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Expert Organization Soothes Transformation Growing Pains

The lines between intelligence, operations and planning continue to blur as the U.S. military expands its efforts to integrate the three disciplines. By combining personnel from the three fields within joint centers at the national, command and tactical levels, the U.S. Defense Department aims to transform how missions are undertaken. Appropriately, the command designated for joint operations is leading an effort to help other commands consolidate their vital functions in these centers.

Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence staff members analyze satellite images at the command’s Joint Intelligence Operations Center–Transformation (JIOC-X).
The JIOC-X provides the U.S. Defense Department with a unique capability to conduct joint operational intelligence concept development, experimentation and training.
Lessons learned, best practices and experiments connect dispersed groups with same goals.

The lines between intelligence, operations and planning continue to blur as the U.S. military expands its efforts to integrate the three disciplines. By combining personnel from the three fields within joint centers at the national, command and tactical levels, the U.S. Defense Department aims to transform how missions are undertaken. Appropriately, the command designated for joint operations is leading an effort to help other commands consolidate their vital functions in these centers.

The Defense Department has mandated that each combatant command establish a joint intelligence operations center (JIOC) for bringing together representatives of the intelligence, operations and planning communities to improve the integration of intelligence with the two other fields. JIOCs are designed to transform intelligence operations to meet combatant command requirements and will conduct intelligence operations that respond to current conflicts and prepare for future battles. JIOCs also will create interdependent operational information capabilities at the Defense Department, combatant command and operations levels and will ensure that all sources of intelligence are made available across the military.

In addition to the combatant command JIOCs, a Defense JIOC (DJIOC) is being established at the Defense Intelligence Agency. JIOCs also are being developed at the tactical levels.

Although all the combatant commands have established at least rudimentary JIOCs, many still are working on making their capabilities more robust. To improve the standup process and to ensure that all JIOCs operate under a set of standards, the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence launched JIOC-Transformation (JIOC-X). The transformation JIOC supports the DJIOC and the combatant command JIOCs by conducting concept development, experimentation and joint training as well as by incorporating lessons learned and producing assessments.

Van Garraghty, JIOC-X laboratory director, explains that his organization seeks to transform how intelligence, operations and plans personnel work together to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. The changing nature of warfare from the Cold War to the Global War on Terrorism requires the shift. According to Garraghty, in the Cold War targets were easy to find but difficult to kill. In the war on terrorism, the adversaries are hard to find but easy to target. “One of the key aspects of the JIOCs is to put intelligence in the hands of the operators and the warfighters in time to make a difference,” he says.

Garraghty states that when the undersecretary of defense for intelligence directed the establishment of the JIOCs, it represented a change in defense intelligence operations. The focus adjusted to determining the best methods to operationalize intelligence and to place it under joint force commanders. This recognized that in today’s warfare environment the joint force commander must have access to intelligence and the ability to act on it in real time.

The notion of JIOCs is a direct result of how adversaries have changed over the years, and it represents a fundamental improvement and a way ahead for the defense intelligence community to operate in a new environment, Garraghty shares. He envisions a more agile intelligence enterprise that provides joint force commanders an operational arm. JIOC-X offers the venue for other JIOCs to experiment with different organizations, technologies, techniques and concepts of operations.

Garraghty believes that JIOC-X is extremely important to the effectiveness of the other JIOCs because it helps them to ensure that they are interdependent, networked and able to share information in real time to fight a responsive global enemy, which is imperative to their success. “The process has to be as agile as our adversaries,” he says. JIOC-X provides a common link among the disparate JIOCs. It looks at best practices, lessons learned and solutions working in one theater and develops doctrine, training curricula, tactics and procedures to make the solutions applicable in multiple theaters, he asserts.

All the combatant commands have stood up their JIOCs, but they have until December 31 to finish the establishment process. However, Garraghty explains that the Defense Department recognizes that even after that date the JIOCs will undergo changes because of the transformational nature of the centers. In addition to their organizational components, JIOCs represent a cultural shift and a new state of mind. Service members must learn and accept that JIOCs allow them to accomplish the mission more effectively.

Joint interagency task forces operations are cited as a best practice for JIOCs. In those task forces, the key stakeholders and others supporting the mission at diverse levels locate at one place and organize to meet a specific mission in real time. JIOCs aspire to operate in a similar fashion.

In addition to helping stand up the JIOCs, the JIOC-X staff is focusing on various fusion concepts. Many mission-centric focus teams are concentrating on a specific problem set. The concentration allows the fusions cells to be effective and responsive to the joint force commanders. JIOC-X aims to take that notion and move it up to an operational level. “That is going to be a key area of work,” Garraghty states. The process involves creating joint management teams that coordinate the activities of national intelligence with tactical and operational problem sets.

Although JIOC-X became fully operational in October 2006, personnel began the groundwork earlier by conducting a baseline assessment team survey that recommended what a functional model for an ideal JIOC would resemble. The survey described positions, functions and rudimentary processes. Staff then tested the survey results in two Urban Resolve 2015 experimental exercises at JFCOM’s Joint Futures Laboratory. The lessons learned were incorporated into a baseline JIOC concept of operations, which the military still uses as a repository for lessons learned and to reflect best practices.

A major goal of the joint intelligence operations centers is to put intelligence in the hands of operators and warfighters in a timely manner.
Garraghty states that combatant commands are raising a multitude of issues they would want an entity such as JIOC-X to address. In addition, JIOC-X can assist the combatant commands with difficult matters that the commands might not have the time or resources to address as they focus on their other missions and requirements.

JIOC-X aims to stay connected with the combatant commands and their problem sets. One way it strives to accomplish that is by setting up field experiments. Garraghty explains that he and his team are pulling in some data feeds from forward theaters of operations and are working on cutting-edge toolsets and processes to determine whether they will add value in the theaters.

JIOC-X is assisting the establishment of core functions at capabilities at the DJIOC as well as the combatant command JIOCs. It also has a key relationship with the military services, and it works to improve how the JIOCs interact with the service intelligence capabilities. Ideas, requirements and solutions move both up and down through the JIOC levels. Plans at the DJIOC might filter down to lower level JIOCs, or vice versa.

DJIOC and combatant command JIOCs have different missions, but both aim to improve intelligence. DJIOC has an assignment to coordinate national intelligence support. The combatant command JIOCs are responsible not only for conducting intelligence operations but also for the operational planning process, and they are fully integrated into the operations and planning piece of missions. “That’s where the commander is making his decisions,” Garraghty explains. Units at the tactical level already have integrated operations, plans and intelligence. Up the chain, these processes tend to separate into functional disciplines and some of the synergy is lost. Garraghty says that JIOC-X wants to institutionalize the mesh of the three disciplines.

While personnel from JIOC-X are working with the combatant commands to help their JIOCs stand up in the context of the current defense situation, they also are developing a vision for future operations. Teams from JIOC-X visit the combatant commands and other subordinate unified commands to identify what works well in theater. The teams bring back the information to JIOC-X to share with other commands then go back to the theater to tell personnel what they need to work on. JIOC-X is participating in the establishment of the U.S. Africa Command as well.

The JIOC-X office hosted a symposium in January to meet with the combatant commands to discuss the JIOCs. The commands and JIOC-X also stay in direct contact via routine video teleconferences and other virtual methods. In the next six to nine months, Garraghty expects to set the vision for the JIOCs and start addressing their effects on joint-task-force-level operations.

Currently, the standup of JIOCs begins with transforming the operational intelligence portion of a combatant command. Personnel are determining how intelligence, operations and planning staff can be integrated and can work as a more cohesive team. Garraghty says that in the JIOCs the intelligence, operations and planning staffs are indistinguishable.

To accomplish its mission and goals, the JIOC-X staff reaches out beyond its own approximately 34 members to collaborate with a variety of partners. “JIOC-X is really a matrixed organization where we work across JFCOM staff codes,” Garraghty explains. This teamwork allows JIOC-X to take advantage of the expertise of other people and organizations.

Garraghty states that JIOC-X works with all the combatant commands and has not been in existence long enough to have worked more with one than with another. However, the JIOCs are at different levels of readiness. A team from JIOC-X recently traveled to U.S. Forces Korea, a component of the U.S. Pacific Command, and Garraghty says they are at the cutting edge of integrating intelligence, operations and planning. “The other [combatant commands] are at various degrees of maturity,” he shares. “It’s just unique to each theater.”

As personnel at JIOC-X continue to consider plans and procedures, they also are examining the technologies best suited to accomplish the mission of the JIOCs. They are working with the Distributed Common Ground System communities to incorporate that network-centric architecture with the JIOCs. The Defense Intelligence Agency is the lead in finding the architecture that will underlie the JIOCs through regional service centers. JIOC-X also is working with the joint command and control community on network-enabled command and control.

Garraghty is interested in adding a training element to the JIOCs to assist commanders with their methods. Joint force commanders now have to recognize both operational means and organization that will generate intelligence.

Similarly, new skill sets are necessary for those working in JIOCs as well. Garraghty shares that some commands believe they need additional people to staff the JIOCs, but he believes that training is more important. An experiment JIOC-X wants to conduct examines whether JIOC directors should be from either the intelligence, planning or operational fields or should they be a new type of leader with background in all three disciplines. Garraghty says that a JIOC does not necessarily mean an addition in personnel, but it does require an enhancement of current capabilities.

Web Resources
Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence: www.jfcom.mil/about/fact_jtci.htm
Joint Futures Laboratory: www.jfcom.mil/about/fact_jfl.htm
U. S. Forces Korea: www.usfk.mil/USFK/index.html
Defense Intelligence Agency: www.dia.mil