This report is so out-of-character for the Defense Science Board (DSB), and yet so vital to the emerging concept of “full-spectrum” Human Intelligence (HUMINT), that we consider it a “must read.” It may well be one of the most important DSB reports of the decade. It inventories the mish-mash of endeavors that presume to collect, process, analyze, and exploit intelligence about humans and their social networks. Reading between the lines, it is clear that a) DoD has no idea what it is doing in this area; and b) DoD has no bench, anywhere. The report is beautifully put together and provides a fine high-level review of the importance of leadership, inter-agency sharing and understanding, internal education, the importance of recovering lessons learned from the past and not lsing the hard-earned lessons re-learned. We’ve had this report printed, it will be read more than once. Of greatest interest from a Public Intelligence point of view as well as a HUMINT point of view (see our draft paper HUMAN INTELLIGENCE (HUMINT): All Humans, All Minds, All the Time), is the repeat–that’s important–they are repeating prior recommendation in prior repor(s) of the need for a Center for Global Engagement. The downside is that this will become another Human Terrain Team (HTT) turd in the punchbowl. However, if it were handled properly, as a sister element to the emerging Defense Intelligence Open Source Program (DIOSPO), and it were fully multinational as briefing to the Coalition Coordination Center (CCC) in Tampa, then it might be a huge help to the Secretary across all fronts including acquisition and Whole of Government Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Campaigning (PPBC).
There are five bottom-lines on remote sensors, this report addresses four of them:
1. Managing sensors together adds value that cannot be achieved from advances in technology.
2. Meta-tagging the data at source (something we recommended in 1988) enables a huge jump in both sensor processing and inter-sensor sense-making.
3. All satellites are vulnerable to laser attacks generally, Chinese attacks specifically.
4. Close-in matters more as hard targets get harder, deepeer, and more nuanced.
The report does not appear to address the complete lack of “full spectrum” processing. We excel at “one of” multi-media integration efforts, we still cannot integrate all information in all mediums all the time, and especially not in near-real-time.
This report has two bottom-lines, neither of which has been operatiionalized despite lip-service to making peace operations co-equal to war operations:
1. Non-Governmental Organizations are the majority players now
2. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the common language
Strategic Communications became the buzzword of the decade, along with Information Operations (IO), and it is still sorting itself out. We have a problem: you cannot manipulate perceptions much out of whack with reality–reality has a way of being pervasive, intrusive, compelling, and inevitable. Still, this report was very important in part because it demonstrated how very little we know about the human beings and the societies we are trying to influence. There are other contradictions, one of them humourously depicted to the left here, from our Strategic Communicators in SWA.