USA — Intelligence, Countering Bombs Get Centcom Focus

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 12, 2010 — Coun­ter­ing road­side bombs and improv­ing intel­li­gence efforts are among 10 capa­bil­i­ties the mil­i­tary needs to improve on in the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand area of respon­si­bil­i­ty, Centcom’s com­man­der said here today.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus shared what he said is his annu­al list of Cent­com capa­bil­i­ty short­falls as the keynote speak­er at the 2010 Joint Warfight­ing Con­fer­ence here:

— Coun­terin­sur­gency and human intel­li­gence and their enablers;

— Per­sis­tent intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance, and recon­nais­sance;

— Coun­ter­ing impro­vised explo­sive devices;

— Inte­grat­ed mis­sile defense;

— Coun­ter­ing adver­sary infor­ma­tion;

— Hav­ing a vari­ety of resources to build part­ner­ship capac­i­ty;

— The­ater com­mand and con­trol com­put­er capa­bil­i­ties;

— Bio­met­rics for things like iden­ti­fy­ing insur­gents at check­points; and

— Coun­ter­ing mar­itime mines.

Petraeus did­n’t expand on the capa­bil­i­ty needs, but held a ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion with the audi­ence that includ­ed dis­cus­sions about U.S. rela­tions with Pak­istan, shar­ing infor­ma­tion with allies, and man­ag­ing con­trac­tors down­range.

Asked about U.S. rela­tions with Pak­istan in light of the recent attempt­ed car bomb­ing in New York that inves­ti­ga­tors say is tied to the Pak­istani Tal­iban, Petraeus said the Pak­istani gov­ern­ment has the same ene­my in the ter­ror­ist group and has been work­ing to defeat it.

“There is a com­mon ene­my out there, and we all have to coop­er­ate” in defeat­ing it, he said.

The Pak­istani mil­i­tary proved its resolve when it went after the Tal­iban effec­tive­ly last year in its north­west ter­ri­to­ries, Petraeus said. He added that he was in west­ern Pak­istan last week and two months ago, and that the Pak­istani mil­i­tary was doing a good job of clear­ing the area of insur­gents.

“It’s impor­tant to give Pak­istan cred­it for what it has done,” he said.

Asked about the need to bet­ter share infor­ma­tion with allies, Petraeus said it is a “huge­ly impor­tant” issue that requires a change in phi­los­o­phy. “The ques­tion should not be whether there is a need to know, but it should be is there a need to share,” he said.

The chal­lenge, Petraeus said, is hav­ing con­fi­dence that the allies “will keep it in the right cat­e­go­ry” and will not share the intel­li­gence fur­ther.

The gen­er­al also dis­cussed the increas­ing use of con­trac­tors in the com­bat the­ater, based on one attendee’s ques­tions about how to inte­grate them into mil­i­tary force and exer­cise over­sight.

The mil­i­tary typ­i­cal­ly has more con­trac­tors on the bat­tle­field than ser­vice­mem­bers, Petraeus said, because they are less expen­sive, and because if they come from the host nation, they increase pub­lic sup­port. When he was com­man­der of forces in Iraq in 2007, Petraeus said, it was impor­tant to use con­trac­tors for jobs such as main­te­nance and cook­ing to free troops for the fight dur­ing a peri­od when attacks num­bered 200 per day.

The imbal­ance in Iraq came when the mil­i­tary began decreas­ing troops and the pri­vate sec­tor increased con­trac­tors, Petraeus said. The sit­u­a­tion has improved because the mil­i­tary now has author­i­ty over con­trac­tors and is increas­ing its per­son­nel to over­see them, he added.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)