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Evaluation of Combatant Command Intelligence Directorate Internal Communications Processes DODIG-2019-032

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Objective

We determined whether the internal communication processes of the geographic combatant command joint intelligence operations centers (JIOCs) had weaknesses similar to the flaws in management processes at U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) as identified in Report No. DODIG-2017-049, “Unclassified Report of Investigation on Allegations Relating to USCENTCOM Intelligence Products,” January 31, 2017 (hereafter, the USCENTCOM Investigation).

Specifically, we performed this evaluation in followup to the USCENTCOM Investigation, which identified several weaknesses and flaws in management processes that hindered the effectiveness and efficiency of the USCENTCOM Intelligence Directorate, as well as the morale of the analytical workforce. See the Appendix for the scope and methodology used to meet the evaluation objective.

Background

The combatant command JIOCs plan, coordinate, and integrate the full range of intelligence operations in the combatant command’s area of responsibility. Each combatant command organizes, trains, and directs its JIOC in accordance with the needs and guidance of its combatant commander. The JIOCs that we evaluated were composed of internal staff components of the Intelligence Directorate and separate direct reporting units. The Defense Intelligence Agency provides most, but not all, of the government civilian analysts who support the JIOCs’ mission.  

Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 203, “Analytic Standards,” January 2, 2015, establishes standards that govern the production and evaluation of analytic products and articulates “the responsibility of intelligence analysts to strive for excellence, integrity, and rigor in their analytic thinking and work practices.” Joint Publication 2-0, “Joint Intelligence,” October 22, 2013, extends these standards to the combatant commands.

Finding

U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. European Command (USEUCOM), U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command (NORAD/USNORTHCOM), and U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Intelligence Directorates and JIOCs (hereafter, the Intelligence Directorates) used a variety of internal communication processes to communicate with their workforces. These internal communication processes were used to assess intelligence production, raise analytic integrity issues, and provide feedback on intelligence production.

However, we found improvements are needed in the following areas in order to further support communications and analytical integrity. Specifically:

• Many military analysts lacked formal training on ICD 203 Analytic Standards when they arrived at their commands. This occurred because the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD[I]) did not develop or issue core analytic training standards across the Defense Intelligence Enterprise for military personnel.

• USAFRICOM, USEUCOM, and NORAD/USNORTHCOM did not have formal analytic integrity policies, and their Intelligence Directorates lacked introductory education regarding the analytic ombudsman program. They also did not routinely promote the analytic ombudsman program. This occurred because each commander implemented different informal analytic integrity policies and training programs for the analytic ombudsman, who addresses concerns regarding lack of objectivity, bias, politicization, or other issues in standards application in analytic products.

• NORAD/USNORTHCOM’s internal intelligence production review process was inconsistent across its Intelligence Directorate. Specifically, NORAD/USNORTHCOM’s Intelligence Directorate component divisions developed different internal standard procedures for similar products. This occurred because the NORAD/USNORTHCOM Director of Intelligence did not provide standardized procedures for the divisions to follow.

Without formal training on analytic standards, and standardized processes and procedures for analytic integrity and production review, there is less assurance that senior intelligence leaders, supervisors, and intelligence analysts will continue to be successful mitigating potential analytical integrity issues.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence examine current DoD intelligence training and education policies and mandate, as necessary, training standards based on a common essential body of knowledge, including Intelligence Community Directive 203, “Analytic Standards,” January 2, 2015, for all entry-level and developmental intelligence professionals.

We recommend that U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, and NORAD/U.S. Northern Command establish formal analytic integrity policies.

We recommend that U.S. Africa Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Southern Command Intelligence Directorates include an introduction to their analytic ombudsman program in their newcomer orientation.

We recommend that U.S. Africa Command establish a second collateral duty analytic ombudsman or assistant analytic ombudsman at Royal Air Force (RAF) station Molesworth, United Kingdom.

We recommend that the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency notify the combatant command analytic ombudsmen of dispute resolution and mediation training opportunities.

We recommend that NORAD/U.S. Northern Command’s Intelligence Directorate ensure that similar product lines have a standard approval and release processes across divisions.

Management Comments and Our Response

The USD(I), USAFRICOM, USEUCOM, USINDOPACOM, NORAD/USNORTHCOM, USSOUTHCOM, and the DIA agreed with the recommendations. The comments and planned corrective actions addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no additional comments are required. Therefore, these recommendations are resolved and remain open.

For two recommendations, NORAD/USNORTHCOM provided responses to a discussion draft of this report describing actions taken to introduce its analytic ombudsman program as part of newcomer orientation; and to develop standardized policies and procedures detailing approval and release processes for similar product lines. NORAD/USNORTHCOM provided an updated curriculum for its Intelligence Directorate Gateway orientation that includes an introduction to the analytic ombudsman and provided a memorandum, “NORAD and NORTHCOM (N-NC) J2 Analytic Production Review Process,” October 3, 2018, that established a consistent review process for NORAD/NORTHCOM Intelligence Directorate analytical elements. Therefore, we consider NORAD/USNORTHCOM’s response to have addressed the specifics of these two recommendations; therefore, recommendations related to NORAD/USNORTHCOM analytic ombudsman training and standard approval and release processes across divisions are closed.

For the recommendation to establish and formal analytic integrity policies, USEUCOM provided a copy of the Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe Analytic Integrity Policy. The policy sets a command expectation for integrity in intelligence analysis and provides multiple venues to address concerns or issues about analytic integrity. It applies to all personnel, military and civilian, assigned to Joint Intelligence Operations Center Europe, including the Intelligence Directorate; Headquarters, USEUCOM; the JIOCEUR Analytic Center (JAC); the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Special Security Group; the NATO Intelligence Fusion Centre; and the intelligence directorates of service components supporting USEUCOM. This policy met the intent of the recommendation. Therefore, this recommendation is closed.

This report is a result of Project No. D2018-DISPA2-0080.000.