February 26th, 2007

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US anti-terror force planned

The Herald (Glasgow) November 15, 2002

Pg. 16

Ian Bruce

AMERICA'S military special forces and the CIA are to set up a joint team of covert counter-intelligence agents to be known as the "proactive pre-emptive operations group" for secret missions targeting terrorist leaders.

The group of about 100 is to include experts in behind-the-lines intelligence gathering, computer hacking, and other clandestine skills dating back to the days of the cold war.

The PPOG, funded from an increased special operations budget, would be under the direct control of the White House and would carry out missions co-ordinated either by the Pentagon or by CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, is also considering a request for extra cash which would almost double the current (pounds) 3.5bn annual budget for conventional special forces.

Although the special operations command lists 47,000 personnel on its books, only about 7000 are actual "shooters" and the vast majority provide logistical and technological back-up. Delta force, America's equivalent of the SAS, has only 600 elite troopers in its ranks.

The war on terrorism and the need to commit large numbers of men from the command in Afghanistan, Yemen, Colombia, the Philippines, Georgia and now the Persian Gulf has put a strain on the scarce combat elements of the command.

General Charles Holland, the air force officer who leads what the rest of the US army calls the "snake-eaters", wants cash and resources to recruit and train another 9000 men and women. About 1500 to 2000 would eventually raise the command's behind-the-lines capabilities.

Opponents claim that to increase the size of the regiment would be to dilute the exceptional skills of those who make the grade to become troopers in its ranks.

The FBI has received unconfirmed information from intelligence sources overseas that hospitals in four US cities could be terrorist targets.

Bob Doguim, Houston FBI spokesman, said the vague threat involved hospitals in Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington and mentioned a time between December and April.

"It's non-specific, uncorroborated information, but nonetheless it is information we received," Doguim said.

He said the threat mentions the possibility of anthrax or explosives.

The Chicago FBI office said the threat suggested an attack was timed for mid -December.

Panel wants $7bn elite counter-terror unit

United Press International

September 26, 2002, Thursday


The United States should create an elite group of counter-terror operatives to make the war on terrorism pre-emptive and proactive, duping al Qaida into undertaking operations it is not prepared for and thereby exposing its personnel, a Pentagon report advocating more than $7 billion in new spending will recommend.

United Press International has exclusively obtained documents summarizing the report of the Defense Science Board, which will be publicly released in late October, after it has been presented to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The report, which reads in parts like a fantastical "spy vs. spy" manual, will also advocate tagging key terrorist figures with special chemicals so they can be tracked by laser anywhere on Earth; creating a special SWAT team to surreptitiously find and destroy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons all over the world; and creating a "red team" of particularly diabolical thinkers to plot imaginary terror attacks on the United States so the government can plan to thwart them.

These recommendations and many more comprise the report by the DSB, a panel of private industry executives that advise the Pentagon on technologies, threats and policies. The report outlines billions in new spending on counter-terror operations and an expanded new role for Joint Forces Command in preparing the military for urban battles. The report is entitled "Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism."

The counter-terror operations group alone would require 100 people and at least $100 million a year. Rather than simply trying to find and foil terrorists' plans -- the approach that characterizes the current strategy -- the "Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group" -- known as P2OG -- would devise ways to stimulate terrorists into responding or moving operations, possibly by stealing their money or tricking them with fake communications, according to the report.

The group would be comprised of specialists in information operations, psychological operations, computer network attack, covert activities, signal intelligence, human intelligence, special operations forces and deception operations.

The Defense Department already maintains a secretive counter-terror operations group known as Delta Force that is called in when a crisis happens; P2OG would focus its efforts on preventing those crises from even occurring in the first place.

The DSB is recommending the group be headed not by the Pentagon but by the White House's national security adviser's staff, a suggestion that is meeting some resistance in the Defense Department, according to sources close to the matter.

Rumsfeld has not been briefed on the report yet but many of his top generals have, including U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks, who is running the war against al Qaida in Afghanistan.

One of the most costly recommendations is an overhaul of the intelligence community's ability to penetrate terrorist cells to collect information. The technologies and methods to do so are classified in the report, but the price tag is not: $1.7 billion over a 5-year period beginning in 2004.

The panel also envisions a new breed of chemical and DNA tags to identify and track terrorist leaders. Agents could infiltrate terrorist groups and swab leaders' clothes with chemicals that would make them "light up" under a laser tracker. A DNA database could be created to track the same people by collecting samples of biological material from objects and papers handled by the targets.

The DSB would also convene a panel of some 24 creative, highly respected analysts -- and even people like author Tom Clancy who show a talent for dreaming up possible scenarios of destruction -- who would plan "as terrorists might" ways to attack the U.S. homeland and forces overseas. Funded at around $20 million a year, the panel would report their detailed plans to the CIA director. They would also report on what to look for in someone who is planning such an attack -- what materials are being purchased, what countries are being visited, and who would be contacted.

The panel would also create a team of specially trained special forces soldiers able to search out and take offensive action against suspected nuclear, chemical or biological weapons sites, offer force protection for U.S. soldiers nearby and "consequence management," like enforcing quarantines. That effort would cost about $500 million a year and U.S. Special Operations Command would be in charge.

That team would need a new set of battlefield sensors to determine when the weapons are being used, according to the DSB. Currently there are no tactical nuclear detectors that operate kilometers away from detonation -- a safe standoff range; no clandestine chemical detectors that operate kilometers away; and no biological agent detectors that operate at safe distances.

"No matter the sensing, 'agent defeat' (destroying or vitiating the effect of chemical or biological weapons) is critical and requires additional resources," the report states.

The Defense Science Board advocates $1 billion a year for research and development in sensor and "agent defeat" technologies.

Special Forces, the centerpiece of the war in Afghanistan, would move firmly to the center of military operations as the global war on terrorism continues, according to the DSB.

The panel sees Special Forces increasing the number and scope of exercises it conducts with conventional forces; increasing its size by about 2 percent a year; and dramatically increasing its budget.

Special operations is also one of the few ways that U.S. allies can offer comparable capabilities: Eight countries contributed special forces to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

The costs of improving Special Forces' equipment, larger exercises and increasing international cooperation are in the "billions," according to the report.

The war on terrorism presents an intelligence challenge unlike anything the United States has seen before, and the Defense Science Board responds by suggesting the creation of a force of former intelligence retirees who could be recalled to duty instantly when a surge capacity of intelligence workers is needed. They would be called to active duty at least once a year and participate in counter-terror intelligence exercises -- a total effort that would cost about $100 million a year.

The counter-terrorism capabilities resident in the military services and intelligence agencies would be enhanced by the addition of 500 people over the next 18 months who would "focus on understanding effects of globalization, radicalism, cultures, religions, economics, etc., to better characterize potential adversaries." For the personnel increase and the technical capabilities they would need, the bill could rise to $800 million.

The panel would also add $200 million to the Joint Warfare Analysis Center -- a cell of about 500 planners and target analysts in Dahlgren, Va. -- and Joint Forces Command's net assessment center. The panel also recommends establishing other similar centers to support targeting of terrorist organizations and their supporting infrastructures.

Once the terrorists are found, the battles that ensue are likely to take place in urban environments, something for which the U.S. military is woefully underprepared, according to the DSB.

The entire spectrum of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance would be invigorated with an infusion of $1.6 billion per year over the next six years, with the emphasis on tying together unmanned aerial vehicles, manned platforms, space-based sensors and databases into a seamless whole. The money would also be invested in developing "a rich set of new ground sensor capabilities" that would be specially focused on watching small terrorist cells.

While the U.S. experience in Somalia in 1993, immortalized in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down," spurred more urban-operations training, the DSB asserts that there remain significant problems in doctrine, training and technology. It recommends creating a dedicated urban training range on the West Coast, similar in function to the Army's National Training Center in California. Training would emphasize small unit action, leadership initiative and flexibility and low-level control of supporting fire -- that is, having relatively junior members of the military decide how much back-up fire they need, when and where.

That effort would require $300 million a year for the next six years. Joint Forces Command, now charged with experimentation in military concepts, would be put in charge of research and development of technologies and tactics in urban warfare. Like U.S. Special Forces Command, it would be given a separate budget it could invest however it deemed necessary, without relying on the military services.

In fact, the report recommends that Joint Forces Command should be given power over the military services' command and control investments, to ensure that all will be using interoperable equipment, enabling joint operations during war and exercises.

Intrinsic to urban warfare would be the development of a detailed database of most of the cities in the world where troops might be engaged, with GPS coordinates marking key structures and roads. The database would be constantly updated. It would come together in a three-dimensional display showing buildings, including windows and doors, streets and alleys and underground passages, obstacles like power lines and key infrastructure like water and communications lines.

The Defense Science Board also believes the military's "rear flank" -- protecting its people, forces, critical infrastructures, and ability to mobilize forces safely -- needs a great deal more attention.

"Increase 10-fold over three years the people and resources devoted to assessing vulnerabilities of our DOD force projection capabilities and critical infrastructure," the report recommends.

The report also suggests conducting an extensive vulnerability assessment on military posts and mobility routes. Together the efforts would cost more than $250 million.


Inside Missile Defense

October 2, 2002

Vol. 8 No. 20

An influential panel of Pentagon advisers is advocating the creation of a "proactive, pre-emptive operating group" of high-level officials to dream up ways to antagonize and expose terrorist organizations and their leaders.

In a new study that was briefed in August and September to senior Defense Department officials, the Defense Science Board says the "new, elite" group would further President Bush's push to root out terrorists and those who harbor them around the world. Its formation is one of many recommendations advanced by a DSB task force set up by the Bush administration to study how to improve special operations and joint forces for the war on terrorism.

The DSB study also advocates a dramatic overhaul of many intelligence functions as well as a healthy increase in funding for human intelligence operations and efforts to learn more about potential adversaries. Further, it advocates giving special operations forces a "more central role" and augmenting their numbers by making more traditional units "SOF-like," according to the briefing and a task force official.

The overall goal is a to get DOD to view the war on terror "as seriously as it takes the likelihood and consequences of major theater war," according to a "final outbrief" obtained by sister publication Inside the Pentagon.

An official involved in the study told ITP that DSB task force members were struck by a "ho-hum" attitude held by some in government regarding the war on terror. "We're saying it's very serious," the source said, noting that the task force's recommendations carry hefty price tags -- a total of several billion dollars a year in additional money if all were implemented.

"Yeah, it's a lot of money," the official said, but the stakes are as high as at any point during the Cold War. "It's a big deal."

Among the task force's major concerns are the Defense Department's command, control, communications and computers abilities; the charts state DOD is "still struggling to get joint C4 right." Moreover, Pentagon processes are "overly focused on materiel," and both DOD and intelligence community "processes and cultures remain input- rather than product-oriented."

Similar issues are being debated in Congress and within the military. Lawmakers are in the throes of an exhaustive review of pre-Sept. 11 intelligence capabilities and failures while the intel community is embarking on a number of efforts designed to improve its reaction times and interoperability -- including a push to beef up human intelligence efforts.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently instructed senior officials to make interoperability of U.S. forces a top priority, with a new agency for interoperability a serious possibility. Key to Rumsfeld's concern is joint command and control problems.

The DSB summer study has not yet been briefed to Rumsfeld or reached Capitol Hill, but it has been seen by incoming U.S. Joint Forces Command chief Adm. Edmund Giambastiani, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane and others.

The task force envisions a greater role for JFCOM in the war on terror, and Giambastiani, a DSB official said, "thought it was absolutely fabulous" and asked for additional briefings. Also pleased were Keane and the director of the joint staff, the source said.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Pete Aldridge, who commissioned the study along with outgoing JFCOM chief Gen. William Kernan, could be briefed soon. The recommendations contained in the final outbrief, however, will be rephrased and made less prescriptive, the official said. "We're going to leave most of this" up to DOD, he added.

'Raise hell' with terrorists One of the bigger ideas Aldridge and Rumsfeld will learn about when briefed is the Proactive, Pre-emptive Operating Group recommended by the DSB task force. The P2OG, which the science board says should report to the National Security Council's top counterterrorism official, would "stimulate reactions" and help prepare the battlespace for "pre-emptive options and actions," according to the DSB study briefing.

The group would aid in combating what the task force calls the "toughest challenge" in the war on terror: identifying and finding terrorist networks. The briefing likens the search to Cold War anti-submarine warfare efforts in its complexity and difficulty, with "very small 'signals' hidden in massive clutter and noise."

"We need to get these people where we can see them," a task force member told ITP.

The group would not be an operational unit; rather, it would come up with ways to "expose" and "raise hell" with terrorists -- "coordinate it, get it approved and then send the action item" to special operations forces or other appropriate personnel to carry it out, the official said.

Possible ways to "stimulate the terrorists to make stupid moves" include "stealing their money" or forcing them to move their headquarters, he added.

The P2OG could also play a role in signaling to "harboring states" that "their sovereignty will be at risk" unless they stop aiding terrorists.

The special operations executive in the NSC would define a national strategy for the group and its activities, coordinate its actions, "enunciate" policies and "execute [according] to a plan coordinated with the [defense secretary] and [director of central intelligence] as appropriate," the briefing states.

The task force estimates the formation of the group would require 100 "new" people and $100 million per year for operations and support. Those named to the group should possess "unique technical and intelligence skills" in areas such as information operations, psychological operations, network attack, covert activities, signals and human intelligence, special operations and "influence warfare/deception operations," the briefing states.

Hand in hand with the P2OG idea is the task force's recommendation for a major upgrade and overhaul of human intelligence capabilities. "Develop new capabilities, sources and methods to enable deep penetration of adversaries," the briefing states.

New "clandestine technical capabilities," greater emphasis on counterterrorism covert action and "close target access," and new modes and methods for covert operations are urged. Classified charts in the briefing go into greater detail, the DSB source said.

To bolster government HUMINT capabilities, the task force advances the idea of an intelligence "surge/unsurge" capability -- a "robust, global cadre of retirees, reservists and others who are trained and qualified to serve on short notice, including expatriates." This group could be pressed into service during times of crisis.

The task force urges the government to "make investments now" in this area, keeping the surge cadre up to speed through gaming exercises at least annually.

It also recommends keeping the focus on so-called "tier 4" countries where counterterrorism operations may be necessary. "Contracted roles" for industry, university and think tank personnel should also be mulled. Specialists in several areas, including special operations, languages and personnel recovery, should be sought out.

DOD and Congress would have to work out the details of how reservists and others could be called up and then released during "unsurge" periods, the briefing states.

Together, the HUMINT and surge cadre recommendations carry a price tag of $1.8 billion per year beginning in fiscal year 2004, the briefing states.

Broader intelligence changes recommended by the task force include a "new and larger analytic workforce with skills and innovative tools focused on counterterrorism."

The briefing also urges greatly improved customer access to intel data. One way to do this, it suggests, is through the formation of a DOD-CIA group tasked to define a path to achieve a "truly joint, interoperable CT common operating picture."

"Converge large e-gov programs currently under way in SIGINT and IMINT for improved customer access to intelligence data," it adds. "Pursue an integrated family of 'small terminal programs' for field/small-unit access to intelligence data (data, imagery, etc.) -- smart push and pull."

An intelligence analyst who has reviewed the study briefing told ITP it advocates "intelligence reform on every level -- organizational, doctrinal, technological.

"I was wondering who, if anyone, was out there trying to think innovative thoughts about intelligence," he added. "It didn't seem to be CIA or Congress. I guess the answer is -- DSB."

Finding terrorists' weapons of mass destruction is another thorny problem the task force says could be addressed through greater intelligence capabilities and more proactive methods of "finding the enemy." Pervasive and persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- from space, aircraft and other sensors, including a number of new technologies advocated by the task force -- is key, as is more centralized planning and coordination of architectures, the briefing states.

The development of a persistent ISR network carries a price tag of $1.6 billion over the next six years, according to the DSB.

While DOD has instituted a system of civil support teams in 32 states, more are needed; the panel believes a significant expansion of counter-WMD efforts is necessary. Its briefing calls for a greatly expanded National Guard and reserve role, improved training and equipment to further its goal of a robust counter-WMD consequence management capability.

The DSB also advocates a new WMD "red team" dedicated to planning -- "as terrorists might" -- ways to attack the U.S. homeland or targets overseas. Counter-WMD efforts advocated by the task force could cost $1.5 billion per year.

SOF and 'SOF-like' The "guts" of the task force briefing, according to a member, is its section on special operations forces. The study advocates overhauling current relationships between special ops and conventional forces by suggesting an "SOF-centric" approach to certain scenarios.

While special ops forces support conventional warfighting units today, the task force says the military should prepare them "to be the supported command in at least some phases of future campaigns." As part of this push, the Pentagon should enhance the "robustness" of its theater special ops commands and joint special ops task force headquarters and expand exercises and training with conventional forces, the briefing states.

The Washington Post reported Sept. 18 that DOD would begin to give U.S. Special Operations Command control over war on terror operations, making it the supported command in certain cases.

SOF capabilities should also be brought to bear to a greater degree in preparing the battlefield, the DSB adds: "Focus SOF worldwide day-to-day presence to exploit human and geographic access in potential crisis locations" and "exploit SOF's inherent intelligence collection capabilities."

These efforts would require only a "modest" increase in SOF personnel -- about 2 percent per year. A "substantial increase in equipage," however, would be needed in such areas as blue-force tracking, sensor emplacement, common operating picture efforts, communications and "special mission aircraft, maritime and ground mobility."

These upgrades would cost "billions" of dollars, the briefing adds.

While special ops forces wouldn't need significantly more personnel, the task force does believe the military overall needs "far more people" in this area, which it could get "by augmenting with non-SOF" forces, the DSB official told ITP.

"Improve selected conventional capabilities to support SOF-centric operations," the briefing states. "Accelerate development and fielding of specialized capabilities" -- including remote fires and aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- "in selected conventional forces.

"Have conventional forces with requisite capabilities assume missions currently being performed by SOF," it concludes.

Among the candidates for greater "SOF-like" capabilities are the Army's 82nd and 101st airborne divisions, the DSB official said.

Special ops forces and planning should also be coordinated better with allies. SOF represents "one of few areas where allies can be near-peer partners," the briefing states.

Nearly all of the task force's recommendations could be put to the test through extensive joint experimentation and training. To that end, the briefing recommends the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "formally and visibly recognize JFCOM's new focus."

JFCOM will be key to the development and fielding of more adaptive and capable joint C4, help ensure jointness and interoperability at all levels, and turn lessons learned into real change. The latter goal could be served by making the Joint Center for Lessons Learned subordinate to JFCOM, the briefing states.

JFCOM was recently named the DOD executive agent for joint urban operations. This move is applauded by the task force, which also urges better military operations in urban terrain training and improvements in technologies that will help U.S. forces fight in cities -- the "most likely terrorism environment and the one for which we are least prepared," the briefing states.

To fulfill the new responsibilities recommended by the task force, JFCOM should be given appropriate resources and control over them, it adds, calling for $300 million a year over the next six years to "create infrastructure to enable new capabilities in urban operations" and provide JFCOM what it needs as executive agent.

Going beyond the language of the briefing charts, the DSB official said the command needs a "complete change" and a "more focused role" to better aid the United States in its global war on terror. -- Daniel G. Dupont