UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Leaders assess role of intelligence in Iraq war

Army News Service

Release Date: 2/9/2004

By Pfc. Joy Pariante

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (Feb. 9, 2004) -- In the Silent Warrior Conference Room at Fort Huachuca, Jan. 23, there were more stars to be seen than on a cold, clear winter's night.

Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, V Corps commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom and now commanding general of the U.S. Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., visited Maj. Gen. James "Spider" Marks, senior intelligence officer in OIF and commanding general of U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca. Marks was part of Wallace's intelligence support group on the ground in Iraq.

Intelligence and combat arms linked through the goal of completing their mission, Wallace said. "It's very hard for me to separate the intelligence function from the combat arms function because they're so interrelated.

"We're all in this together," Wallace said. "We are all warriors, and we have a common goal and a common enemy. I think there's a lot of branch parochialism of yesteryear that's got to go away.

"Every Soldier is an intelligence gatherer in the field just because he has eyeballs and a brain," Wallace said. "Combat arms has a responsibility to be relatively precise but also relatively innovative in describing to the intelligence community the information (gathered).

"We're not talking about creating intelligence stuff because it's cool. We're talking about getting information that can be turned into decisions at some point," Wallace said. "I think part of the responsibility (intelligence) lies with the maneuver commander in describing to his intelligence support that which he needs to make those decisions. An actual analyst can take everything and look for trends."

However, even the trained analysts were having trouble deciphering data in the battle zone. Over time, enemy forces were changing their organization and grouping, and analysts lost track of what was going on, Wallace said.

"The intelligence analysts were trying to fit a pattern we were seeing into an order of battle that was increasingly irrelevant. You had this squirrelly combination of foreign fighters in different forms and Iraqi paramilitary," Wallace said. "The paramilitary forces . had no discernable pattern."

Offering a solution to this situation, Wallace said he thinks the intelligence community "needs to be more suspicious."

"They need to be more devious and not expect patterns to jump up at them off a page or off a screen or a display they have available to them," Wallace continued. "They have to put themselves in the place of the enemy. Really good intelligence analysts do that now."

Wallace also stressed the importance of human intelligence: "Although there's a lot of really cool technical things out there, the technical things and electronic things can be spoofed, where humans, if they're properly trained, cannot."

This is something Marks and the people at Fort Huachuca are working really hard on, Wallace added.

One more of Wallace's intel lessons learned during OIF was the value of "cultural intelligence."

"If we are going to insert Army formations in a culture that is different than our own, we've got to have a much better appreciation for what the impact of insertion of U.S. formations into that culture might have," Wallace explained. "And we need to be a lot more sensitive to that than I think we have been. The more distant a culture is from our own, the more difficult it is to put ourselves in that position, in that mindset."

The enemy may have the advantage of being able to hide inside his own population, Wallace said. "But every time we have a successful operation, the population becomes more committed to the future of their country and less committed to those knuckleheads who are trying to undermine that," he noted.

Wallace is also the deputy commanding general for combined arms, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; and director of the Battle Command Battle Lab at Fort Leavenworth.

(Editor's note: Pfc. Joy Pariante writes for the Fort Huachuca Scout newspaper.)

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list