A senior commander told us that human intelligence in Iraq has improved from 10 percent to 30 percent. Clearly, U.S. intelligence agencies can and must do better. As mentioned above, an essential part of better intelligence must be improved language and cultural skills. As an intelligence analyst told us, “We rely too much on others to bring information to us, and too often don’t understand what is reported back because we do not understand the context of what we are told.”
The Defense Department and the intelligence community have not invested sufficient people and resources to understand the political and military threat to American men and women in the armed forces. Congress has appropriated almost $2 billion this year for countermeasures to protect our troops in Iraq against improvised explosive devices, but the administration has not put forward a request to invest comparable resources in trying to understand the people who fabricate, plant, and explode those devices.
We were told that there are fewer than 10 analysts on the job at the Defense Intelligence Agency who have more than two years’ experience in analyzing the insurgency. Capable analysts are rotated to new assignments, and on-the-job training begins anew. Agencies must have a better personnel system to keep analytic expertise focused on the insurgency. They are not doing enough to map the insurgency, dissect it, and understand it on a national and provincial level. The analytic community’s knowledge of the organization, leadership, financing, and operations of militias, as well as their relationship to government security forces, also falls far short of what policy makers need to know.