Printer Friendly

Challenges of multinational human intelligence operations in a combined-joint operating environment.

Great teams consist of individuals who have learned to trust each
other. Over time, they have discovered each other's strengths and
weaknesses, enabling them to play as a coordinated whole.
--Professor of Leadership and Management,
Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School

Interoperability--What Does That Mean for Human Intelligence?

Multinational interoperability poses significant challenges for human intelligence (HUMINT) in a combined-joint operating environment (OE). A reoccurring issue encountered in the conduct of multinational combined-joint counterintelligence and human intelligence (CJ2X) operations, is the inability (or reluctance) to produce and share an intelligence common operational picture (COP) derived from HUMINT. Units often produce intelligence information products within specific analytic sections such as the analysis and control element, counterintelligence and HUMINT automated reporting and collection system, and other adjacent intelligence elements that remain in a "stove-piped", unshared status. This situation leads to limited analytical intelligence COPs robbing commanders and senior intelligence officers of a complete operational picture. Even within U.S.-only intelligence sections, a pattern of limited intelligence synchronization occurs within staff sections. This is often based on specialized elements withholding useful products due to over classification or poorly developed foreign disclosure release procedures. Moreover, HUMINT collections are not often incorporated into operational synchronization planning matrices in collection management and dissemination cells. The threshold upon which sharing of intelligence should legitimately be limited, occurs when potential compromise of sources (such as HUMINT) and sensitive source methodologies may be revealed--either overtly or through derivative means.

Interoperability. Interoperability is a continuous challenge for U.S. and multinational intelligence operations in combined operating environments. Frequently, U.S. and NATO classification levels impose restrictions on information sharing, dissemination, and fusion of intelligence products. To compound the issue further, reporting sensitivities derived from HUMINT source management restrictions pose an operational risk across the intelligence warfighter formation. However, when collection managers misunderstand handling procedures, useful information is often "stove piped" in the production of U.S. intelligence information reports (IIR) at the "SECRET//NOFORN" level. Either the IIRs are over-classified, or report officers do not use "tear lines" in accordance with reporting manuals.

Multinational fusion. When U.S.-generated reports are used in conjunction with NATO intelligence reports, mechanisms must be used to fuse production, while still preventing unauthorized disclosures. Without multinational fusion, valuable information may not be released and used in combined-joint intelligence analysis. Operational units often fail to capture valuable information requirements that are releasable. When units do not capture such requirements through multilateral sharing, useful knowledge is not analyzed by multinational partners. NATO's Kosovo Forces (KFOR) are managing this vital intelligence production, sharing, and dissemination system. US forces in partnership with KFOR utilize this intelligence fusion process through streamlined tactics, techniques, and procedures.


Units must acknowledge foreign disclosure challenges. A procedure to formally evaluate categories of intelligence to identify releasable information and process them through the foreign disclosure release process needs to be established. U.S. units in particular, must practice streamlined use of "tear lines" in intelligence reporting to ensure widest dissemination to multinational partners. Too often, intelligence information that can be shared is not due to a lack of understanding of classification levels, caveats, and/or over-classification. Senior analysts, to include interagency intelligence community partners in a particular OE, do not consistently review classifications of products to process multinational releaseability. S2X synchronization faces limitations with "stove piping" and withholding of intelligence due to not knowing how to separate U.S.-only information from actual releasable portions in the single-source discipline. Although U.S. HUMINT has ample "no foreign national" restrictions in very specific areas, the preponderance of deliverables in tactical HUMINT can, and often must be shared, synchronized, and fused with CJ2X operational partners. KFOR is such a current example in which collections and sharing is standard.

Classification Guidelines

Clear concise guidance must be established for all HUMINT operations, tailored specifically to the given multinational mission. Foreign disclosure officers must be task-organized into the intelligence formation so that U.S.-only sensitive information is protected, while vital intelligence is shared and synchronized across the multinational array of forces. Overall classifications, classification for specific intelligence products, and formatted "tear lines" serve to streamline an effective end-state.

A Shared Understanding

What does multinational HUMINT interoperability mean? How does it work effectively? What does it actually look like? HUMINT collectors, classified systems, NATO networks, and both classification caveats and operational caveats that might restrict sharing and/or integration, pose critical problems to resolve. Achievable resolutions must be sought; particularly as multinational Army brigade operations--and specifically multinational HUMINT operations--are only increasing in the NATO footprint, and in other theaters such as U.S. Army Pacific. A shared purpose and a shared understanding are critical to successful intelligence operations--at all levels--strategic, operational, and tactical.

Need-to-Know. Units performing operations in support of a CJ2X OE, must identify key intelligence personnel organic to the formation to conduct reviews of HUMINT and all-source analysis products, intelligence information reports (IIR), any associated production, and push useful information to units/elements which have a need-to-know in a particular deployed mission. Foreign nation partners working in concert with U.S. elements facilitate combined mission success when the COP is prepared with fidelity and shared with important staff sections.

Standards. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) must be scrubbed for NATO unclassified releaseability, classified release levels, sensitive caveats, and address specifically foreign disclosure release procedures. The SOPs also must incorporate current allied joint published doctrine to streamline the common operating language, and be translated into key NATO approved target languages. SOPs must function with identified key personnel who perform designated tasks and purposes that facilitate streamlined intelligence. To streamline the intelligence information production--managers, staff officers in charge, and commanders must ensure dissemination, releaseability, and fusion systems are in place.

Write for Releaseability. HUMINT collection teams operating in a multinational environment, in support of any tactical echelon, should make the effort to write for releaseability. Just because an IIR results from HUMINT activity, does not mean that it is automatically classified "SECRET NOFORN." Moreover, HUMINT reports either an IIR or NATO formatted are not automatically classified secret by virtue of activity. Collectors should attempt at all times not to over-classify reports and products as this limits valuable distribution and synchronization with multinational partners. Shared understanding--in any intelligence formation--is the key to effective decision making.

Operational Precedent

NATO still conducts streamlined multinational HUMINT operations, as in the ongoing KFOR mission. Multinational collection teams operating in the NATO OE, perform as one team, with one mission, producing answers to intelligence requirements, and function with a shared understanding and shared mission. Respective reporting architecture and systems are incorporated into the mission requirements accordingly. U.S. Army brigade combat teams (BCT) must recognize this fact. BCT level HUMINT in KFOR, as an example, is a reality, and multinational HUMINT operations are a critical function of the KFOR mission. Combined HUMINT missions--particularly in a NATO footprint--are a reality, which BCTs must recognize and incorporate into a mission planning cycle.

by Chief Warrant Officer Three Sean A. Idol

CW3 Sean Idol is the JMRC Senior Brigade S2X Trainer and Deputy BDE S2 All-Source Trainer. As a multinational trainer, he was the lead intelligence integrator with the Czech Republic Army in Exercise Allied Spirit II & IV, KFOR 19-21, Lithuanian-led Saber Junction, and lead all-source intelligence officer for Allied Combined Joint Entry Force (ACJEF) in Swift Response 16. CW3 Idol has conducted intelligence operations in Iraq, Korea, Mongolia, Kosovo, and Republic of Georgia. Currently, CW3 Idol is an MA candidate in International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University, with thesis specialization in International Security.


Amy Edmondson, Harvard Business School, quoted in General Stanley McChrystal, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, (New York: Penguin, 2015).
COPYRIGHT 2017 U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Idol, Sean A.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Jan 1, 2017
Previous Article:Theater-Defensive cyberspace operational intelligence support: Maneuvering through cyberspace.
Next Article:Moments in mi history: CIC detachment ensures success of the Manhattan project.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |