Eli Lake, 1 June 2011
The Washington Times
Military operations in Afghanistan rely too much on intelligence gathered by unmanned drones, often exclude important publicly available data and do not focus enough on the recruitment of human agents, a Pentagon report says.
The report by the Defense Science Board, a panel that advises the Pentagon, says that the defense budget does not properly direct funding for open-source intelligence collection – information available to the public and gathered from a wide variety of sources, including academic papers and newspapers.
“Overall, these problems tend to exclude valuable sources of social and behavioral science data, including human geography,” according to the report.
It also says analysts often are overwhelmed by the volume of data collected by ball-shaped sensors outfitted on the bottom of military aircraft and from high-tech camera and radar pods placed on blimps and sometimes even telephone poles. While the technology has helped pinpoint and kill enemy combatants and to detect cellphone conversations on the battlefield, its created a “a crisis in processing, exploitation, and dissemination” of the information.
Phi Beta Iota: There is NOTHING NEW here. All of this was in General Al Gray's seminal article, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990's” (American Intelligence Journal, Winter 1989-1990) and in the original modern intelligence reform book, ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, 2000). Joe Markowitz continues his polite urgings on the importance of open source intelligence, but in this corrupt environment he is as effective as Brent Scowcroft with Dick Cheney. The Department of Defense is OUT OF CONTROL. It lacks intelligence and integrity. This will not change until we get a Secretary of Defense committed to intelligence and integrity; OR we get an honest President, a Congress that fulfills its Article 1 responsibilities, and an Open Source Agency that can empower the public the way that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Mason all agreed was necessary if the Republic were to be preserved.