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And More Progress

On April 3, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld issued a directive to establish a Joint Intelligence Operations Center at DoD’s Defense Intelligence Agency, at each unified combatant command and at U.S. Forces Korea, Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and warfighting support, told reporters at a news briefing.

“What we’re trying to do is move towards ‘operationalizing’ intelligence,” Boykin explained. This entails transforming military intelligence from being a staff function into “both a staff function, when appropriate, and an operational concept,” he said.


Modern battlefields like Afghanistan and Iraq have highlighted the need for decentralized intelligence activities that can rapidly assess information and then “react to the fleeting opportunities that we have to get a target that is presented to us,” [LTG] Burgess [DDNI for Customer Outcomes] said.

My issue with any such efforts is that they tend to sap limited resources (eventually CT largess will run out); not just cash but the human type too. New centers mean more space, more gear, and the demand for more people. It is hard to get the best to sign up for such gigs without strong incentives, so you get “those who can be spared,” and those you have on hand. Not that the latter case are any better or worse than anyone else, they do however tend to be temporary.

Another danger: fragmentation. More centers mean more networks, more cloisters, and more databases. Everything old is new again as everyone builds their own shoe box full of index cards and screw what is going on in DC. That is of course unless bandwidth is now growing on trees and barriers to access have gone down (listen, that’s the sound of me holding my breath).

On the other hand they had little choice: thinking that the current regime would allow for any meaningful change is folly. The only alternative, indeed the one that is repeated over and over again each time something sufficiently new and dramatic comes along, is to tack another Lego piece onto the structure.

Best wishes.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.