January 04, 2010

Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan

By Matt Pottinger, Michael T. Flynn and Paul D. Batchelor

This report critically examines the relevance of the U.S. intelligence community to the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. The authors - Major General Michael T. Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Afghanistan; his advisor Captain Matt Pottinger; and Paul Batchelor, Senior Advisor for Civilian/Military Integrations at ISAF - argue that because the United States has focused the overwhelming majority of collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which U.S. and allied forces operate in and the people they are trying to protect and persuade.

Quoting  General Stanley McChrystal, the authors write that "Our senior leaders - the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the President of the United States - are not getting the right information to make decisions with ... The media is driving the issues.  We need to build a process from the sensor all the way to the political decision makers."  

This report is the blueprint for that process.  It describes the problem, details the changes, and illuminates examples of units that are "getting it right."  It is aimed at commanders as well as intelligence professionals in Afghanistan, the United States and Europe. 

Authors

  • Matt Pottinger

  • Michael T. Flynn

  • Paul D. Batchelor

  • Commentary
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    For nearly 20 years, the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan has been sustained by a single, vital national interest: the clear and present danger of another September 11–like at...

    By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk

  • Commentary
    • Austin American-Statesman
    • March 10, 2020
    The Afghan peace deal and its eerie parallels with Vietnam

    Last month marked a potential turning point in America’s 19-year war in Afghanistan. In signing a landmark peace agreement, the United States and the Taliban paved the way for...

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Podcast
    • March 4, 2020
    Veterans Of Afghanistan Conflict React To Negotiations Between U.S. And Taliban

    Afghanistan war veterans react to the U.S.-Taliban accord signed over the weekend — one that would start an American troop withdrawal. Listen to the full conversation o...

    By Dr. Jason Dempsey

  • Podcast
    • February 25, 2020
    Countering Terrorists From Afghanistan to Cyberspace

    From serving as a counterterrorism analyst for the Pentagon in Afghanistan to working on security issues at Facebook, Kara Frederick has spent her entire career confronting Am...

    By Kara Frederick & Ilan Goldenberg

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