No. 6 - Nov.-
Dec. 1997
Vol. 45 - pp. 20-22

Combined forces support:
The evolution in military (intelligence) affairs

Commander Eileen Mackrell

Chief, Operations Division
Joint Analysis Center, United States European Command

The author (front centre) with the JAC team.
(JAC photo 45Kb)
The "revolution in military affairs" generally refers to the quantum leap in communications and data processing technology and the accompanying global changes in the way we share, process and use information. Hand in hand with this revolution, according to the author, has come a less flashy but even more significant evolution in military affairs - the evolution of military intelligence from single-service to joint to combined intelligence support to operations.

Not so many years ago, the concept of a joint intelligence command providing support to all uniformed US services met with less than enthusiastic acceptance within the US military. However, just as joint operations have become a vibrant reality, so has joint intelligence become the standard throughout the intelligence community. Single-service intelligence support to single-service operations has gradually given way to joint commands providing joint support - to joint operations.

An equally significant shift is now underway, taking the intelligence community along a parallel path with the operational world from joint into combined (multinational) operations. As military forces worldwide are drawn-down, the capability of any one nation's armed forces to 'go it alone' is increasingly remote. Any significant military operation in the future is likely to require close cooperation among allies. In the intelligence world, this means that intelligence will in the future increasingly support not just joint but combined operations.

At one Joint Intelligence Center, the European Command's (USEUCOM) Joint Analysis Center (JAC) at Molesworth in the UK, that future is now. The JAC is already deep in the business of providing support not only to all US forces deployed in the European Command Area of Responsibility, but to a wide variety of NATO and coalition forces as well.

Unlike other US intelligence centres, the JAC at Royal Air Force (RAF) Molesworth did not start as a single-service intelligence command, but began life with joint manning and a combined flavour. Immediately upon its inception it began providing all-source intelligence support to US and allied forces deployed in support of the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. During the last year, the JAC's customer base has included NATO headquarters; SHAPE; SACLANT; Allied Command Europe's major subordinate commands, AFNORTHWEST, AFCENT and AFSOUTH; the combined operations of Northern Watch enforcing the no-fly zone in northern Iraq; coalition forces operating in Albania under Operation Sunrise; US and allied planning efforts in support of potential non-combatant evacuation operations from Zaire; and the coalition Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia, UNTAES Command in Eastern Slavonia, as well as all the forces in the EUCOM theatre.

Without a doubt, the strongest of these relationships is that between NATO and the JAC. The NATO allies have cooperated in intelligence sharing from the earliest days of the Atlantic Alliance. Now in the post-Cold War era the intelligence relationship in the European theatre, the centre point of NATO, is strong and mature. As USEUCOM's intelligence centre, the JAC is the linchpin of intelligence sharing with NATO commands and NATO allies throughout the theatre.

The JAC provides support to SFOR operations in Bosnia. Here, an SFOR helicopter lands on a road near a Bosnian Serb television transmitter on Mount Zep, on 18 October.
(Reuters 53Kb)

At the very heart of the JAC, the 24-hour operational intelligence watch of the Operations Division provides indications and warning support to deployed forces throughout the theatre. On any given day, the watch team may send spot reports to alert NATO forces to significant events in their area, pass a warning of potential terrorist action to an SFOR unit over the radio, respond to requests for information from the Commander, Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) in Sarajevo, inform afloat units of an event affecting their next portcall, and exchange e-mail with JAC liaison officers supporting Operation Northern Watch in Incirlik, Turkey.

As a discrete part of the JAC watch, maritime watch analysts provide dedicated maritime intelligence support to US and NATO afloat units throughout the theatre. This function migrated to JAC Molesworth in the summer of 1996 when the last US Navy intelligence command in the theatre closed its doors. The JAC now performs the maritime support function for all US and allied maritime commands.

Closely linked to the JAC watch, the Analysis Division of the JAC provides daily in-depth analytical reporting on current events in the theatre. This reporting is sent via a variety of communications pathways to US, NATO and coalition commands theatre-wide, as well as to national level agencies. The analysts at the JAC also respond to requests for information sent in by other commands, US and NATO.

The JAC Command and Control Warfare Division (DOC) is home to analysts with two distinct specialties - targeting and order of battle. The DOC maintains up to date records of military forces of most countries in the European theatre and shares this information routinely with NATO allies. The DOC also produces analyses of target systems in various countries in support of potential US or NATO combat operations.

A key facet of all JAC support to both US and allied forces is provided by the JAC Imagery Division. JAC imagery analysts receive and analyse all incoming imagery, whether from national systems or such theatre airborne reconnaissance platforms as the U-2 and P-3. Imagery analysts send reports of significant events noted in imagery to US and allied forces deployed throughout the theatre. Occasionally the imagery itself is also transmitted to help clarify the situation.

A JAC watch officer coordinates support via the LOCE network for an operation in the field.
(JAC photo 28Kb)
One of the unique aspects of JAC support to theatre allies is the Multinational Intelligence Coordination Cell, better known as the ICC. This elite group consists of 12 individuals representing 6 NATO nations. The ICC was established in August 1995 following a decision to provide US national intelligence to the rapid reaction forces who were then on the ground in Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of the United Nations Protection Force. Following the transfer of authority from UNPROFOR to IFOR in December 1995, the ICC became a conduit for the flow of intelligence between the United States, NATO, and the troops of other nations taking part in the IFOR and SFOR operations.

The ICC has four key theatre intelligence missions. It receives, tracks and manages requests for information (RFIs); it serves as a conduit for the exchange of intelligence among the NATO nations; it provides intelligence to NATO and SFOR; and tasks and exploits unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery. By the end of February 1997, the ICC had responded to more than 500 RFIs since its creation. While most of these RFIs were related to the ongoing Balkan crisis, of late the ICC has begun to expand the exchange of intelligence related to non-Balkan issues such as sub-Saharan Africa or naval operations in the Baltic. The direct links between ICC partners and their Ministries of Defence have proven critical to the timely flow of intelligence not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but during such dynamic and fast-moving situations as the evacuation of Western citizens from Albania in March.

From a systems standpoint, the backbone of theatre intelligence sharing within NATO is the LOCE network, the only secure voice and data system common to all NATO allies. There are over 283 networked terminals world-wide; most of these terminals are deployed in support of theatre operations, including Operation Joint Guard in the former Yugoslavia. LOCE provides users with connectivity among NATO and US operational units and decision-makers in the form of gateways such as the Allied Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation (BICES) Initiative, SHAPE's CRONOS network and, soon, SACLANT's Maritime Command and Control Information System (MCCIS), as well as such features as bulletin boards and electronic mail.

Another LOCE capability is Tactical Ballistic Missile Launch Early Warning, which provides warning of ballistic missile launches to all system users through graphic displays. Multinational users of the LOCE system can also access order of battle databases maintained by the various members of NATO. The JAC LOCE Division provides the supporting infrastructure for LOCE. LOCE Division personnel deploy, operate and maintain the system theatre-wide, providing a seamless flow of intelligence information to US and NATO commands. The LOCE system provides a fly-away capability to deploy to contingency areas with a variety of satellite communications equipment tailored to suit the requirements of the crisis or contingency.

The JAC, and especially the ICC, represent bold new steps in intelligence sharing. All allied nations are now recipients of timely, accurate intelligence information which would not have been available even two years ago. As the operational picture in the European theatre continues to evolve, intelligence support to operating forces from the JAC will continue to evolve along with it - from emphasis on single service requirements through joint and combined operations to coalition support. Changing 'customer lists' and rapidly evolving communications and information technology will continue to affect the way the JAC moves intelligence, but the overriding challenge remains the same: to provide accurate, responsive intelligence support to allied and partner forces.

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