28 June 2011

Intel In Afghanistan Catching Up to Reality?

So the intel guys are now doing the job of the civil affairs guys?

Military intelligence officers were scrambling a year ago to collect and analyze the social, economic and tribal ins and outs of each valley and hamlet in Afghanistan.
This information wasn't the kind of secret or covert material many military intelligence specialists were used to. But it was seen as crucial to helping commanders tell the good guys from the bad, learn what Afghans really needed from their government and undermine the Taliban-led insurgency by winning hearts and minds.
Since last fall, top intelligence leaders in Afghanistan have shifted their energies back to targeting the enemy the more traditional way, by mapping their networks, and analyzing the behavior of what made the Taliban tick. It's not that they stopped collecting the other information, but the focus shifted to helping commanders on the ground learn what they needed to know to help them kill the enemy directly — and drive that enemy to the negotiating table.

And maybe we could've been paying attention to this for years...

Ironically, the change in Washington policy comes just as the top official in charge of military intelligence in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Steve Fogarty, shifted his focus back to how the U.S. gathers that social, economic and tribal data, and how to make sure the troops are getting access to it to help both understand local communities and foster local governance. He may now face a closing window of opportunity to beef up those programs, as his programs face the looming drawdown of manpower and resources ordered by an administration fed up with the war's $10 billion-a-month price tag.

Yay - let's cut the budget and starve our assets of the resources to do their jobs! Oh wait, even in the years of mass budgets, Map-HT was starved for money.

By: Brant

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