Mark Collins – ISIS Fight: Canadian Army Intelligence Team Going to Iraq

Further to these posts (note CSE and SIGINT at first),

Fighting ISIS: Boosting Canadian Intelligence in-Theatre

The Scope of Canadian Forces’ Intelligence Activities (including HUMINT)

the matter of HUMINT is–naturally–not addressed in this otherwise quite informative news release from the Army. Will the team be based in Kurdistan or the Baghdad area?

Intelligence personnel bound for Op IMPACT train ‘as they fight’

Kingston, Ontario — What does it take to be an effective Canadian Army intelligence team deployed to Operation IMPACT in Iraq [website here]. To begin with, it takes a cohesive team, familiar with the operating environment and equipped with the tools they will need to accomplish their mission. In this case, the team is the All Source Intelligence Centre (ASIC).

The ASIC is based on an intelligence sub-unit of the Canadian Army Intelligence Regiment [new to me, see “Intelligence Modernization” here plus p. 124 PDF here], which is reinforced by specialists from many other organizations, including Canadian Forces Intelligence Command [webpage here] and specialists from a number of other government departments.

The creation of a team such as this takes a year to develop along what is called the “road to high readiness” training with the Canadian Army, where the group participates in a number of exercises across Canada including MAPLE RESOLVE and UNIFIED RESOLVE.

The lessons learned and the cohesion formed along this road are then tested during a comprehensive exercise that brings together specialists and leaders, Canadian and coalition partners, and a multitude of information systems and feeds that replicate what is experienced in theatre. This dynamic and team-building process prepares members for the challenges ahead, and familiarizes them with the partners and systems that they know they can count on.

From June 25 to July 11, 2016, such a team participated in a culminating mission- specific exercise in Kingston, Ontario. Designed and led by the Canadian Army Intelligence Regiment, this exercise marked the final training event prior to the team taking up the challenge overseas…

An incredibly important aspect of the realistic training was the integration with partner organizations. These partners included military members currently deployed to the ASIC, other Canadian government agencies and military organizations, subject matter experts from a variety of fields, and US allies.

Personnel from supporting American national agencies and the United States Central Command (CENTCOM [website here]) participated in the exercise as mentors for the new ASIC team…

Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand enjoy an enhanced intelligence sharing relationship known as the 5 Eyes partnership [see end of the post]. It is a cornerstone of the overall intelligence enterprise that protects Canadians against external threats and enhances the efficacy of the deployed intelligence team.

“We share information like no other partnership in the world shares information. And this collaboration allows all of our nations, especially in today’s world where intelligence is so critical to conducting operations, to understand the parties to the conflict and to be able to be more precise and more accurate in terms of how we do business. It also ensures that we are protecting the local people and local infrastructure,” said Maj Holtz. “It’s not just about finding the bad guys; it’s also about protecting the resources of the country that we are working in.”

During Op IMPACT, the ASIC will be responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing information derived from a variety of sources. This intelligence will then be used to inform operational planning, ultimately contributing to the protection of Coalition forces and the conduct of Coalition operations [via Operation Inherent Resolve one presumes].

After the conclusion of this exercise, there is no doubt that the team will be strong, proud, and ready to deploy to Op IMPACT later this year…

More here on the Five Eyes.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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