Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Price for Lack of Inter-Agency Cooperation

          The idea of structure in the Intelligence Community is one that has been battled with for years. In the arena of terrorism and counterterrorism, it has been proven time and again that a good structure within the community makes all the difference. The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) is no exception. The benefits of the relationship formed between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and JSOC are numerous.

        Each uniform wearing sect of the United States, the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, etc., has their own culture, ideologies and methods of operation. This makes it difficult to work well together. The gaps left in structure by these various cultures begin to affect the outcomes of operations. In the book Spying Blind by Amy Zegart, she points out that 9/11 could possibly have been prevented if only Intel agencies cooperated, worked together and pulled resources. It is also not far-fetched to assume that a lack of inter-agency coordination and cooperation affected the very recent special ops in Yemen.

        In Ackerman's article, How Special Ops Copied Al-Qaeda to Kill It, he explains the level of structure within Al-Qaeda and how that serves as the basis for its 'success' thus far in implementing attacks. Ackerman points out that there is a strategic network system within the organization that allows for effective communication and execution of actions. Due to the different objectives of each military branch or agency, they are all able to focus better on certain components of a mission. Failure to research and share 100% of information found, could jeopardize any given mission. We need to move past suspicion.

        Special Ops Forces are some of the most highly trained individuals who put their lives on the line to collect intelligence, rescue American citizen and keep the United States at large safe from foreign threats. Special Ops Forces require high levels of commitment and seriousness and it only makes sense that they get that back in return. Agencies need to be fully committed when dealing with Special Ops. Lives are on the line and with each passing moment of ineffective organizational structure, the Special Operations Forces suffer more loss of live and more failed missions. With the amount of drudgery that goes into these missions, the best equipment, teams and organizations need to be backing these individuals. Not faulty choppers and subpar gadgets.

        This is not to say that Special Ops have not enjoyed successful operations. They have. It is also not to say that lack of inter-organizational cooperation is the cause of all the mishaps. It’s not.  In the war on terror, they have made their mark, displaying remarkable skills and success over the years. However, American Special Ops can be significantly improved, if uniformity is reached between all Intelligence Agencies and American Forces involved.

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