Combined Joint Intelligence in Peace Enforcement Operations

by Lieutenant Colonel George K. Gramer, Jr.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. The challenge to provide intelligence to the commander is not isolated at tactical units or just with the United States Army. In Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) faces a unique intelligence challenge. It is developing tactics, techniques, and procedures to ensure that the Commander, IFOR (COMIFOR), receives the proper level and amount of intelligence to accomplish his mission. This article will examine several aspects of IFOR combined and joint intelligence in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Collection Priorities

Intelligence is for the commander. The COMIFOR was extremely cooperative in approving and updating the commander's critical information requirements and priority intelligence requirements. The dynamic situation in the former Yugoslavia demanded continual refinement and proper articulation of IFOR requirements to higher as well as subordinate headquarters. The nature of the Bosnia-Herzegovina peace implementation scenario dictated that these requirements focus on both traditional and less traditional intelligence requirements. Force protection for IFOR personnel and the safety of personnel working for non-governmental organizations was always paramount. Close behind in importance was entity compliance with the General Framework Agreement for Peace, also referred to as the Dayton Peace Accord. Intelligence and operational information on compliance issues was the predominant topic of daily reporting and briefings at the four-star level, and was generally the most easily obtainable information through military intelligence (MI) collection capabilities.
There were, however, several areas in which traditional MI collection capabilities were less prepared to collect. They included
Each of these demanded new perspectives on the intelligence mission and the manner in which we collected and reported military information and intelligence.

Split-Based Out Of Necessity

Although originally envisioned as a robustly staffed headquarters, necessity dictated that Headquarters (HQ) IFOR maintain an austere seven-person intelligence staff consisting primarily of augmentees from the participating NATO countries. The Sarajevo intelligence team comprised
Also on the intelligence books but working for the Combined J3 (CJ3) Operations Directorate were three intelligence planners.
Due to the small Sarajevo staff, the AFSOUTH Intelligence Directorate in Naples with about sixty assigned personnel became the de facto split-based intelligence rear support element (IFOR Rear). Most important, AFSOUTH provided the pool of qualified personnel, principally augmentees, who deployed into Sarajevo for two- to six-week work rotations in the CJ2. Further, the permanent staff in Naples was able to provide the long-term assessments, collection management, counterintelligence and force protection support, briefings, and staff actions. This enabled the CJ2 staff in Sarajevo to perform its indications and warning functions and meet the day-to-day current intelligence needs of the COMIFOR.

Differences in Personnel

NATO and IFOR nations' intelligence personnel differ in their training and experience and how they employed their NCOs. Each member of the intelligence team had differing background skills and strengths in intelligence. This ranged widely from the completely untrained to the MI officer with extensive formal schooling. The latter were generally the Canadian, British, and U.S. personnel. Regardless of parent Service or rank, however, most NATO nations provided quality personnel to support the HQ IFOR and AFSOUTH intelligence missions. Because of the austere personnel staffing, the CJ2 could not afford to retain those who could not contribute fully in Sarajevo. The lesser qualified remained in Naples and participated from there.
Only the United States and the United Kingdom (UK) provided intelligence NCOs to AFSOUTH. Because most of the other IFOR nations did not have a developed, professionalized NCO corps, there was hesitancy to use the NCOs in HQ IFOR to the extent they would be in a headquarters comprised of only U.S. or UK personnel. All of the NCOs contributed significantly and could well have contributed as much as the commissioned officers present. However, their duties were limited in scope and level of responsibility by the overall NATO tendency to inhibit the role and responsibility of NCOs.

Personnel Qualifications

Knowledge of both English and automation was essential. The single most critical requirement for personnel assigned to the COMIFOR's intelligence staff in Sarajevo was the ability to read, write, brief, think, and react in the English language. All briefings and reports to COMIFOR were in English; to support COMIFOR adequately required a 3/3 English language capability. Second only to English language capability was one's ability to use the automation resources available to ensure mission accomplishment. As with language and intelligence training, the levels of automation skills brought to the table by the team members varied.
At HQ IFOR, the two main automation systems used were the Linked Operation Intelligence Centers Europe (LOCE) and the NATO wide-area network (WAN) E-mail system. The LOCE is definitely not a user-friendly system. It had difficult operating instructions, and the LOCE systems were limited to one at HQ IFOR and two at IFOR Rear. The WAN was at times clogged with message traffic or downed by system mechanical problems, weather, or maintenance. While both systems served well in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, both caused challenges provoking at times extraordinary systems-remediating procedures.
When faced with the dual challenge of operating in a foreign language (English) and operating complicated technical systems for which they had little background, some personnel were clearly in over their heads. They were thus essentially rendered mission ineffective in Sarajevo.

The ARRC INTSUM And Its Impact

The Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) serves as the ground component of IFOR. Without a doubt, the single most important intelligence product in the theater was the daily ARRC Intelligence Summary (INTSUM). This product, released each morning at approximately 0400 hours, was more of an operational INTSUM of the previous 24 hours than exclusively an intelligence summary. In fact, the mix of operational and intelligence information and the INTSUM's rather awkward format made immediate use of the document sometimes difficult at best again impacting the non-native English speakers at HQ IFOR.
With blurred lines of reporting, the ARRC INTSUM often provided better operational reporting than that produced by the ARRC G3. As a result, there was frequent confusion or disagreement in the early morning hours in the HQ IFOR JOC as the CJ2 and CJ3 watch officers debated which directorate would report the information in the JOC Situation Report (SITREP) and in the morning briefing to COMIFOR.
The impact of the ARRC INTSUM was considerable. It was clearly the premier releasable intelligence information in theater. There were other daily products of importance, notably the Joint Analysis Center Molesworth Balkan INTSUM and the ARRC Commander's Assessment Report and SITREP. HQ IFOR also received infrequent products from the national intelligence agencies of several NATO nations,includ-ing the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Unfortunately, most releasable reporting subsequent to the ARRC INTSUM was a regurgitation of the ARRC INTSUM in a variety of other formats. This led to redundant reporting of the same data by multiple reporters which can add an impression of multisource validation. To add to this confusion, some theater and national intelligence agencies reported data as soon as possible, whether corroborated or not, often requiring retractions. There was relatively little analysis or assessment in most of the releasable intelligence products. As a result, some of these products and the intelligence centers producing them were extensively criticized by the IFOR leadership.
A considerable surprise was the paucity of releasable intelligence information reporting reaching the HQ IFOR level considering the presence of nearly 60,000 potential intelligence collectors throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and the array of intelligence assets and personnel deployed in theater. Because all three of the multinational divisions had their own national agendas in addition to their NATO responsibilities, it is likely that significant portions of their intelligence collection were siphoned off to national command channels or national intelligence agencies rather than being reported to the ARRC and HQ IFOR.

Mini Intelligence Fiefdoms

Contributing to the intelligence frustration in the theater was the proliferation of intelligence entities by nations and agencies. At HQ AFSOUTH in Naples, no less than six separate intelligence entities existed in addition to the AFSOUTH Intelligence Directorate. In Sarajevo, there were at least ten national intelligence centers primarily dedicated to providing intelligence releasable only to their own nations. With one exception, these centers were at the ARRC, fifteen minutes across town from HQ IFOR. It was clear that not only were they providing data of limited releasability, their focus was away from HQ IFOR.
Some of these intelligence entities did not even readily and easily share their intelligence information with consumers from their own nations. Three U.S. intelligence agencies shared an office adjacent to the COMIFOR's office. It is natural that COMIFOR, as a senior U.S. flag officer, would rely heavily on his own nation's premier intelligence agencies. Each of these entities ensured that their agency's product was prepared, packaged, provided to, and seen expeditiously by the COMIFOR. Cleared members of the HQ IFOR intelligence and operations staffs, however, sometimes received this information incidentally or accidentally and generally not in a timely manner.

Contributions of the Intelligence Disciplines

Human intelligence (HUMINT) was clearly the number one collector in theater. Nearly one hundred percent of the information in the ARRC INTSUM was from HUMINT collection. Additionally, counterintelligence programs in the ARRC appeared to be robust and fully functioning.
NATO-releasable SIGINT reporting consistently was a day late and a dollar short. It often comprised only marginally useful information as much as three to four days old. SIGINT not releasable to all the NATO and IFOR partners existed in fairly large quantities; however, its limited distribution decreased its ultimate value to HQ IFOR significantly.
Imagery intelligence (IMINT), particularly when applied to intelligence requirements such as mass graves or entity cantonment of major weapon systems was sufficient and satisfactory. It appears, however, that to accommodate NATO national agendas, an excess of tactical reconnaissance assets deployed in theater, and the resultant products were often less than satisfactory.

Change To Predictive Assessment Briefings

The twice-daily briefings to the COMIFOR were occasionally intelligence bloodbaths. It is not that the information provided was necessarily wrong nor untimely. Considering the NATO Confidential/IFOR Releasable information available, the intelligence briefers performed extraordinarily well. Because the COMIFOR and his staff had already received intelligence from U.S. national sources, he could be told little new from existing NATO-releasable information.
The original briefing methodology was threefold: to provide highlights to the COMIFOR, to provide current intelligence information to the HQ IFOR staff, and to obtain decisions from the COMIFOR. By April 1996, however, a change in the way the CJ2 prepared and produced the daily briefing was clearly necessary. The morning production expanded from a summation of the previous night's Allied Command Europe (ACE) Rapid Reaction Corps INTSUM to a three-part presentation consisting of
This major change in our method of presenting intelligence information to the COMIFOR was an impossible task for the seven-person intelligence staff in Sarajevo to do alone. The CJ2 tasked the efforts of the IFOR Rear (AFSOUTH in Naples) to assist the austere forward CJ2 team to prepare intelligence products. This proved difficult on those occasions where the writer-researcher in Naples was not fully up to date on the situation from the Sarajevo perspective. Nonetheless, using this split-based formula, a considerable number of outstanding think-pieces were provided to the COMIFOR and his staff using the full intelligence strength of the AFSOUTH Intelligence Directorate.


Several major points should be examined when NATO ends its mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina in December 1996. Initially, while Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR should have been a come-as-you-are peacekeeping operation, based on the organic expertise, assets, and capability within NATO, it was obvious that HQ IFOR could not have operated day in and day out without heavy, extensive augmentation. NATO must be able to do it on its own in the future without augmentation.
Next, the intelligence assets and their capabilities must match the requirements. Due to the non-military nature of many of the COMIFOR's intelligence requirements, HQ IFOR should have had the ability to impact more extensively on non-military collectors and receive releasable products in return. Concurrently, the abundance of intelligence assets in theater produced a relative shortage of intelligence reporting for HQ IFOR. Further, NATO remains a political organization, and as such, sixteen national agendas must be satisfied. The correct political spin was needed, even on intelligence a product which generally should be devoid of specific political consideration or bias.
Progress is still needed in the classification and releasability of combined-joint intelligence information. Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR led to great progress in information sharing, even with IFOR nations which a few years ago would never have intentionally received NATO intelligence. Today, we should foresee continued combined and coalition operations and plan for future releasability based on that reality. Also, NATO appears to be strengthening its post-Warsaw Pact role in Europe. We must have policies and procedures in place to ensure the widest dissemination of all available intelligence information among the sixteen NATO partners.
Finally, intelligence operations during Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR have been frustrating since the military aspects of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) have been so tremendously successful in part due to outstanding intelligence and operations efforts by all of the IFOR participants. What has been disconcerting remains the much slower accomplishment of the civilian aspects of the GFAP. This is due to political entities which neither respond to nor fully cooperate with the military entities in the theater. The GFAP set up the dual military and political chains of responsibility due to the vast scope of the entire mission requirement. It remains to be seen if the civilian aspects of the GFAP will be accomplished with the alacrity and smoothness of the military aspects, and whether political necessity will dictate some form of continued outside military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the end of IFOR's mandate in December 1996.
Lieutenant Colonel Gramer is the Assistant to the Chief of Military Intelligence, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. From January to June 1996, he served as a watch briefer and intelligence director on the CJ2 staff, HQ IFOR, in Sarajevo. He has had assignments in Panama, Honduras, Korea, and Hawaii, to include Commander, 205th MI Battalion, and Commander, Company A, 102d MI Battalion. He holds bachelor and master of arts degrees in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College. Readers can reach him at (520) 533-1173, DSN 581-1173, and also via E-mail at gramerg%[email protected] huachuca-emh11.army.mil.