Moving in together aids intel integration in UK

Place matters -- that’s the lesson British officials learned from efforts to fuse diverse intelligence capabilities into a single, collaborative entity.

That’s why the British Defence Ministry is building a facility to house the newly created Joint Forces Intelligence Group at a Royal Air Force base in Cambridgeshire, north of London, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach said Oct. 10. The Pathfinder Building, named after World War II bomber pilots who led other bombers to their targets, is expected to be fully operational in January.

The Joint Forces Command, which Peach leads, is responsible for all intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance networks and platforms in the British military. This, he said, is by design as well – meant to fuse different ways of understanding into a single useful intelligence product.

“One product, one place has to be put in the context of the decider” whether a single soldier or whole nation, he told attendees at the GEOINT 2012 Symposium in Orlando, Fla. “Putting product into context around the world is really very important and should be a part of our tradecraft.”

Peach said military leaders should embrace all types of intelligence to better understand how to operate. As examples, Peach cited the application of geospatial intelligence to understand how people live in Afghanistan so military planners can reduce civilian casualties, and the monitoring of social media as part of security preparations for the London Olympics.

 “Understanding in advance of an event what social media is telling you is a crucial element” that intelligence professionals need to understand and make a part of tradecraft, he said.

About the Author

Charles Hoskinson is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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