Posted below is a link to a PDF file of the full text of the 26-page report criticizing U.S. intelligence agents in Afghanistan as ignorant of local economics and landowners, unclear about the social power structure and how it might be influenced, and lacking connections to people able to find out.  --  "Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan," co-authored by Maj.Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Capt. Matt Pottinger, and Paul D. Batchelor, calls itself an "unconventional report."[1]  --  It says that the "inescapable truth" that "merely killing insurgents usually serves to multiply enemies rather than subtract them" is "especially relevant in the revenge-prone Pashtun communities" (p. 8).  --  "[M]any decision-makers rely more upon newspapers than military intelligence to obtain 'ground truth'" (p. 9).  --  The report appears to defend President Barack Obama's desire to "wander 'into the weeds' of Afghan districts at the 'tactical level,'" (p. 11) suggesting internal intelligence community resistance to him.  --  It notes that the distinction between strategic and tactical blurs in guerrilla warfare (p. 11).  --  Bizarrely, it compares this to an American political campaign, and actually discusses "the national outcome of the 2000 presidential election" in this context (pp. 11-12); elsewhere it compares U.S. military intelligence to how "the sports page of a metropolitan newspaper" operates (p. 18).  --  The report presents the Nawa district in Helmand as an exemplary success story of how intelligence should operate (pp. 13-15), and says, rather extraordinarily, that "The success of the battalion in Nawa became known not through intelligence channels, but from reports by American news outlets" (p. 16).  --  The report concludes by recommending a new structure of intelligence, creating "Stability Operations Information Centers" (p. 19).  --  COMMENT: Flynn has three decades of experience as an intelligence officer and is Gen. McChrystal's chief of intelligence in Afghanistan.  --  It would be interesting to know more about the origins and politics of this report.  --  The report is beginning to get more attention in U.S. media; on Wednesday, the Washington Post devoted an article to it, saying that "Flynn took the unusual step of publishing his report . . . through the Center for a New American Security, a think tank co-founded by Michèle A. Flournoy, who is now undersecretary of defense for policy, in order to "reach 'not only officers in his command but also other intelligence officials and instructors in the field, including those outside of Afghanistan.'" ...



By Major General Michael T. Flynn, USA, Captain Matt Pottinger, USMC, and Paul D. Batchelor, DIA

Voices from the Field
January 2010