Standing Outside the Wire

January 4, 2010
By Katie Packard

What does the United States need to make its efforts in Afghanistan successful? According to SIGNAL's newest Incoming columnist, Dr. Linton Wells II, the answer is sharing unclassified information--a key channel to allowing the United States and its coalition partners to reach the populations they're trying to help. Wells argues that unclassified situational awareness--and the communications networks to share it--are critical enablers. He says:

Responsible unclassified information sharing offers huge benefits in virtually all operations in which we're likely to be involved. There always will be security concerns-often legitimate-but the benefits of a responsible sharing environment need to be weighted heavily against visceral inclinations to protect. The underlying point remains that the United States and its partners cannot achieve their social, political and economic goals without effective ways to engage outside the wire.

Do you agree with his assessment? Do you think the potential security concerns outweigh the benefits of sharing unclassified data? Is there another way to make efforts in Afghanistan successful?

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