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[infowar.de] Information ist vital für US-"Sieg"
Mal eine interessante neue Bedeutung von Info-Superiority und des ganzen
"Intelligence, Reconnaissance, Surveillance"-Buchstabensalates der
letzten Jahre Infowar-/RMA-Debatte. Unter einem transparenten
Schlachtfeld hatte man sich da aber noch was anderes vorgestellt.
September 25, 2001
Information Is Vital To U.S. Victory
By Andrea Stone, USA Today
WASHINGTON ? In America's newly declared war on terrorism, the most
critical weapon in its military arsenal is not a lethal force of
commandos or precision-guided missiles. It is information. The
Pentagon's intelligence forces are preparing to fight a war unlike any
other. Long accustomed to counting weapons, monitoring troop movements
and identifying the enemy's chain of command, the Pentagon's massive
intelligence apparatus must now hunt down a shadowy web of terrorists in
Afghanistan who keep moving to new hiding places in caves and tunnels.
"Good intelligence is a precondition for victory," says John Pike,
director of GlobalSecurity.org, a defense research group. "You cannot
win without it."
Military intelligence, known as MI within the Pentagon, has "seldom been
deployed against this kind of intelligence target," says Michael
Vickers, a former CIA officer who is now a defense analyst at the Center
for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank.
"There's not a huge track record."
MI has tracked down unconventional foes before. It helped locate
Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, who was killed by Colombian troops
in 1993. That same year, it provided information to help U.S. forces
surprise several top lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid
in a raid in the capital, Mogadishu. But the firefight turned into a
deadly ambush of U.S. forces that left 18 Army Rangers dead.
Now, MI must find Saudi exile Osama bin Laden and his alleged terrorist
network, which is said to be operating in as many as 60 nations,
including the USA. They are "the hardest kind of target," says Martin
Faga, former head of the Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office,
which builds and operates spy satellites. "They have no economy to
watch. They don't have large caches of large-scale weapons. They're not
operating ships. They have relatively few people who are loosely linked
and nomadic. It's the needle in a haystack case."
Much of the finger-pointing over the attacks Sept. 11 on New York and
Washington has been directed at the CIA, FBI and other civilian
intelligence agencies. But the vast majority of U.S. surveillance and
intelligence gathering is done by the Pentagon. From the secretive
National Security Agency (NSA), the nation's electronic eavesdropper, to
the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, America's eyes in space, to
individual service branches that count ships, aircraft and troop
formations, the Pentagon generates 90% of U.S. intelligence, Pike says.
The Defense Intelligence Agency, which lost seven employees when one of
the hijacked jetliners crashed into the Pentagon, coordinates the
military effort. It shares information with the CIA's Counterterrorism
Center, a clearinghouse for all government agencies.
"Terrorism has been on our radar screen for years," says retired
three-star general Claudia Kennedy, who was deputy Army chief of staff
for intelligence until last year.
MI has "been obsessed with Afghanistan for the last few years," says
Charles Heyman, editor of Jane's World Armies. He says U.S. intelligence
not only knows the locations of a dozen terrorist training camps there,
but has detailed information on Taliban leaders, weapons and tactics.
Much has been gleaned from foreign intelligence services, including
Pakistan's. MI officers also are consulting with veterans of the Soviet
Union's disastrous 10-year war in Afghanistan. What Russia and former
Soviet republics in Central Asia learned about Afghan guerrilla fighting
techniques and the country's harsh terrain will prove invaluable for
special forces commandos tracking down bin Laden and his adherents.
Defense analysts say those forces are likely already in Afghanistan
collecting information from the opposition Northern Alliance.
Even so, "It's as easy to lose yourself in the mountains as in the
jungle," Russian Lt. Gen. Russlan Aushev, a decorated veteran of the
Afghan war, told the Associated Press in Moscow last week. He said U.S.
forces will find bin Laden "only if they're ready to go over (200,000
square miles) rock by rock."
A former CIA officer in the region says recent satellite photos show
that pickups previously spotted at suspected terrorist training camps
are no longer there, an indication that bin Laden's followers have
dispersed into the country's labyrinth of mountains. The alleged
terrorists also have turned off cellphones and other electronic devices
to foil the NSA's ability to listen in. Bin Laden is believed to be
using couriers to communicate with his cohorts.
Analysts say America's sophisticated listening and imaging satellites,
U-2 spy planes and other high-tech intelligence gathering tools are
ill-suited to tracking an enemy that has no armored columns or hardened
bunkers. Nor are they very useful in finding small, moving targets in a
timely enough manner to destroy them. That was demonstrated in the
Kosovo war, when U.S. bombs destroyed fewer than 20 Serbian tanks even
as they obliterated large, fixed targets such as command centers and
factories. It also was made clear after the bombing in 1998 of U.S.
embassies in East Africa when cruise missiles hit Afghan training camps
that had been abandoned just hours before.
Finding bin Laden and his followers in a country the size of Texas will
not be any easier this time.
That's why "the first thing we want is persistent surveillance over the
battlespace to see who's who and where's where," says Christopher
Bolkcom, a military aviation analyst at the Congressional Research
That may be best done with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) packed with
surveillance equipment that can provide live images. Saturday, the
country's Taliban regime claimed its troops shot down a UAV in northern
Samangan province. The Pentagon confirmed that it had lost contact with
a drone over Afghanistan.
Defense researchers are developing less-visible "micro" UAVs, but they
are years away from being used in the field. Even if they were
available, miniaturized sensors are no replacement for spies on the
"In an unconventional war, they are worth their weight in gold," says
Kenneth Allard, a former Army intelligence officer.
If U.S. forces are to prevail over terrorists in Afghanistan and
elsewhere, they will need informants who can give accurate,
up-to-the-minute information about where to find them.
"That is horrendously difficult," Heyman says. British and U.S.
intelligence agencies have recruited some spies, but Heyman predicts few
will want to join them. "It's dangerous and difficult" work, Heyman
says. "If you get caught, you will be killed. Horribly."
Nevertheless, analysts say, MI officers are likely combing Afghan
refugee camps in Pakistan for those with information about bin Laden's
whereabouts or those willing to find out. Pike expects bribes to
persuade some in the tribal nation to help U.S. forces: "We'll be
counting on local warlords to turn him in or turn the other way."
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