Journal: Reaper Provides INFORMATION Not Intelligence

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Reaper exhibit opens at Air Force museum

As a medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft, the Reaper locates and destroys time-critical and highly mobile targets and provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to military commanders.

Phi Beta Iota: The Reaper provides information, not intelligence.  We are noticing that the same inaccuracies that characterize CIA and others who claim to provide Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) when in fact they are only providing Open Source Information (OSIF), is now creeping into the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and other related programs.

What the Reaper provides comes without processing power, without context, and is very often wrongfully interpreted.  The UAV program has LOTS of problems including much greater down time, much greater disorientation, much greater electro-magnetic vulnerabilities and complications, and so on.  UAV “product” is a lot like the new rations the military came up with to replace the tried and true C Rations–just add water (brains)–you carry the water.

The USG–and the US Air Force specifically–is once again making a wrong turn, wasting tens of billions of dollars on technical solutions (prolonged stare) versus human solutions (engaged brain).  As Ishmael Jones said on radio the other day, we have so clogged up the “intelligence” community with contractors and layers of bureaucracy and money and technology, it’s a wonder anyone even knows a dot exists, much less connects one dot to another.

Ralph Peters once found a Red Cell in the middle of a national park exercise by using his brain and looking at a map.  There isn’t a UAV on the planet that could do that, nor will there be in the next 20-30 years.  We keep dumbing down the force (both intelligence and operations) while increasing the complexity of the systems and the multiplicity of approval authorities.  This is not a workable proposition.  Meanwhile, you carry the water.