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Fitting Intelligence to the Fight: Lessons from Afghanistan[i]

By J. Katz and David J. Katz [ii


The types of information needed by the military to conduct population-centric counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan shares little in common with intelligence used for lethal targeting. Years into the Afghanistan campaign, recognition that success required effective population-centric interventions prompted a redirection of intelligence assets to focus more on acquiring detailed sociocultural information about target populations. Other reforms have sought to remedy information deficiencies by revamping the assumptions and concepts that frame the analysis of populations, their identities and attitudes and the socalled “hearts and minds ” efforts seeking to change them. These adjustments during a campaign are welcome but still fall short of supplying information that can confer a strong confidence in the success of these non-kinetic activities. Appreciation of the inherent limits to the information and the level of confidence that it confers for such activities needs to be brought into the planning and execution of population-centric interventions of any ilk, whether stability operations, counter-insurgency or humanitarian assistance, regardless of their size and political significance. Fitting Intelligence to the Fight As we head for the exits in Afghanistan, reflecting on our performance there yields value if i

Topics: American Security, a Washington think-tank, titled, Fixing Intel, A Blueprint for Making Intelligence
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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