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and ears of the commander.  SOF and LRSD soldiers became well sensitized to the challenges of operating in a desert environment.  In the wake of the Gulf War, these lessons resulted in vastly improved tactics, techniques and procedures for operating in an environment as austere as the Iraqi desert.

Every Soldier on a Battlefield is a HUMINT Collector

The U.S. had an immensely sophisticated intelligence collection plan in place during the Gulf War, but this does not negate the fact that warfighting commanders have a clear responsibility to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance missions in their own assigned sector with their organic assets (e.g., scouts).  After all, every soldier on a battlefield is a HUMINT collector capable of providing the pieces of the puzzle necessary to fully develop the situation on the ground.  Many military professionals believe that far too many commanders exhibited what amounted to a “fox-hole mentality” when it came to intelligence collection operations during the Gulf War.  Many commanders literally expected to be spoon-fed a complete intelligence picture of their area of operations.xvii  During OPERATION DESERT STORM, a number of maneuver commanders were reminded of the doctrinal notion that describes the flow of intelligence as a two-way street, or, a push-pull concept.  Tactical and theater level commanders, as well as the national intelligence collection systems, must perform intelligence collection in a manner that minimizes redundancy, maximizes efficiency and complements each other.  The Gulf War served to underscore that old cavalry maxim, “scouts out!,” where commanders recognize their inherent responsibility to reconnoiter beyond their own berm to develop situational awareness in their sector.  At its bare essence, this is a “dog-eat-dog intelligence gathering situation… units are doing their best to find out what the enemy has while preventing the enemy from knowing what they have.”xviii


OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/STORM presented the opportunity for the U.S. Intelligence Community to showcase the most sophisticated SIGINT system the world has ever seen.  “Spy satellite intercepts of Iraqi military communications gave U.S. Generals a capability their predecessors could only dream about – the ability to track just about every important military action Iraq undertook.”xix  The U.S. SIGINT community was additionally credited with producing a great deal of precious warning and reporting with regard to SCUD missiles.  While the SIGINT collection discipline received relatively high grades in the wake of the Gulf War, there was a common recognition that the system could be further improved.  These enduring lessons can best be summed up in three broad categories:

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