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INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT TO SPECIAL OPERATIONS IN - page 19 / 35

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weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was well underway. “…U.S. ‘mobile exploitation teams’ and other special forces…visited 90 of the top 150 ‘hot’ sites identified by U.S. intelligence. No wonder Hans Blix, head of the U.N. inspection team, says that what he got from American intelligence was ‘garbage’.”66 Special forces teams spent a lot of time and resources looking for those elusive WMDs, to no avail, when they could have been looking for Bin Laden or Hussein. Was it the intelligence? Or the way the Administration used the intelligence? We may never know.

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence was crucial to identifying and destroying remains a key advantage of

force

protection,

saving

civilian

infrastructure,

and

the Iraqi regime’s center of gravity. the American military over its enemies,

Intelligence as the United

States faces new threats in an uncertain world.

  • CPT Mark Choate

According to the DepSecDef, there were three times the number of Joint Strategic Airborne Reconnaissance System (JSTARS) sorties in OIF compared to Desert Storm, and greatly increased satellite capabilities. “The extensive use of small Special Operations units and ISR connected together by new communications links vastly improved our forces’ knowledge of the location and disposition of enemy forces before and during OIF.”67

SOF teams used satellite communications to talk to air support, to get situational updates and to call in air strikes. Army Special Forces also had connectivity with Navy F-14 Tomcats to improve the speed at which the SOF units received imagery from tactical aircraft in the theater of operations. “The two-way communications system (FTI) allowed the ground troops to send images to the Tomcats, and allowed the Tomcats to send imagery to the ground troops within 2 minutes.”68

LTG Steven Boutelle, the Army Chief Information Officer, acknowledged greatly increased bandwidth requirements during OEF and OIF. He said that commercial satellite bandwidth and terminals are being provided to units because both conventional and SOF signal units need enterprise network connectivity, with voice and data, to national intelligence networks.69

The need to track friendly forces anywhere in the area of operations in order to avoid fratricide was dramatically illustrated in the non-linear battlefields of OEF and OIF. Improvements in technology since Desert Storm allowed the Combined Air Operations Center at the Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to receive intelligence from Afghanistan, 1500 miles away, and track SF teams’ movements.70 “Hundreds of SOF deployed behind Iraqi lines wore Grenadier Beyond Line of Sight Reporting and Targeting

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