By Carlo Munoz
AOL Defense, November 1, 2011
Washington: The Pentagon is offering field commanders control of counterintelligence operations to cope with the never-ceasing efforts by countries such as China, Iran and Israel to gain access to classified information and technology.
Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers approved the plan in an Oct. 5 memorandum. Groups such as Central Command and Special Operations Command can now choose to do their own CI work within their organizations, according to the memo. Formal investigations are still handled by the services.
“We gave the [combat commands] an option to develop an organic CI capability… or to rely on [the Defense Department],” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. James Gregory said. “We did not want to legislate either way but instead wanted to give [them] an option.” The decision comes as the Pentagon and intelligence community are preparing for a $25 billion to $40 billion budget cut over the next decade.
Phi Beta Iota: At the tactical level intelligence has always been the runt, generally one rank down from operations, and within intelligence, counterintelligence is where the runts of the runts go. Marty Hurwitz destroyed tactical intelligence with his consolidation of the General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP) and the well-intentioned but badly conceived Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) concept. While Jim Clapper destroyed Marty Hurwitz, he did not make tactical intelligence (counterintelligence silent as in non-existent) healthy again, going on to make national consolidation every worse. There is a huge difference between security and defensive counterintelligence – they are not the same but ignorant commanders will treat them as one. There is a huge difference between defensive counterintelligence and offensive counterintelligence – no one in the US national intelligence community is competent as offensive counterintelligence, and the commanders will be oblivious to this until such time as we finally eliminate the regional commands and reset national defense and multinational information-sharing and sense-making. The budget cuts are trivial – $40 billion over ten years is $4 billion a year, that is a 4% cut on $90 billion a year, while at least 50% of what the IC spends now is fraud, waste, and abuse, 70% of that on contractor vapor-ware. The greatest enemy of America is a dishonest intelligence community that cannot do holistic analytics relevant to everything we need to know.
More practically, COCOMs consist of headquarters staffs and operational units sourced from the Services. Counterintelligence is currently a functional support service provided to the COCOMs by the Services and perhaps DIA. I know of no joint CI force structure designed for COCOMs. So, for COCOMs to run their own CI operations, they will require resources to be sourced, either permanently or temporarily, from the Services or from DIA, which itself gets its military personnel from the Services and competes with the rest of the Intelligence Community to hire civilians. That would serve principally to exacerbate existing shortages in counterintelligence personnel and force structure. In other words, Mike Vickers is not leading, he is scamming.