Earlier this year, the Department of Defense (DoD) conducted an investigation to assess the standards and communication processes of the different intelligence units in the U.S. military. More specifically, the DoD investigated all the geographic combatant command joint intelligence operations centers (JIOCs) and intelligence directorates.
JIOCs are responsible for the planning, coordination, and integration of all intelligence operations within each combatant command. Each combatant command organizes, trains, and employs its JIOCs depending on its needs and the conditions of its area of operations (AO). Alongside military personnel, the JIOCs include civilian government employees, most of whom are assigned from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The investigation included the Africa Command (AFRICOM), European Command (EUCOM), Central Command (CENTCOM), Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command (NORAD/NORTHCOM). What they found is troubling.
The report states that, upon arriving at their respective units, numerous military analysts didn’t have formal training compliant with the ICD 203 Analytic Standards. These are the standards that analysts use to evaluate and produce intelligence analyses. According to the report, the blame lies with the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence for not producing a common analytic training standard throughout the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
Furthermore, AFRICOM, EUCOM, and NORAD/NORTHCOM didn’t have a formal analytic integrity policy. This means that analysts would produce intelligence products that might have been influenced by their social, ethnic, racial, political, and religious biases.
Finally, the report found that NORAD/USNORTHCOM’s intelligence review process varied across the command’s units. This means that an Air Force unit stationed in Alaska would use different intelligence procedures than a Navy unit stationed in California.
The report concludes by stating, “Without formal training on analytic standards, and standardized processes and procedures for analytic integrity and production review, there is less assurance that senior intelligence leaders, supervisors, and intelligence analysts will continue to be successful mitigating potential analytical integrity issues.”
As far as recommendations for improvement, the report urges the DoD to examine the intelligence training and education that all new intelligence analysts receive before being assigned to an intelligence unit and conducting analyses. Moreover, the report suggests that AFRICOM, EUCOM, and NORAD/NORTHCOM immediately establish an analytical integrity program.
The report came in the wake of a previous investigation of CENTCOM’s management procedures. That investigation (Report No. DODIG-2017-049) found numerous management gaps that negatively affected the command’s efficiency and effectiveness.