Posted by lex, on October 2, 2006
“Intel drives operations.”
For a certain Marine Brigadier General of my acquaintance, that sentence was pretty much axiomatic. So it was with interest that I read this Washington Times article about noted muddy-boots snake eater LGEN Stanley McChrystal – the SOCOM commander so invested in his peoples’ success that he often accompanies them on the battlefield. He “goes on raids,” the linked article says, and personally headed out to witness the site where Abu Mus’b al Zarqawi, that rude beast, shuffled off these mortal coils the better to catch the judgment train.
However his presence might contribute (or not) to the morale of those highly trained field operators, this little plum from within the article makes an interesting point: When you’re hunting bugs, it’s useful to know where they hide. For that, you need tactical intelligence.
The “intel groups” represent part of Gen. McChrystal’s domain. He oversees a task force that includes JSOC, as well as a special intelligence group that specializes in intercepting communications and the “Night Stalkers” aviation unit. The group is augmented by intelligence officers, including the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.
The task force’s special intelligence unit cinched the kill. Once Jordanian agents identified Zarqawi’s clerical adviser, a frequent visitor to the al Qaeda in Iraq leader, the intelligence unit used special technical means to track his whereabouts. On June 7, the unwitting accomplice ended up on the front door of the terrorist’s hide-out. JSOC has used the technical means to track and capture scores of Zarqawi henchmen.
Hats off the to the quiet professionals of the military and civilian intelligence services: They don’t pull the trigger and they don’t point the weapon – they point the warriors.
Nothing good happens without them, and they’re damn good at their jobs. Having seen what they can do, I know that I would never know a moments rest if a team of these folks had it in mind to do me in.
Intel drives operations. And it never sleeps.