Intelligence Chief in Afghanistan Calls for Overhaul

100102-A-6365W-265Major General Michael Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Afghanistan, recently published a report with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) which examines the flaws in intelligence analysis in Afghanistan and what should be done to fix the problems. The report, titled “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,” focuses on the target centric approach currently employed by analysts in Afghanistan and the lack of focus on non-enemy focused intelligence.

Major Gen. Flynn’s use of a think tank to publish his suggestions for fixing the intelligence effort in Afghanistan is certainly unexpected. Tom Ricks, a senior fellow at CNAS, said “As I understand it, the paper was released through CNAS because Gen. Flynn wanted to reach beyond his own chain of command and his own community and talk to people such as commanders of deploying infantry units about what kind of intelligence they should be demanding.”

Major Gen. Flynn suggests the following changes to the current intelligence structure:

1) Allow select analysts to move in the field to visit information collectors

2) Use information that is available from ‘open sources’, including PRTs, Afghans, NGOs, UN, HTT and infantry soldiers, among others

3) Analysts should operate on geographic rather than functional lines to ensure continuity and completeness of analysis

4) Analysts will provide information to “brokers” at the regional command level who will be responsible for dissemination

5) Assign analysts and information brokers to Stability Operations Information Centers

6) Information Centers will be cooperate with the senior civilian representative of the State Department

7) The best and brightest analysts should be chosen to work in the Information Centers

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