A Framework to Understand and Improve Defense All-Source Intelligence Analysis

By James S. Kwoun Joint Force Quarterly 94

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Major James S. Kwoun, USA, is a Strategic Intelligence Officer serving as a Branch Chief at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Not in My Squad workshop facilitator and Brigade S-1 noncommissioned officer for National Ground Intelligence Center engages with female soldiers from Peruvian army during physical readiness training in Lima, Peru, September 10, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard/Holli Nelson)
Not in My Squad workshop facilitator and Brigade S-1 noncommissioned officer for National Ground Intelligence Center engages with female soldiers from Peruvian army during physical readiness training in Lima, Peru, September 10, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard/Holli Nelson)
Not in My Squad workshop facilitator and Brigade S-1 noncommissioned officer for National Ground Intelligence Center engages with female soldiers from Peruvian army during physical readiness training in Lima, Peru, September 10, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard/Holli Nelson)
Not in My Squad workshop facilitator and Brigade S-1 noncommissioned officer for National Ground Intelligence Center engages with female soldiers from Peruvian army during physical readiness training in Lima, Peru, September 10, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard/Holli Nelson)
Not in My Squad workshop facilitator and Brigade S-1 noncommissioned officer for National Ground Intelligence Center engages with female soldiers from Peruvian army during physical readiness training in Lima, Peru, September 10, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard/Holli Nelson)
Photo By: Capt. Holli Nelson
VIRIN: 180910-Z-XR107-106

The Department of Defense (DOD) is a hierarchical organization with parallel planning and execution cycles at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war. These cycles also exist for defense all-source intelligence analysis. The nature of analysis at each level is unique enough that it requires specialized training and experience to truly master. Currently, there is no common framework that sufficiently explains the differences between all-source analysis at each of the levels of war. In the absence of such a framework, leaders lack the means to holistically visualize the entire DOD analytic workforce in a manner that allows for the identification of training gaps and interoperability issues. Consequently, there are missed opportunities to optimize the employment and career development of analysts.

The need for a common framework is evident in the diversity that exists within joint and strategic intelligence organizations. There is a significant convergence of military personnel and civilian analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Joint Staff, combatant commands (CCMDs), and Service intelligence centers. For most military officers, the first joint or strategic assignment typically occurs at the mid-career point (upon promotion to major or lieutenant commander) after they have been thoroughly indoctrinated at the tactical and operational levels within their respective Service cultures. Similarly, civilian analysts who predominantly operated at the strategic level are increasingly called on to fill positions at the operational level in joint task forces (JTFs) engaged in combat operations. As military personnel and civilian analysts make these transitions, they quickly realize that there are distinct cultural and doctrinal differences at each level in the DOD hierarchy. A clear framework and common frame of reference are critical in promoting interoperability and mitigating the initial learning curve during these transitions.

There is a distinct gap in the current body of literature. Although there is no shortage of writing on intelligence analysis, much of the existing literature focuses on select topics applicable to only one or two levels of war. Intelligence professionals must synthesize a large volume of documentation to gain a holistic understanding of the DOD all-source analytic community. This problem is partially caused by the fact that analysts usually develop expertise at only one particular level. This situation can lead to the false assumption that all-source analysis at each level shares the same attributes without fundamental differences. Joint Publication 2-01, Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations, and Service publications such as Army Field Manual 2-0, Intelligence, provide useful starting points for understanding intelligence at each echelon. This article aims to provide greater clarity and insight regarding the differences between defense all-source analysis at each of the levels of war.

Defense Intelligence All-Source Analysis Enterprise

The DIA director is the senior uniformed intelligence officer in DOD and reports directly to the civilian Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. The director manages the General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP) budget that is subordinate to the National Intelligence Program, which is ultimately controlled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The director also manages the DIA component of the broader Military Intelligence Program (MIP) budget that is controlled by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. These two budgets managed by the DIA director—GDIP and DIA MIP—fund a significant portion of what is called the Defense Intelligence All-Source Analysis Enterprise (DIAAE). The organizations that comprise this enterprise include DIA (which includes the Joint Staff J2 Directorate as a subordinate organization), CCMD Joint Intelligence Operations Centers (JIOCs), and the four Service intelligence centers.1 These are the organizations authorized to produce DOD’s official analytic positions on strategic intelligence issues.

A main feature of the enterprise is the alignment of analytic organizations with key DOD decisionmakers. DIA has a broad range of customers, but as Lieutenant General Robert Ashley, USA, the current DIA director, stated in September 2018, “My core mission is to make sure the Secretary of Defense is never surprised.”2 The Joint Staff J2 directly supports the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CCMD JIOCs support their respective combatant commanders, and the four Service intelligence centers support their respective Service leadership. Analysts from these organizations provide strategic-level assessments tailored to the unique decisionmaking requirements of their primary customers.

Each analytic organization has additional responsibilities to the broader enterprise beyond supporting its primary customer. According to DOD Instruction 5105.21, the DIA director is responsible for establishing a “unified production framework” and “assigning defined all-source intelligence analytic responsibilities” for the enterprise.3 For example, the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center, one of four Service intelligence centers, has dual responsibilities of responding to intelligence requirements generated by the Department of the Army, while serving as the designated enterprise lead for analysis of foreign ground forces.4 Thus, the DIA director, as the leader of the all-source analytic enterprise, leverages each organization’s existing mission and unique vantage point to benefit a wider community.

This arrangement creates multiple accountability chains for each analytic organization. Organizations must directly support their primary customers while contributing to broader enterprise production requirements. In many cases, these two responsibilities overlap, but in some cases, the needs of an organization’s primary customer may be different than those of the broader enterprise. For example, a combatant commander can direct his JIOC to produce an assessment on a high-priority topic that primarily affects his or her command. At the same time, the JIOC may be responsible for contributing analysis for an enterprise-wide product led by DIA that will eventually be disseminated to a diverse audience throughout the interagency community. This product may only be marginally relevant to the combatant commander’s mission, but it may require JIOC participation due to the assigned role of a CCMD JIOC in the enterprise.

The existence of functional management in the enterprise adds complexity to this accountability system. The DIA director for analysis is dual-hatted as the DOD functional manager for all-source analysis.5 This functional management responsibility does not confer any authority to task or employ analysts to fulfill intelligence requirements. That authority still resides with the commanders and directors of each analytic organization. This arrangement is analogous to the relationship between the Service chiefs and combatant commanders. Service chiefs build and maintain the force, while combatant commanders employ the force. Similarly, the DIA director for analysis trains and provides analysts to organizations in the enterprise, while each organization’s leadership chain retains management and tasking authority over assigned analysts.

A House Armed Services Subcommittee hearing in February 2017 supports this analogy. Neil Wiley, the current DIA director for analysis, summarized his responsibilities, telling lawmakers that he is “responsible for the alignment, quality, and integrity of the analytic output at DIA, the Service intelligence centers, and the combatant commands.”6 Later in the hearing, Mr. Wiley clarified his role by stating, “We are interested in the consistency, integrity, and probity of the analytic process, rather than interested in the actual analytic outcome.”7 During the same hearing, Major General Mark Quantock, USA, then the J2 of U.S. Central Command, stated, “I have made it very clear . . . analysts that are from DIA that work at combatant commands work for the combatant commander; they work for the J2.”8

All-source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany, April 8, 2019 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)
All-source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany, April 8, 2019 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)
All-source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany, April 8, 2019 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)
All-source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany, April 8, 2019 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)
All-source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, reviews significant activity during exercise Allied Spirit X in Hohenfels, Germany, April 8, 2019 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)
Photo By: Sgt. Thomas Mort
VIRIN: 190408-A-YQ762-0080

Service-Retained Capabilities

The four Services are represented in the DIAAE, but not all the Services’ all-source analytic capabilities are considered part of this enterprise. Each of the Services maintains analytic capabilities for its internal use at the tactical and operational levels. There is a standing authorization in DOD Instruction 3115.17 for the Services to maintain “intelligence capabilities necessary to fulfill Service-specific intelligence needs.”9 These capabilities are the pool from which ad hoc JTFs are resourced in response to a crisis. They are designed to support requirements generated by local commanders on a battlefield, rather than strategic requirements under the DIA director’s enterprise management authorities.

The distinction between enterprise and Service-retained capabilities reflects a deliberate institutional design within DOD. This institutional design is partially the result of separate funding sources that dictate whether activities are supporting Intelligence Community (IC), DOD, or Service-level missions. A significant portion of the enterprise’s strategic analytic mission is funded through budgets managed by the DIA director, either the GDIP or the DIA MIP. In contrast, Service-retained intelligence capabilities are predominantly funded through separate MIP funds controlled by each of the Services, rather than the DIA director. In general, the GDIP provides funding for activities that support the broader IC, whereas the MIP provides funding for activities unique to DOD or the Services.

In addition to funding sources, the unique intelligence requirements at each level of war influence the institutions that comprise the DOD all-source analytic community. The assessments that support strategic leaders in making decisions are often insufficient to help tactical and operational commanders employ forces in combat. The intellectual rigor required to characterize a strategic defense issue is fundamentally different from the instincts required to template an enemy force in sufficient detail to enable operational planning and targeting. In addition, the time horizon is significantly different at each level, with analysis at lower echelons focused on shorter term issues that are more practical than conceptual in nature. These differences create a need for decisionmakers to have dedicated and tailored analytic support.

This reality compels the Services to invest significant resources into building and maintaining organic intelligence capabilities that are optimized for employment on a battlefield. The majority of DOD intelligence analysts are military personnel who work at the tactical and operational levels in Service-retained units. In the Army, a significant portion of these capabilities reside in tactical formations. Every Army unit at the battalion level and above has its own S2 or G2 intelligence staff that primarily (but not exclusively) consists of all-source analysts. Additionally, all brigade combat teams in the total Army have an organic military intelligence company with analytic and collection capabilities. This force design at the tactical level is intended to ensure a minimum level of self-sufficiency on a battlefield, while laying a foundation for units to be augmented with additional capabilities prior to deployment.

The Services also maintain significant analytic capabilities at the operational level. For example, the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) is the Army’s operational-level intelligence force and consists of 17 subordinate units. Its personnel are dispersed across 180 worldwide locations.10 INSCOM’s theater intelligence brigades provide personnel for the analysis and control element for Army Service Component Commands (ASCCs) that are subordinate to each of the geographic CCMDs. To support formations below the ASCC level, the Army maintains expeditionary military intelligence brigades that are aligned with each of the Army’s three corps headquarters. Overall, the Army dedicates significant intelligence capabilities—both collection and analysis—at all echelons.

These Service-retained intelligence capabilities are employed under a different paradigm than those enterprise capabilities addressing DOD strategic requirements. They are considered part of a local commander’s battlefield arsenal, no different conceptually than armor or artillery. Intelligence is one of seven joint functions that form the core basis for assessing a military unit’s combat power. The other joint functions include command and control, information, fires, movement and maneuver, protection, and sustainment. Whereas strategic analysts have real-world production requirements in both war and peace, many Service analysts are considered wartime assets who are largely focused on training and readiness when not deployed.

Compared to strategic analytic organizations, Service-retained intelligence capabilities are less centralized and are distributed across tactical and operational formations. For example, key intelligence leaders in the Army have supervisors who are not intelligence officers. Intelligence officers who serve as S2s and G2s ultimately work for commanders who come from the predominant career field of the units they lead. Similarly, commanders of military intelligence companies organic to brigade combat teams work for battalion commanders who are not intelligence officers. Even at higher echelons, this pattern holds true. Commanders of INSCOM theater intelligence brigades are under the operational control of their respective theater Army commander, the ASCC commander. In a tactical and operational context, intelligence is generally considered an integral part of combined arms teams under the control of military commanders, rather than stand-alone capabilities concentrated in large fusion centers that respond directly to strategic decisionmakers.

Training and Processes

DOD all-source analysts are trained according to Service-specific standards or DIA tradecraft standards. These standards are not uniform because they reflect the different Service missions and the unique analytic requirements at each level of war. The Services are responsible for providing their respective uniformed analysts with initial training focused on operating at the tactical level in a particular domain of war. In the Army, for example, a uniformed analyst’s initial training is focused almost entirely on ground-based tactical intelligence. In the Navy, initial training can encompass imagery interpretation, targeting support, and all-source analysis tailored for the maritime domain. At the strategic level, DIA civilian analysts receive tradecraft training that is predominantly designed for application at the strategic level.

The Services teach enlisted analysts and intelligence officers the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process, the primary analytic tool used for many tactical formations. According to Army Techniques Publication 2-01.3, IPB is a “systemic process of analyzing the mission variables of enemy, terrain, weather, and civil considerations in an area of interest to determine their effect on operations.”11 Conducted in four steps, IPB culminates in multiple enemy courses of action and associated high-value targets that serve as inputs for separate planning and targeting processes. Analysts will also identify unique differences between enemy courses of action and translate these differences into indicators for collection. Collection against these unique indicators will help confirm or deny which of the assessed courses of action the enemy is actively taking steps to implement. IPB is applied differently by the Services based on their unique warfighting requirements, but the underlying process remains the same.

At the operational level, many Service analysts still use IPB as the default process, but it is applied on a broader scale and supplemented with additional methodologies to address the increased complexity of the operational environment. For example, operational design is a conceptual planning methodology specifically intended to address complex and ill-structured problems. This methodology is typically taught to majors and lieutenant commanders attending Service staff colleges, such as the Army’s Command and General Staff College. Although operational design is not entirely an intelligence tool, it has subordinate frameworks specifically designed for use at the operational level, such as center of gravity analysis, that can assist all-source analysts.

The joint version of IPB is known as joint intelligence preparation of the operational environment (JIPOE), which contains four steps that are similar to the IPB process. However, there are key differences. According to Joint Publication 2-01.3, JIPOE emphasizes a “macro-analytic” approach that aims for a “holistic” understanding of the operational environment, whereas IPB generally requires “micro-analysis” to support “individual operations” conducted by Service component commands.12 While IPB can be used at both the tactical and operational levels, JIPOE is predominantly an operational-level process, given the echelons that typically serve as JTFs and use this joint process.

The CCMD JIOC is a unique hybrid organization because of its doctrinal role at both the operational and strategic levels. This dual status has two implications. First, CCMD JIOCs are subject to DIA analytic tradecraft standards, and its civilian analysts are subject to the same training requirements as those assigned to DIA headquarters. In fact, the civilian analysts who work at CCMD JIOCs are DIA employees. Second, CCMD JIOCs are primary users of the JIPOE process. In its operational role, CCMDs produce theater campaign plans and various contingency plans. JIPOE is a necessary process in the broader joint planning process that develops these operational plans. Thus, CCMD JIOCs use analytic processes and standards associated with both the operational and strategic levels.

At the national level, DIA has its own tailored analytic tradecraft based on the broader standards established in Intelligence Community Directive 203. DIA uses the directive’s analytic standards as the baseline to create tailored tradecraft for the agency’s defense-oriented product lines. Some of these tailored standards are introduced to DIA analysts in the Professional Analyst Career Education course, which is mandatory for all civilian analysts. Although many of the topics taught in the course are based on universal principles involving logic and reasoning, the deliberate manner in which they are enforced at DIA is unique to the strategic level. DIA has strict enforcement mechanisms to ensure a consistent and logical flow of analytic lines to its key customers.

Army airborne technician systems specialist (right) and deputy mission control commander, both with Army JSTARS, participate in emergency drill onboard E-8C Joint STARS during routine training mission at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, March 21, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/Nancy Goldberger)
Army airborne technician systems specialist (right) and deputy mission control commander, both with Army JSTARS, participate in emergency drill onboard E-8C Joint STARS during routine training mission at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, March 21, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/Nancy Goldberger)
Army airborne technician systems specialist (right) and deputy mission control commander, both with Army JSTARS, participate in emergency drill onboard E-8C Joint STARS during routine training mission at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, March 21, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/Nancy Goldberger)
Army airborne technician systems specialist (right) and deputy mission control commander, both with Army JSTARS, participate in emergency drill onboard E-8C Joint STARS during routine training mission at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, March 21, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/Nancy Goldberger)
Army airborne technician systems specialist (right) and deputy mission control commander, both with Army JSTARS, participate in emergency drill onboard E-8C Joint STARS during routine training mission at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, March 21, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/Nancy Goldberger)
Photo By: Tech. Sgt. Nancy Goldberger
VIRIN: 190408-A-YQ762-0081

Key Attributes

All-source analysis at the tactical and operational levels requires an intuitive understanding of military operations. Military analysts are trained to recognize conditions on a battlefield that may not initially stand out to outside observers. For example, experienced Army or Air Force analysts can make predictive battlefield assessments based on the unique way an enemy force arrays its key capabilities in relation to the local terrain. They will recognize the vulnerabilities inherent in the operations being considered by the friendly commander, which will help tailor their analysis of the enemy. Military analysts may derive some of their knowledge using what joint doctrine refers to as “combat information,” such as observations by combat patrols, fighter aircraft, or unmanned aerial systems that have not been processed into serialized reports.13 In general, tactical and operational analysts do not strive to formally publish products—they strive to operationalize knowledge by addressing the dynamic intelligence requirements generated on a fluid battlefield.

Similarly, strategic intelligence has unique attributes, and DOD analysts at this level generally provide two categories of analysis. First, they provide strategic insights to support national policy deliberations, major DOD acquisition decisions, and strategic engagements by senior DOD officials. Second, they support the warfighters by providing the foundational military intelligence that enables more detailed analysis by CCMD JIOCs and JTF J2s. Most strategic analysts are civilians who possess deep subject matter expertise in a particular account. Unlike their tactical and operational counterparts, strategic analysts are not expected to assess how foreign militaries fight beyond a certain scale and level of detail. However, they are expected to assess broader issues related to foreign militaries and the implications for U.S. interests.

In further contrast to strategic intelligence, tactical and operational intelligence are also inherently process-driven endeavors. The JIPOE process is closely integrated with the joint planning process that generates the plans or orders for every operation. Furthermore, JIPOE often produces the initial inputs for targeting and collection. Unit intelligence officers also have a role in establishing and rehearsing sensor-to-shooter processes, working to ensure their unit’s organic collection assets can rapidly disseminate information to artillery, attack aviation, or joint fires assets. There are many interrelated processes that occur simultaneously in a typical military headquarters, which generate unique challenges for uniformed analysts. During combat operations and in training environments, these processes are conducted rapidly in a time-compressed environment against an adaptive enemy.

In anticipation of these challenges, many intelligence staffs in military units (with exceptions) tend to focus on training their internal processes, rather than building deep knowledge on regional issues. For example, the Army’s requirement to maintain forces that are globally deployable makes it impractical for many intelligence staffs to prioritize knowledge development. Although the Army regionally aligns its units with geographic CCMDs, the uncertainty of the operational environment makes it difficult to predict the next contingency. Units must prepare for multiple contingencies by practicing processes that are universally relevant across the range of military operations. Furthermore, the doctrinal IPB and JIPOE processes are designed to address specific military problems on a local battlefield, rather than broad geopolitical or strategic issues. On a battlefield, these broad strategic issues serve as critical context for military units, but they do not represent the main intelligence problem set for uniformed analysts in the field.

All-source analysts at the strategic level are generally insulated from the time constraints and external distractions that tactical and operational analysts typically face on a battlefield or in a training center. For example, the risk of enemy artillery destroying an Army unit’s command post, including the intelligence staff, is a real concern during large-scale combat operations. Moreover, command posts and intelligence staffs must frequently relocate (that is, “jump” the command post) if their respective units are conducting movement and maneuver against a near-peer enemy force. Relatively speaking, strategic analysts operate in conditions conducive to deep intellectual thought. The enterprise organizations that conduct strategic analysis use deliberate and methodical processes to communicate carefully developed analytic lines to strategic decisionmakers. This working environment is significantly different than the chaos of a battlefield or training center.

There is an interdependent relationship among analysts throughout the echelons, despite contrasts in the nature of their duties. According to the official DIA strategy, a core responsibility of the agency is to provide foundational military intelligence, the “comprehensive understanding of foreign military capabilities, infrastructure, and materials” that “underpins every aspect of warfighting.”14 As the name implies, this type of intelligence provides the initial baseline knowledge that CCMD JIOCs or JTF J2s can use to produce their own tailored intelligence with enough details to enable operations. This process continues down each echelon as analysts in subordinate units refine existing intelligence products from their higher headquarters.

This relationship is evident in two doctrinal product lines in the enterprise. DIA produces dynamic threat assessments (DTAs) to support the development or revision of top-priority CCMD contingency plans. DIA also produces theater intelligence assessments (TIAs) for steady-state CCMD theater campaign plans.15 These products provide the initial baseline knowledge for CCMD JIOCs to conduct further analysis tailored to their unique theater-level needs. Specifically, the DTA and TIA provide the analytic starting points for CCMD JIOCs to initiate the operationally focused JIPOE process. The JIPOE process builds on the DTA and TIA, culminating in specific enemy courses of action that are used by CCMD J5 planners to develop the friendly courses of action that form the core of any theater campaign plan or contingency plan. This type of interdependence continues through each echelon below the CCMD.

Air Force all-source intelligence analyst with 94th Fighter Squadron maps out ground-to-air target scenarios for Red Flag 17-4 mission planning at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, August 23, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/Carlin Leslie)
Air Force all-source intelligence analyst with 94th Fighter Squadron maps out ground-to-air target scenarios for Red Flag 17-4 mission planning at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, August 23, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/Carlin Leslie)
Air Force all-source intelligence analyst with 94th Fighter Squadron maps out ground-to-air target scenarios for Red Flag 17-4 mission planning at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, August 23, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/Carlin Leslie)
Ops Airmen, Key to mission success
Air Force all-source intelligence analyst with 94th Fighter Squadron maps out ground-to-air target scenarios for Red Flag 17-4 mission planning at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, August 23, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/Carlin Leslie)
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Carlin O. Leslie
VIRIN: 170823-F-QZ836-517

Problems and Recommendations

Training gaps and interoperability issues become apparent when examining the broad framework established in the preceding sections. First, DIA civilians routinely serve at CCMD JIOCs and JTFs without standardized training on operational processes that are essential to how joint forces plan and execute missions. Second, military officers assigned to DIA for the first time usually have no familiarity with DIA’s entire product lines or analytic tradecraft standards. Finally, there are notable challenges when military officers—who grew up learning one intelligence paradigm—are suddenly placed in leadership roles at DIA that require understanding of a fundamentally different paradigm. Conversely, the same challenges exist when civilian analysts are placed in leadership roles in operational headquarters—in particular, JTFs engaged in combat operations—and are making decisions using an intelligence paradigm that is not optimal for their environment.

These gaps and issues can be mitigated by implementing three key recommendations. The first recommendation is to cross-train both civilian and military analysts in multiple analytic methodologies. In general, DOD needs to reduce the gap between what is taught in military schools and DIA training courses. Specifically, civilian analysts assigned to a CCMD JIOC or JTF should be taught the joint planning process, operational art and design, and JIPOE in particular. Existing Service staff colleges or joint professional military education programs can be leveraged to this end. Alternatively, DIA could create an abbreviated 2-week course on these topics with a short culminating exercise at the end. This instruction is particularly important because CCMDs have occasionally served as the primary joint operational headquarters for large-scale combat operations without a subordinate JTF to help control the fight, which was the case for Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.

Additionally, DIA analytic tradecraft should be incorporated as a minor addition to the curriculum at Service intelligence schools that train junior intelligence officers and enlisted analysts. At a minimum, this addition would reinforce the Services’ efforts to develop agile intelligence professionals by providing additional analytic options on the battlefield. In limited cases, DIA analytic tradecraft can be modified for use at the tactical and operational levels, particularly during deliberate planning. Some commanders’ decision points on a battlefield require deep analysis and significant staff work to support. If time and space allow, a slower but more methodical analytic process could be ideal when supporting these types of decision points. This exposure to DIA tradecraft would also ease the learning curve for military personnel who eventually get assigned to strategic intelligence organizations.

The second recommendation is to create a structured program that expands short-term opportunities for civilian analysts to observe military operations in the field and the intelligence staffs who support local commanders. The program should be tailored to the unique needs of analysts throughout the enterprise and set broad expectations for when they should seek these opportunities during their careers. For example, new civilian analysts focused on adversary ballistic missiles would benefit from a weeklong experience embedded with an Air Force missile combat crew. More senior analysts can embed with the G2 staff of an Army corps for a few weeks during a command post exercise to learn the role of intelligence in ground combat. These experiences will help civilian analysts understand how military units below the theater level use foundational military intelligence produced by the DIAAE. Conversely, military analysts will learn more about the national capabilities available to support deployed forces by interacting with their civilian counterparts.

The third recommendation is to expand the current IC civilian joint duty program to include more assignments at the operational level. The 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act established service in more than one IC element as a prerequisite for promotion to the senior executive service. The current joint duty program is designed primarily to facilitate the civilian workforce’s horizontal exposure to different strategic-level organizations in the IC. For defense analysts in particular, vertical exposure to military intelligence staffs at lower echelons can be equally beneficial. The IC already recognizes this benefit and offers joint duty credit for deployments to combat zones. However, these opportunities do not go far enough. The IC (and DOD in particular) should also prioritize peacetime assignments below the theater level—such as the N2 intelligence staff of a Navy carrier strike group—as desirable options for joint duty credit. Promoting shared experiences between defense civilians and military personnel would mitigate current interoperability challenges.

Conclusion

DOD intelligence leaders must facilitate shared understanding of the broader all-source analytic community that exists within the department. This shared understanding must include knowledge beyond the work conducted by any particular agency or group of analysts at any particular level. It must encompass the work conducted by the entire analytic community from the tactical to the strategic levels. There is a significant convergence of military personnel and civilian analysts at DIA, Joint Staff, CCMDs, and Service intelligence centers. Within these organizations, there is likely to be a large disparity in analytic training and experiences. Leaders must fully understand these disparities because they will certainly exist as strengths and limitations in the organizations they lead.

The framework contained in this article fills a gap in the current body of literature and is intended to facilitate the shared understanding necessary for intelligence officers to lead DOD all-source analysts. Intelligence leaders can get an initial baseline understanding of their analysts’ background using the broad framework contained in this article. This framework can also guide leaders’ subsequent conversations with their analysts as part of a larger mentorship and professional development program. These efforts will result in informed decisions regarding the employment and career development of all-source analysts within DOD.

More important, the framework offered by this article aims to provide the impetus for fresh thinking on ways to address training gaps and interoperability issues between military and civilian analysts. These analysts routinely work together in strategic intelligence organizations, but many do so without awareness of the lens through which their counterparts view defense all-source analysis. This situation is not ideal in promoting optimal team performance. Furthermore, there are interdependent relationships between analysts at all levels as they routinely conduct top-down and bottom-up refinement of intelligence assessments through collaborative processes. Shared understanding is required to optimize these interdependent relationships throughout the DOD hierarchy. The recommendations offered by this article are merely starting points for future debates and discussions on the topic. The first step is to have a common framework that can be used to clearly define problems and initiate movement on mitigating those problems. JFQ

Notes

1 Department of Defense (DOD) Instruction 3115.17, Management and Oversight of DOD All-Source Analysis (Washington, DC: DOD, November 16, 2016), 6, available at <www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/311517_dodi_2016.pdf>.

2 Robert Ashley, “A Discussion on National Security with DIA Director Robert Ashley,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, YouTube video, 4:30, September 19, 2018, available at <www.youtube.com/watch?v=694w6EAUaow>.

3 DOD Directive 5105.21, Defense Intelligence Agency (Washington, DC: DOD, March 18, 2008), 4, available at <www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodd/510521p.pdf>.

4 U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, “National Ground Intelligence Center,” September 21, 2018, available at <www.inscom.army.mil/MSC/NGIC.aspx>.

5 Neil Wiley, “Intelligence and U.S. Operations Against ISIS,” C-SPAN, video, 51:18, February 28, 2017, 31:50, available at <www.c-span.org/video/?424663-1/defense-officials-testify-intelligence-us-operations-isis>.

6 Ibid., 31:50.

7 Ibid., 46:00.

8 “DIA Director for Analysis Briefs Congress on Tradecraft,” Defense Intelligence Agency Public Affairs, March 7, 2017, available at <www.dia.mil/News/Articles/Article-View/Article/1104959/dia-director-for-analysis-briefs-congress-on-tradecraft/>.

9 DOD Instruction 3115.17, Management and Oversight of DOD All-Source Analysis.

10 U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, “Command Overview,” September 21, 2018, available at <www.inscom.army.mil/Organization/>.

11 Army Techniques Publication 2-01.3, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (Washington, DC: Headquarters Department of the Army, November 10, 2014), 1-1, available at <https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/atp2_01x3.pdf>.

12 Joint Publication (JP) 2-01.3, Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, May 21, 2014), I-5, available at <https://jdeis.js.mil/jdeis/index.jsp?pindex=27&pubId=579>.

13 JP 2-01, Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, July 5, 2017), GL-8, available at <www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp2_01_20170705v2.pdf>.

14 “Defense Intelligence Agency: Strategic Approach,” Defense Intelligence Agency, September 2018, 11, available at <www.dia.mil/Portals/27/Documents/About/DIA_Strategic_Approach.pdf>.

15 JP 2-01, III-5.