Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR
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.
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
Each of these demanded new perspectives on the
intelligence mission and the manner in which we collected and
reported military information and intelligence.
- The stability of the Bosnian Federation.
- Predictive intelligence information concerning the
- Political issues concerning the three former warring
- The possibility of tampering with mass grave sites
identified by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
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
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.
- The combined J2 (CJ2), the Allied Forces Southern
Europe (AFSOUTH) Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, a
Turkish brigadier general.
- A director (essentially the deputy), usually a U.S. or
British colonel or lieutenant colonel.
- Two or three Joint Operations Center (JOC) intelligence
watch officer-briefers, from the entire range of participating NATO
- A tasking coordinator, a U.S. or Canadian major or
- An intelligence noncommissioned officer (NCO), normally
a British signals intelligence (SIGINT) sergeant augmentee.
- A British, Italian, or U.S. administrative NCO from
the AFSOUTH staff.
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
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
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
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.
- A quick analysis of the activity of the last 24 hours.
- A 72-hour assessment looking ahead through the next three
days in theater.
- A special assessment, usually long-term and predictive in
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
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
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]