Military Intelligence Data Must Be Applied More Strategically

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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A massive flow of big data sometimes masks the big picture in defense.

Having vast amounts of intelligence data will not serve U.S. military needs if it is applied only tactically, according to a U.S. Navy information dominance leader. This data must be used to understand an adversary’s strategic intent, or leaders may not act effectively.

Rear Adm. Paul Becker, USN, director for intelligence, J-2, Joint Chiefs of Staff, raised that issue during the Wednesday morning keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego. Adm. Becker warned that military leaders must be able to glean a deep understanding of an adversary’s mindset, strategy and intent. “We often are at an information deficit in that area,” he stated.

“If we don’t understand an adversary’s strategy, we might view their actions as random acts,” the admiral explained. “So, we might respond with random acts.”

Adm. Becker cited China as one country that should be viewed through a strategic lens. He pointed out that China views its actions as part of a grand strategy of “rejuvenation” by 2050. The United States should understand that, he declared.

This is vital for efforts to engage in meaningful dialogue with China, the admiral continued. For example, China is planning deterrent actions. Yet, their definition of deterrence may be different from that of the United States.

“We need to engage in meaningful dialogue on our terms based on knowledge,” Adm. Becker declared.

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