I market these as facts but that’s not completely true. In reality they’re my opinions, which just so happen to be facts. My hope is to candidly describe the basic functions and purpose of an intelligence cell at the tactical level in a deployed environment. This one comes from an analyst’s perspective, and not one of a collector.
Former intel folks, this is one you probably won’t want to read, or will no doubt roll your eyes at while reading. For non-IC folks, hopefully this will shed some light on the highly mysterious and veiled world of intelligence.
Bias aside, intelligence is a critical function.
I’m currently working in a capacity for the Department of Defense which requires me to perform all-source analysis of intelligence information that supports Force Protection of US personnel and assets at a forward operating location in Southwest Asia. I do this by working with a small cell whose sole purpose in life for six months is to do what I just mentioned. Pretty straightforward mission, and a critical one at that.
What does that mean? It means our interdisciplinary cell (you could use “fusion cell” here as well) analyzes ground threat reporting, performs intelligence preparation of the operational environment, provides force protection indications and warnings, and ultimately, works to identify emerging or imminent threats to US personnel and assets to our location so the mission can continue unimpeded by various threats. All of this combined helps solidify intelligence as a function critical to mission success.