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SIGINT organization and systems validation

Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) strategies

SIGINT capability as a deterrent

SIGINT Organization and Systems Validation

The Gulf War presented the first opportunity for the Military Intelligence community to validate its post-Vietnam era SIGINT organization for combat and collection systems.  In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army disestablished the Army Security Agencyxx to pave the way for the introduction of Division and Corps level multi-disciplined intelligence collection and analysis organizations.xxi  Most would agree the newly organized Division and Corps level SIGINT support to commanders was a vast improvement over its Vietnam era counterpart, thereby validating the way ahead for this new concept of SIGINT support on the battlefield.  Similarly, the Gulf War presented the U.S. Army with a superb opportunity to field test its post-Vietnam era SIGINT collection systems as well as to experiment with new systems.  On balance, the Division and Corps level SIGINT collection capabilities met the expectations of commanders and validated continued refinement of established collection systems such as the AN/PRD-10/11, AN/TRQ-32, AN/MSQ-103 and AN/TLQ-17.  In terms of new system experimentation, one system failed to meet expectations of the intelligence community, “Dragonfix” the U.S. Army’s newest High Frequency collection asset, where it was concluded this type capability was no longer a requirement on the modern battlefield and the program was eliminated.xxii   In the wake of the Gulf War, the U.S. Army validated its Division/Corps organization for combat as well as its tactical SIGINT investment strategy for the future.

Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) Strategies

The Gulf War presented a number of complex challenges to SIGINT professionals, paramount among them was the inability to collect every signal of interest on the battlefield.  Given the rapidly evolving nature of technological change, SIGINT professionals recognized the U.S. intelligence community was entering into a technological era where the acquisition of SIGINT collection systems would never keep pace with emerging technology.xxiii  Simply put, the five to seven year Department of Defense acquisition cycle could never keep pace with the stark reality of the Moore’s Law dictum which posits technology doubles every 12 to 18 months.  This enduring lesson led to more aggressive pursuit of research and development, coupled with commercial off the shelf acquisition policy, which was widely acknowledged within the SIGINT community as the road ahead in the SIGINT collection discipline.

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