Organizing Intelligence for Counterinsurgency

By Teamey, Kyle; Sweet, Jonathan | Military Review, September/October 2006 | Go to article overview

Organizing Intelligence for Counterinsurgency


Teamey, Kyle, Sweet, Jonathan, Military Review


The very essence of counterinsurgency is the collection of intelligence for the government.

-Lucian W. Pye1

EFFECTIVE, ACCURATE, AND TIMELY intelligence is essential to conducting any form of warfare, including counterinsurgency operations, because the ultimate success or failure of the mission depends on the effectiveness of the intelligence effort. The function of intelligence in counterinsurgency is to facilitate an understanding of the populace, the host nation, the operational environment, and the insurgents so that commanders may address the issues driving the insurgency.

Insurgencies, however, are notoriously difficult to evaluate. The organization of the standard military intelligence system, developed for major theater warfare rather than counterinsurgency, compounds the difficulty. Intelligence systems and personnel must adapt to the challenges of a counterinsurgency environment to provide commanders the intelligence they require. This is a "best practice" in counterinsurgency, without which counterinsurgency efforts will likely fail.2

Principles

Practical experience and research indicate six major factors make intelligence in counterinsurgency different than in other forms of warfare. First and foremost, intelligence in counterinsurgency is about people. Commanders must understand the host nation's people and government, the people involved in the insurgency, and the conditions driving the insurgency. They must have insight into the perceptions, values, beliefs, interests, and decisionmaking processes of individuals and groups. These requirements are the basis for collection and analysis efforts.

Second, counterinsurgency is an intelligence war. Both insurgents and counterinsurgents need effective intelligence capabilities to be successful. Insurgents and counterinsurgents therefore attempt to create and maintain intelligence networks and fight continuously to neutralize each other's intelligence capabilities.3

Third, a strong feedback relationship exists between operations and intelligence. This can be positive or negative. Effective intelligence drives effective operations, producing more intelligence. Ineffective or inaccurate intelligence drives ineffective operations, reducing the availability of intelligence.4

Fourth, all operations have an intelligence component. All service members are potential intelligence collectors when interacting with the people. Therefore, operations should always include intelligence collection requirements.

Fifth, intelligence flows from the bottom up in counterinsurgency, and all echelons both produce and consume intelligence. This is because insurgencies are like a mosaic in that they are local and vary greatly in time and space.5 The insurgency one battalion faces is often different from that faced by an adjacent battalion. Tactical units at brigade and below require a great deal of support for intelligence collection and analysis because their organic intelligence structure is often inadequate to deal with these realities.6

Finally, units at all echelons find themselves operating in a joint, combined environment. Commanders and staff personnel at all echelons must coordinate intelligence collection and analysis with coalition and host-nation militaries and intelligence services and with many different U.S. intelligence organizations.

Resourcing the Effort

We must understand the challenges posed by a counterinsurgency environment and the factors that differentiate counterinsurgency from major theater warfare, and then we must allocate intelligence personnel and equipment appropriately. Intelligence personnel are normally concentrated at echelons above brigade, with relatively few personnel at brigade and below. However, in counterinsurgency, requirements to collect, process, and analyze intelligence inundate units at brigade and below. The ability of these units to gather and analyze intelligence effectively is critically important in counterinsurgency. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Organizing Intelligence for Counterinsurgency
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.