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fetter integration of intelligence and strategy is Necessary if U.S. troops are to be successful in a ^ulti-threat world. More exposure to regions where future conflict is likely— here, U.S. troops aid Kurdish refugees in Iraq—
,s one way to help military leaders and planners auticipate enemy perspectives and actions.
Military strategy and military intelligence should be intertwined, especially now, when the world seems full of conflict. The purpose of strategic Planning, after all, is to anticipate those factors that are keys to successful campaigning—to guide intelligence , Sphering. In addition to assessing enemy capabilities, intelligence complements planning by finding clues to enemy intentions and by giving our planners some idea °f what the enemy thinks we will do.
Can this fruitful back-and-forth relationship exist where Pie threat is not clear or where it constantly changes? Some historical examples show us that it can.
One example is Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in DeCember 1941. Why was the strike a surprise when both Hie U.S. and Japanese navies had been planning for the Possibility of war for decades? One answer is that U.S. Navy planners had focused on how to move their forces across the Pacific, against the Japanese. As the Navy s War Plan Orange shows, Navy planners assumed Japan "'ould strike at the Philippines and then go on the defensive, leaving the U.S. Navy to fight its way back across lhe Pacific in the teeth of Japanese defenses.1
U.S. intelligence on the Japanese fleet seemed to support the planners’ expectation that it would be the U.S. Navy that would take the offensive. The older Japanese aircraft carriers Kaga and Akagi, for example, were estimated to have steaming ranges less than half that ot the C.S. carriers Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3). This, c°upled with data that showed the Imperial Fleet lacked
a large fleet train, suggested that the Japanese navy could not conduct major offensive operations far from Japan.
In 1941, however, two developments upset the foundation of Orange war planning. The first was the gradual coming together of a coalition (British, Dutch, Australian, and U.S.) against the Japanese. U.S. naval leaders hardly regarded the new arrangement as a coalition; they saw it, instead, as a threat to the unity of U.S. forces in the Pacific. They feared that a coalition command would scatter U.S. naval units around the Southwest Pacific in a vain effort to help the British and Dutch stop Japan from conquering Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. They wanted to keep U.S. naval forces in the Pacific concentrated.
The Japanese fleet commander, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, saw things differently. His task was to support the Japanese army in its campaign to capture the Europeans’ colonies in Southeast Asia. He also needed to carry the army to the Philippines to defeat U.S. forces there and secure Japan’s sea links to her newly conquered territories and to shield Japan from direct attack by U.S. forces.
He did not know that the Allied coalition was shaky politically and of dubious military value. He feared that capturing Southeast Asia would take so much of his available force that not enough would be left to fight off the U.S. forces based in Hawaii. To give him the chance to achieve all his missions, he sent his carriers on a surprise attack against Pearl Harbor. His objective was to sink or cripple the U.S. Navy’s carriers and other heavy units; he did not want them to threaten his main thrust.
The second development that changed the strategic situation in the Pacific was the long range of Japanese naval aviation (both land- and carrier-based). Once the Japanese went on the offensive, their greatest military problem was gaining air superiority over many places at almost the same time. They needed to be able to control the air over all their major targets, from Singapore to Manila. Their emphasis on longer ranges (at the expense of protection) in their naval aircraft made this achievable. U.S. military leaders in the Pacific didn’t understand this.
Proceedings / June 1993
In 1941, Admiral Yamamoto developed his plans with inadequate intelligence on the intentions and capabilities of the coalition facing him. But he knew he had to grasp and hold the strategic initiative, and that is what he did.
Admiral Husband Kimmel, commanding in Hawaii, planned for war in the dark. He was unable to put himself in his opponent’s place and see the situation from that perspective. He failed to get a comprehensive assessment of Japanese capabilities from his intelligence staff. No one seems to have asked a very important question: What is the relationship between the growing range and striking power of naval aircraft and the strategic situation in the Pacific?
A more recent example is the bombing of the Marine headquarters in Lebanon in 1983. The enemy wanted a U.S. withdrawal, preferably under humiliating circumstances. How could they get it? By killing a lot of Marines in a surprise attack, preferably by persons unknown. And so the attack was launched as soon as the Marines provided a clear target that could be hit with the weapons in the enemy’s hands. Intelligence reports said an attack was likely, but the enemy’s strategy and the tactic that followed logically from that strategy were not anticipated, especially in Washington. The result was disaster.
The Scud missile threat during Desert Storm is another example. The Scuds were not a serious military problem; they were inaccurate, and there was no evidence that the Iraqis had used them with chemical warheads. Nevertheless, the Scuds were a serious diplomatic and political problem. General Norman Schwarzkopf noted that Israel wanted to route its own attacks on Scud launch sites through Saudi airspace, something he, as leader of an Arab/non-Arab coalition, was desperate to stop.
Iraq’s military strength looked good on paper, but the Iraqis had seen the U.S. intelligence satellites’ capability during Iraq’s war with Iran, and they had to be worried about U.S. firepower. Saddam Hussein’s generals could not expect to overcome U.S. and Coalition air forces to gain and hold command of the air. They had to have other cards to play. One was the threat of chemical weapons. The second was the use of Scuds against Israel. The first threat was one of excessive casualties; the second struck at the Arab/non-Arab coalition.
Iraq’s strategy was to deny the United States the initiative, forestalling defeat while using Scuds to draw Israel into the war. The Coalition planned to use air attacks to weaken Iraqi forces opposite Coalition ground units, and it needed time to make the plan work. Saddam Hussein launched Scuds at Israel to deny the Coalition that time. Had he better understood Hussein’s strategic problem, General Schwarzkopf would have anticipated Iraq's gambit and been prepared for the pressure the government of Israel put on Washington.
Similarly, General Schwarzkopf and his staff were at first puzzled by the flight of Iraqi aircraft to Iran. Was
Hussein’s regime breaking down? Was there a secret deal between Iraq and Iran, to allow Iraqi aircraft to fly ft0111 Iranian bases to attack Coalition forces- Or was Hussein trying to preserve what he could of his air force, hoping the planes sent to Iran would form the core of a postwar contingent? The answer was not clear at the time, but it might have been if General Schwarzkopf had understood Saddam Hussein’s primary goal, which was to survive a defeat with enough of his army and air force intact to hold on to power in Iraq.
U.S. strategy was clear during the Cold War: contain Soviet expansion and deter nuclear conflict. Because the strategy was clear, the purpose of intelligence also was clear: find out how Soviet forces worked and provide adequate warning of any Soviet attack. Now, U.S. strategy varies from region to region, and there is 3 tendency to use intelligence organizations trained i° threat assessment and warning as estimators of changing and uncertain political and social situations.
A better approach is to prepare U.S. military officers to anticipate enemy perceptions. In the war with Iraq, f°r example, General Schwarzkopf and his air component commander, Lieutenant General Charles Homer, were sensitive to the cultures and political views of their Arab allies. They gained that sensitivity by spending time in the region. They used their appreciation of the situation to hold together a very diverse coalition.
The lesson of the Gulf War is that U.S. military leaders and planners need more exposure to areas where re' gional conflict is likely. They need to see and feel what these nations are like, and they need to understand the history of those regions considered most important by the United States. In parallel, military intelligence officers need to be exposed more to operational doctrine and procedures. Intelligence personnel need to be able to think operationally, at all levels. Only then can they understand the perspectives of and the options available to potential enemies. With this understanding, intelligence officers can serve as ideal devil’s advocates for a commander.
During the Cold War, two professionally trained forces confronted one another across the line that once divided Germany. Now, U.S. military forces may find themselves spearheading a U.N. effort or acting on behalf of the United Nations in mediating a civil war (i.e., Yugoslavia) or a civil breakdown (i.e., Somalia). If they are to perform these tasks well, U.S. officers and troops must be given the chance to learn how their opponents will think and act. They must be party to a fruitful exchange between intelligence organizations and military planners and leaders.
'E. S. Miller, War Plan Orange (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991).
Mr. Hone is currently at the Naval Air Systems Command at Arlington* Virginia. He has been a member of the faculty of the Naval War College and the Defense Systems Management College.