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.
More from CNAS
CommentaryA fresh approach to peace in Afghanistan
An effective peace process is possible and desirable in Afghanistan. Success, however, will require a careful, step-by-step course to test bona fides, build confidence, reduce...
By Earl Anthony Wayne & Christopher D. Kolenda
CommentaryTrump was right to abandon the Taliban peace deal. Here’s what a good one would look like.
Two months after President Trump declared U.S.-Taliban peace talks “dead,” diplomacy with the Afghan insurgents is reviving. With the administration already having negotiated ...
By David H. Petraeus & Vance Serchuk
CommentaryThe U.S. Military is Not, and Can Never Be, Afghanistan’s Police
In 1829, the father of modern policing, Sir Robert Peel, established “Peel’s Principles” to describe the role of police at large. Almost 200 years later, policing has changed ...
By COL Sarah Albrycht
PodcastEnding the war in Afghanistan
Christopher D. Kolenda joins The World and Everything in It to discuss the latest developments in talks between the United States and the Taliban. Listen to the full conversa...
By Christopher D. Kolenda