The Pentagon needs to pursue new policies and information technology that promote the fusion and sharing of intelligence information, according to a new U.S. Defense Department report that details dozens of deficiencies and lessons learned over the past 10 years of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the number of joint operations increases over time, DoD needs to “develop a strategy for best meeting ISR and information requirements of military forces,” says “Decade of War, Volume 1. Enduring Lessons From the Past Decade of Operations.”
DoD also needs to increase access to expeditionary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and “improve training of personnel on available ISR capabilities to operations.”
The Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis (JCOA) division of the Joint Staff reviewed 46 “lessons learned studies” that were conducted between 2003 and today, finding 11 “strategic themes” while putting together the 50-page report. The group’s findings were discussed in May with experts during a DoD “Decade of War” conference.
The report lists dozens of ways to improve on the missteps in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The study found the military performed well during major combat operations at the onset of both wars, but did not have plans in place for transitioning power.
The U.S. government ignored the early signs of insurgency in Iraq, and was too focused on a “long-term, state-of-the-art national infrastructure,” the report states. The military did not “accurately define the operational environment [which] led to a mismatch between forces, capabilities, missions, and goals.”
Intelligence gathering was often hindered by a misunderstanding of the operational environment and the application of an approach suited to a traditional adversary. The Pentagon and other government agencies also lacked proper collaboration and information sharing.
Also, DoD needs to build relationships with a broad range of experts from other government agencies, think tanks, academia and the private sector to “leverage their insights and expertise to inform and tailor approaches,” the report says.