Intelligence, a sovereign tool
Recent conflicts that were plagued with false information have proven that a country cannot defend its interests effectively without using its own resources to acquire intelligence. This intelligence is put together differently depending on the position of the armed forces – whether the position is strategic, operational, or tactical. But while a variety of tools may be put into use, these tools can still work together to complement one other, and as such, become essential.
The strategic level mainly focuses its action on information that has been acquired after a long process of collection, cross-referencing, and analysis. The key tool at this stage is spatial imagery, which observes a country's critical infrastructures, along with their roles and characteristics, outside of times of crisis, with a view to the action that may need to be taken should a crisis occur.
The operational level of deployed military staff can benefit from the same tools, while complementing the intelligence work with its own resources, operating on the ground and/or with tactical forces. Such forces include SSNs, piloted aircraft, HALE and MALE drones equipped with reconnaissance pods and/or optoelectronic balls, or human intelligence. Intelligence analysis is carried out with greater sped in this context.
From space to the abyss: intelligence is everything
This range of methods is indissociable. While optical imaging satellites collect a large amount of information from a vast area, they pass over the zone in sequences, and their actions may be limited by the weather. In the same way that various aircraft can provide constant observation, the use of radar satellites which are able to pick out armoured inflatable decoys under any weather conditions is therefore essential. Special forces teams who can work close to or within an enemy facility also contribute specific assistance with their limited image collection and processing capabilities. In addition, tactical systems provide unique possibilities (real-time monitoring of changes in the target, tracking for chance opportunity strikes, etc.).
And yet even with all these resources, quality intelligence is still difficult to guarantee. Without image precision, it is impossible to use intelligence accurately. Sensors and analysis systems must therefore be excellent. This is especially pertinent considering that intelligence is going through a period of significant change due to the use of big data. Systems that can handle all data that has been collected need not only to manage the heterogeneous nature of the information supplied by the various sensors, but also must adapt to a volume of images that is growing exponentially, while the number of analysts is being reduced. Analysis automation and the storage and processing of data are therefore the key challenges to be addressed so that analysts can dedicate their time on the most urgent missions. If not, current trends, the use of real-time intelligence, and the narrowing the OODA loop will all be called into question.