Intelligent Counterinsurgency

Despite nearly a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department “lacks a common understanding” of counterinsurgency, according to the Defense Science Board. Further, DOD has assumed responsibility for COIN intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance “by default” since the US government “is not employing all elements of national power” for COIN operations, stated the DSB Task Force on Defense Intelligence in its recently issued report. “ISR capabilities have not been applied effectively against COIN operations that deal with populations in part because a comprehensive set of intelligence requirements for COIN does not exist,” wrote ret. Maj. Gen. Richard O’Lear, task force co-chairman, in the document, released in May, but dated February. O’Lear said counterinsurgency intelligence is often “overshadowed” by counterterrorism and force-protection requirements. However, an increased focus on ISR for COIN would “reduce the need for major commitment of military forces” by providing more “whole-of-government options,” he wrote. (Full report; caution, large-sized file.)