DESERT SHIELD.iii Across the breadth of the U.S. combat formation, U.S. intelligence staffs were augmented with coalition intelligence liaison officers. Conversely, the U.S. provided intelligence liaison officers to augment several coalition intelligence staffs. The exchange of intelligence liaison officers greatly enabled the entire coalition to possess a clear and accurate intelligence picture while simultaneously fostering a team environment. Indeed, the Gulf War served to underscore the fact that the U.S. intelligence community could not go it alone in the modern era of coalition military operations.
ANALYSIS OF U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS – SEAMLESS, ECHELONED SUPPORT
Most military professionals would probably agree that the U.S. intelligence effort was an unqualified success during OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/STORM. The Department of Defense’s Report to the Congress stated, “no combat commander has ever had as full and complete a view of his adversary as did our field commanders… This success reflected investments in technology and the efforts of thousands of U.S. intelligence professionals.”iv
The 2 August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait clearly caught many U.S. policymakers and national intelligence community professionals off-guard.v Nonetheless, so began the most massive U.S. military deployment, and subsequent combat operation, since World War II. The massive initial deployment and follow-on combat operations levied monumental requirements on the U.S. national intelligence community. To its credit, the national intelligence community responded quickly with decisive, aggressive, and perhaps most importantly, innovative intelligence collection, analysis, production and dissemination measures to support warfighting commanders forward-deployed in U.S. Central Command’s area of operations.
The U.S. intelligence community immediately initiated an ambitious effort, fully energizing the national system to collect and disseminate intelligence of potential value to both policymakers and warfighters alike. It is important to note that the leadership of the U.S. intelligence community pledged early on to directly support tactical commanders in the field. It is precisely this notion of national level intelligence support to the operational commander that marked OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/STORM as a true watershed in the history of the U.S. intelligence community. Fortunately, the national intelligence community vigorously applied valuable lessons learned during its previous U.S. military combat experiences in Grenada and Panama where it was generally concluded that national-level intelligence support to tactical commanders was a far cry from being timely, relevant and accurate. From the outset of hostilities, the U.S. national intelligence community rallied to support the complex and