THE ASSESSMENT OF INSURGENCY

Created: 9/1/1963

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TITLE: The Assessment. oC Insurgency

AUTHOR: Edward T.

VOLUME:

: . , ,

STUDIES IN

INTELLIGENCE

A couccUon ol articles on Iho hislorical. operational, doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.

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All statements of fact, opinion or analysis expressed in Siudics in Intelligence are those of

the authors They do noi necessarily reflect official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency or any other US Government entiry. past or present. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US Government endorsement of an article's factual statements and interpretations

Needoint intelligence team in the field to sift and synthesize the raw minutiae of rebellion.

THE ASSESSMENT OF INSURGENCY

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Understanding and keeping abreast of the situation in an insurgency is difficult In the field and even more difficult in Washington. The military features are only one aspect of the courseocial and political revolution, and thethat must be answered range over all categories offor example: What full-time guerrilla units are there, and where are they? What heavy weapons do they have? How many men deserted from them last month? What is the price and the availability of basic foodstuffs? What foreign advisors do the insurgents have? Has thereecent shift in their propaganda lines? How. and how effectively, do they control the population in their areas? How do the various tribal minorities think and behave? How deep-seated are their grievances?

The volume of raw data bearing on these questions is often very large. To ascertain the attitudes of the populace toward the insurgentsiven province, one needs to scan the records of defector interrogations and reports from agents, patrols, central government officers,hich may total tens of thousands of words. Similarly, great volumererequisite in developing order-of-battlefrom individual reports which may be vague,unprofessional, and occasionally mistaken or self-con tradJctory. it was possiblea op. for example, using only low-level, untrained or little-trained informants, toa list of Kong Le units and strengths In most provinces which proved to be ninety percent accurate and ninetycomplete, but Itultitude of reportsive months to do so.

The Problem of Synthesis

The Information on an Insurgency that reachesunder present procedures, is by and large not the answers to the elementary questions but the raw minutiae. As the field units of the several intelligence agencies concerned with insurgentsiven country forward their reportsor ul^^yJ^ISWashlhgton community iswith data in enormous quantity and complicated detail. Many reports are disseminated describing events down to the Tillage level. The problem is thus not the availability of data but Its meaning in terms of the questions to be answered. Washington analysts areoorer position than people in the field to sift such quantities of data and find the meaning. They are not likely to have the familiarity with theor the feel for it which one can acquire in the field.

ypotheticalentral government army battalionemote area engages platoon-strength insurgent patrols four times in six weeks. Every time the enemy flees as quickly as possible; the flrefights are brief and inconclusive. As these actions are reported, they look to Washington like routine, isolated skirmishes. But they occur In an area where skirmishes have previously been' only about half so frequent, and they all involve the same company of the battalion, oneiver valley leadingeighboring province.illage some distance inside that province's border it wasreportedumber of young men had vanished, and in the battalion's area the villagers recently beganthe central government forield analyst in close touch with the situation may recognize these coincidences and deduce that local insurgent activity is concentrated on infiltrating and recruiting in the neighboring province. The harried analyst in Washington would not be likely to.

What is needed is an arrangement to collect in one place in the field all relevant bits of information, sort out theand relate different kinds of information, such asand military, to each other. Then it would be possible to reduce the volume of low-level, immediately meaningless data disseminated in Washington, and in the field as well, lo people who cannot devote full time to Interpreting it, to in-

Asieumenf of Insurgency

crease the proportion of obviously significant informationand so tolearer picture of theolution

The best way to flu this need would be tomall intelligence staff reporting to the country team. The staff

^IVTu WHBBS* teamcces. to command levels andenough latent bureaucratic horsepower to encourage cooperaUon from the lower echelons of theagencies, it should include officers (workers, not spokesmen) of the major agenciesomposite group is necessaryariety of professionals can understand the complex problems of insurgency betterroup from only one organization.

taff, clearly one logical solution with respect tocountries. military operations areas in Laos, would have advantages even under massive

oflEtDam- 0ver Native of centering all intelligence in the military, aided or aue-

7ments- composite group suggested wouldreater range of skills, be more likely to weigh

ormlne Ita conclu-

reater detachment from the immediate worries of those directing military operations.

^PfiUon and functioning oftaff in prototype are described below, for the sake ofomeWith adjustments to the peculiarities of differentthe prototype should be suitable for use againstanywhere.

The titular chief of the staff should probably be CIA's chief ofis capacity of coordinator of intelligenceIts working director, however, should be chosen not by his organizational affiliation but for his personalHe must be able to weldtaff of people from different agencies; he must know how to entice fullfrom all elements of the local intelligenceand he mustilitary campaign permeated with political considerations.

The staff, drawn from the military services present CIA USOM, and USIS, should be kept small, not to exceed Parkin-

son's seven. CIA and the miULary will in practice furnish most of the members. Its Job is to produce regularof the situation and estimate the insurgents'and intentions. It will produce monthly and perhaps weekly studies covering the entire country by region orif It fails to reach full agreement on any substantive .point, the dissents will be.riotedts published report*

Tbe staff will also produce occasional special studies asbut it should be wary of honoring request* to the point of buildingorkload that might force it to expand. Similarly, it will sometimes want to make suggestions to some of the operating Intelligence units as it identifies gaps and recognizes effective intelligence- gathering techniques, but it should avoid getting Involved in operations.

The staff members should be senior enough that their parent organizations' people will respect and cooperate with them but not so elevated as to be no longer workers. They should have had upcountry experience in some capacitycontact with the farmers and ordinary townsmen so as to understand their sources and targets. They should be particularly interested and well read in insurgency. Inthey should have or shouldapability to translate the major languages of the country.

The work should be so organized that each man follows the situation in one particular area hut his temporary absence does not leave the staff without expertise In that area. This requires overlapping areas of responsibility: if. for example, there are six staff members covering six regtons of theeach should read also all the available information on one or two regions adjacent to that on which he writes the periodic reports.

Tbe staff willupport section of several clerks, not only to type and reproduce Its studies but to extract, file, and cross-reference for easy recovery the tens of thousands of bits of information to be used It willar room, or at least access to one nearby, where there are wall maps showing the entire country si one or two fairly small scales) and at least its critical regions at larger0. Also here should be stocked individual sheets of the best maps at every

scale, plus any special-purpose maps available (for example the Army Map Service's magnificent Tactical Commander's Terrain Analysist would be useful, though notto have as chief o( the support section an) trained ln order-of-bnttle reporting and analysisan would know maps, would understand what'files are needed, and might prove useful in Informal liaison with Army elements.

taff will not solve all the problems of processingon Insurgents, but it can solve some. If Its members are well chosen with an eye to their professional and personal qualifications. Toroup of men from different agencies into an effective working unit will be andelicate task. But insurgency is extraordinary, posing Intelligence problems too large, too complicated, too detailed, and too fast-moving to be handled by proceduresfor other times and other information.

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