products, rather than just one source, and frequent situational updates that provide the most complete intelligence picture. In OIF, HUMINT was the primary means of detecting and tracking targets—HUMINT drove the targeting process. Finally, the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and targeting processes were well integrated between SOF and conventional forces. SF teams had direct liaison authority with the sector’s conventional forces commander where they were working, and along with imbedded personnel from other government agencies, developed actionable targeting information. This successful integration resulted in the destruction and capture of Iraqi forces. 61
BG Cone, Director of the Joint Center for Lessons Learned at Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), in a lessons learned briefing at the Pentagon, credited SOF with compensating for the loss of access to Iraq via Turkey, with enabling the movement of ground forces, and with how SOF was able to get critical intelligence about changes on the battlefield to leadership. Cone went on to criticize the intelligence available about the enemy when we got into Baghdad, but said that intelligence dissemination and IPB were fairly good. On the other hand, he said our ability to leverage sensors and HUMINT capabilities, while unprecedented compared to Desert Storm, was not equal to the demand for intelligence. Two specific factors were mentioned: time sensitivity and getting the one piece of intelligence out of all that was available to the person who could act on it. 62
MG Renuart, former Operations Director at CENTCOM, sees an important lesson in the lengthy struggle against terrorists. “Nowhere is there complete freedom of action. The US is not all-seeing. And, huge as its military capabilities are, they are not omnipotent. Special forces and secret agents have their limits.”63
Lessons from the Gulf War illustrate that the problem of getting national-level intelligence down to the commander on the ground who can use it is nothing new. “Despite enormous quantities of strategic intelligence gathered by aircraft, satellites, and other means, ground commanders at division level and below complained continually about the lack of information on enemy forces along their route of attack.” 64 Systematic dissemination problems, difficulties refining national level assets for rapidly changing tactical requirements, and poor HUMINT assets all played a part. Add to that the fact that “satellite imagery can provide only a picture of enemy force positions, but not his intentions.”65 The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the era of the global war on terrorism, we have many of the things lower level commanders wished for during Desert Storm, but the complaints sound hauntingly familiar.
The issue of credibility of intelligence, or of the Administration’s use of intelligence, prior to Iraq war, has affected all that followed. Within six weeks of the start of OIF, the search for