The Afghan intelligence enterprise, which supports both the MoD and the MoI, has proven mostly capable of supporting operations although it depends heavily on legacy systems and support from the coalition. The MoDís National Military Intelligence Center (NMIC) has begun to engage more routinely with the ANA corps and division-level units to provide analytical support to multi-corps operations. During the reporting period, the NMIC effectively fed into the recently created Nasrat to enhance information sharing across the entire Afghan intelligence enterprise.
Increasing participation of strike elements at targeting meetings helped to improve the Nasratís capability and credibility among the ASSF. Information sharing within the MoD is also improving as more sections, such as the GS G2, begin to utilize the National Information Management System (NIMS). Although overall NIMS usage has increased, adoption across both the MoD and the MoI is still slow due to highly controlled access.
By 2018 Afghan target development and prioritization continued to improve as the Nasrat intelligence center, also known as the National Threat Intelligence Center (NTIC), under the direction of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and Joint Special Operations Coordination Center (JSOCC), mature. Both the ASSF and AAF benefit from this improved relationship with assets allocated based on command priorities, not the order in which they were received.
The ANDSFís ability to use ISR to plan and, to a lesser extent, control combat operations was limited, but improving. The ANA successfully use ScanEagle at four ANA Corps sites (the 201st, 205th, 209th, and 215th Corps) for force protection and targeting support. The 215th Corps Detachment at FOB Shorab in Helmand Province is the most advanced, routinely utilizing their ScanEagle Detachment to support the 215th Corps targeting efforts. The 209th Corps also relies heavily on their ScanEagle Detachment at Camp Pamir in Kunduz Province to action their own targets. The 205th Corps ScanEagle Detachment, which reached initial operational capability (IOC) on October 13, 2017, is unique in that it operates as a hub and spoke. The detachment is stationed at Kandahar Airfield (the hub) and has a Ground Control Station (GCS) at Tarin Kot (a spoke), which can take control of an aircraft while in flight.
Leadership changes, in part due to the Inherent Law, will usher in creative junior leaders who are more technologically savvy than their predecessors, and more accustomed to collaboration with MoI counterparts. Additionally, the MoD increased its training courses in Kabul, and designed career paths for intelligence specialists. Although MoD made progress in executing a proper intelligence cycle, from requests for information, to collection and dissemination, the MoD still suffers from a lack of proper prioritization of intelligence requirements and failure to use the correct intelligence tools for collection. TAA efforts will focus on improving these shortfalls.
Intelligence sharing is a major area for improvement and the new GS G2ís leadership and personal involvement in operations generated a spike in information sharing between leaders from the MoD and CoGS, and corps, brigade, and Military Intelligence kandak commanders. During 2018, the MoDís Intel Watch Center began sharing intelligence with the MoI, the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC), and other ministry-level sections via the Nasrat Center to avoid duplicate reporting. NMICís Current Intelligence Section (CIS) consistently disseminates products downward on a case-by-case basis, and the CIS increased its intelligence sharing of custom-built products to higher-level MoD entities, the NDS, and the Office of the President of Afghanistan (PoA).
The new GS G2 embraced technology and demonstrated keen interest in the more technical systems, such as the National Information Management System (NIMS), Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS) aerostats, Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) towers, the Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS), ScanEagle, and the Wolfhound Electronic Warfare System. To build up technological capabilities, the GSG2 Systems Directorate initiated and completed a network upgrade between multiple headquarters elements to provide additional data transmission capability.
The ANDSF improved its use of basic signals intelligence (SIGINT) in operations, especially the successful utilization and integration of ScanEagle. ScanEagle allows for target surveillance, air to- ground integration for aerial fires, and battle damage assessments after strikes. Plans to increase the number of ScanEagle detachments are underway. During 2018, the increase in targets engaged based on intelligence gained from ScanEagle use almost doubled. ScanEagle operators were now included in the tashkil, but the ANDSF still needs to determine the career progression for ScanEagle operators. Additionally, the cost of continued U.S. training and maintenance on the system was not sustainable. The ANDSF will work to transfer technical sustainment from contractors to Afghans over the next two to three years.
Persistent surveillance systems such as aerostats and Rapid Aerostat Initial Development (RAID) towers enable ANA force protection, intelligence generation, patrol and facility overwatch, counter-IED, and counter indirect fire capabilities. As of December 2015, four TIF25 aerostats and ten RAID tower sites were fully installed with two additional aerostats and twelve more towers scheduled for installation in early 2016. RS is working with the Afghans on upgrading the aerostat sensors to improve visibility. Although the coalition has been conducting TAA with the Afghans on these systems, basic operator maintenance remains a persistent issue and the ANA still shows some reluctance to embrace technology and automation as a way to improve outcomes on the battlefield.
RS continues to build the ANAís airborne ISR capabilities. This includes efforts to acquire eight unmanned aerial ISR ScanEagle systems this reporting period. The first ANA-operated system, which will include six aerial vehicles, will be deployable anywhere in the country and fielded in time for fighting season 2016. Full fielding of the ScanEagle systems to the ANA corps and the 111th Capital Division is scheduled for completion by August 2018. RS is also working with the ANA to conduct additional training on programs that will enhance the ANAís signals intelligence capability.
The MoI continued in 2015 to capitalize on its strength in human intelligence; however, significant gaps remained in areas such as analysis, information sharing, and employment of intelligence capabilities to support operations. Implementing intelligence-led policing throughout all ANP pillars remained a challenge. Moreover, ANP forces in rural areas often lack the capacity and basic knowledge to conduct intelligence-led operations effectively. The MoIís Police Intelligence Training Centerís has expanded its use of mobile training teams to help address this critical deficiency. In addition, the MoIís unwillingness or inability to release budgeted operational funds for intelligence activities hinders every action from purchasing office supplies to recruiting and maintaining intelligence sources.
The Directorate of Police Intelligence has become increasingly capable at providing quality analysis and targeting information for operations by relying on human intelligence and its most mature intelligence capability, the Network Targeting and Exploitation Center (NTEC). Although the DPI expanded its use of the National Information Management System as a secure platform for intelligence reporting, analysis, and dissemination, NIMS connectivity at the provincial level remains an area for improvement. DPI liaison officers in the Combined Joint Operations Center (CJOC) at Resolute Support headquarters also use NIMS to facilitate better intelligence exchanges between the coalition and the MoI. The MoI is also improving its coordination and intelligence integration with the MoD and NDS through the MoDís NMIC and through tactical fusion cells in support of ANA corps operations.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|