.S. forces in Baghdad. Dempsey said the command has set up a collection, management and analysis directorate, where U.S. intelligence analysts work with Iraqi counterparts on good intelligence practices. "We've been at this now for about 90 days, and in the beginning, of course, there was reluctance to share intelligence," he said. "What I can report to you is that over time, those barriers to communication have been reduced. They're not gone," the general acknowledged.
The stations are linked together by computers. U.S. forces have taught Iraqi specialists how to do target folders, how to take raw intelligence and turn it into targetable information, Dempsey said. "We have actually gone out and acted on that intelligence and found it to be fairly reliable," he said. "We think we've got that organization moving in the right direction.