Office of Public Affairs
Scott Air Force Base, IL 62225-5357
(618)256-4828 or DSN 576-4828

July 21, 1995


Contact: USTRANSCOM Public Affairs (618) 256-4828 or DSN 576-4828

USTRANSCOM intelligence directorate plays key role in global operations

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- When people think of military intelligence, they normally conjure images of operatives in the field, aircraft overhead, and satellites in space, gathering such information as size, location and movement of enemy forces. We normally associate thoughts of intelligence operations with the effort to feed warfighting forces at the front the vital information they need to meet and defeat the enemy. Though these images reflect a true and important part of the total picture, one look at the U.S. Transportation Command's (USTRANSCOM) headquarters here at Scott AFB reveals an entirely different, though equally vital role played by military intelligence.

Long before any troops reach the battle front or humanitarian relief supplies reach the area of crisis, the team of intelligence professionals who comprise USTRANSCOM's intelligence directorate begin their work to ensure that, in any global contingency, our forces will be able to get to where they need to go. USTRANSCOM is the unified command responsible in both peace and war for providing the Department of Defense the land, sea and air transportation assets required to respond to any event worldwide. USTRANSCOM works together with its three component commands -- the Army's Military Traffic Management Command, the Navy's Military Sealift Command, and the Air Force's Air Mobility Command -- to accomplish its global mission.

In the accomplishment of that mission, the members of the intelligence directorate focus on two primary concerns. First, they must determine the threat faced by aircraft and seagoing vessels both enroute to their destinations and once they arrive. "It is just as important to maintain the security of forces from hostile attack while they are in transit as it is once they arrive at their destination," explained Robert Moorehead of the directorate's strategy and requirements office. "It is our job to make sure our forces make it there safely."

Secondly, USTRANSCOM's intelligence professions are responsible for the complex task of determining the capacity and availability of the transportation infrastructure in the part of the world where forces need to go. Before a force of any size can enter a region, the intelligence directorate must determine whether the roads, airports and seaports in the region can support the requirements of the mission. Unlike the days of the Cold War, when U.S. intelligence forces focused their analytical efforts on specific geographical areas, today's strategic climate requires our forces to be prepared to operate in any region of the world with little advanced notice. For those in the field of intelligence, this task becomes increasingly difficult when, as has often been the case in recent operations, USTRANSCOM is directing the movement of forces into undeveloped regions or places where U.S. forces have not previously operated.

This very scenario unfolded when USTRANSCOM received the order to support the emergency humanitarian relief operation into the central African nation of Rwanda. Since U.S. forces had not previously operated in the region, virtually no transportation intelligence was available. Shortly after the crisis arose and it was determined that the U.S. would provide assistance, the intelligence directorate was asked to provide all pertinent information on every airport, seaport, road and waterway from one coast of Africa to the other leading into Rwanda. To fulfill this request, they had to start from scratch.

The quickly-assembled team began by learning the military requirements of the operation, such as just how many troops, and how much equipment and relief supplies were expected to enter the region. With this knowledge, the team contacted other intelligence centers within the Department of Defense (DoD) that could help. They sent requests for information to agencies such as the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Defense Mapping Agency to obtain any information already available on the region. They also worked closely with U.S. European Command's Joint Analysis Center in Molesworth, England, which also had been tasked to support the operation. For certain information, they turned to the operational specialists at places such as Air Mobility Command headquarters, who translated raw data about airfields into useable information, such as the number of airlift aircraft that could actually operate at a given airfield at one time.

For some essential information, the team required "human eye" analysis. The actual condition of specific roads, airstrips, navigational aids, and other key elements could be determined only by up-close investigation. The value of this work became clear in many cases. One particular airfield under consideration for the operation appeared in available references as useful for the task; however, a survey of the sight revealed that the airfield and its surroundings had been converted into a pasture and cornfield.

As the five-person team assigned to the task gathered the required information, they compiled it into a comprehensive crisis planning document, which provided USTRANSCOM's senior leadership the knowledge of the region necessary to support the relief operation. They completed the entire document within 21 days of the original request.

Examples such as this highlight the need for transportation intelligence to both predict and respond to global contingencies. When the need for USTRANSCOM to move forces to an overseas location arose, the intelligence directorate must respond as quickly as possible with the information necessary to support the operation. This effort is helped greatly if research on the region of crisis or contingency is done before the need to transport forces to the region arises. This means that USTRANSCOM must be able to predict where the next crisis or contingency will occur and maintain accurate knowledge of the availability and capacity of the transportation infrastructure in that region. To do this, the intelligence directorate constantly tracks as many as 20 to 30 global "hot spots," areas where armed conflict or a humanitarian crisis could potentially occur. As rapidly as regional events and conditions around the world change in today's environment, so must the lift of hot spots evolve, often from week to week, to reflect those changes.

"Predictive intelligence is quickly gaining prominence throughout the scope of our activities here," explained U.S. Air Force Col. Eric C. Peterson, director of the intelligence directorate. "USTRANSCOM's senior leadership is emphasizing they need to know where we are most likely to go in the near future, and we are working hard to answer that question."

At the heart of the directorate's operations lies the USTRANSCOM Joint Intelligence Center (JICTRANS). Responsible for the production of detailed analyses of transportation facilities throughout the world, the JICTRANS brings together in its 14,000 square-foot complex, start-of-the-art computer technology and a corps of professionals who possess a rare expertise. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Barbara E. Mays, who has the demanding responsibility of commanding the JICTRANS, explained that only the members of the JICTRANS and a small group of analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., possess expertise in transportation intelligence. "Less than 70 people in the world know how to do the work we do here," said Mays. "We are quickly becoming the focal point from transportation intelligence throughout the Department of Defense."

The JICTRANS performs its functions in close coordination with the rest of DoD's intelligence community, as one of ten such joint intelligence production centers that serve the entire DoD. Each of the other eight unified commands, which, like USTRANSCOM draw together forces from each service under one command authority, have functioning intelligence production facilities similar to the JICTRANS. The Defense Intelligence Agency is the 10th center. In addition, each service has its own intelligence production center to address issues specific to their service's concerns. Each center has its specific responsibilities, and they rely on each other for the information they need from outside their areas of expertise; however, unlike the intelligence center of most other unified commands, who have geographic responsibilities, the JICTRANS provides transportation intelligence covering the entire globe.

An operation currently underway called Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) illustrates the global nature of the JICTRANS' responsibilities. CTR is a program by which the United States and the republics of the former Soviet Union are destroying portions of their arsenals of nuclear weapons and launch vehicles. As a part of the program, the U.S. is providing to the four republics where the nuclear systems reside heavy equipment and machinery not otherwise available in the former Soviet Union. This requires USTRANSCOM to direct the movement of large construction and destruction machinery and materials from their manufacturing sites in the U.S. to the destruction sites throughout the four republics.

The JICTRANS provided information concerning the transportation infrastructure in this region, which helped to solve a variety of operational difficulties. Once again they were dealing with a region where U.S. forces had no previous experience. They also had to contend with problems of disrepair throughout the regional infrastructure and a level of technology not at par with current Western standards. Similar to the example of Rwanda, the JICTRANS assembled a team of specialists, who were able to provide to the CTR program managers within USTRANSCOM comprehensive road and railway maps, together with locations and capabilities of airfields and seaports in the region.

To support complex operations of this nature, the JICTRANS relies on expertise from a variety of backgrounds, both military and civilian, spanning each branch of the armed forces. At present, the staff of the JICTRANS consists of 84 people, 69 of whom are active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, and civilian intelligence specialists. The remaining 15 are reservists currently on duty, who come from across the U.S. In fact, as explained by Mays, the JICTRANS relies heavily on its reserve component, drawing upon personnel from 11 different reserve units nationwide.

The intelligence directorate is currently exploring ways to harness information management systems technology to further expand the reserve contribution. Along with the traditional practice of serving periods of time on active duty at USTRANSCOM, in the future reservists will be able to submit their work to the JICTRANS by specialized computer links from their home stations.

All of the efforts of USTRANSCOM's intelligence professionals come together to support the command's strategic vision, to provide the United States with the ability to transport its forces anywhere around the globe. "The strategic mobility our command provides has become the cornerstone of this nation's military strategy, in peace and war," said Mays. "Those forces can't function if we don't know what is going to meet them along the way and once they get where they are going. It is our job to make sure that isn't a problem."

-- END --