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Streetwise Professor

March 10, 2014

Intelligence: A Force Multiplier in Ukraine

Filed under: History,Military,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 1:58 pm

There have been many suggestions as to potential US/NATO military responses to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Some are quite stupid, or at least premature: for instance, one suggestion is to abrogate the US pledge not to station nuclear weapons in new NATO states like Poland.

By far the most important and effective military measure that the US can undertake is to provide Ukraine with intelligence.  Lots of intelligence. Satellite imagery detailing Russian deployments and movements. Intercepts from Russian tactical and command networks.

Today NATO announced the deployment of AWACS aircraft to Poland and Romania.

That’s great.  Question: who gets the information that the AWACS produce?  Only NATO? Or is it (or at least some of it) being shared with Ukraine?

Might I suggest something more: deployment of JSTARS aircraft, which provide a picture of deployments on the ground similar to what  AWACS provides in the air.

Intelligence is a force multiplier.  It would permit the Ukrainians to get inside the Russian OODA loop: forewarned is forearmed.  And it would help  make up for the Ukrainians’ relative weaknesses in armor, infantry, and combat air power. Though the disparities are somewhat overstated by comparing overall Russian and Ukrainian numbers, because there is no way that Russia can possibly deploy the entirety of its forces against Ukraine.  Given the advantages of the defense, and Russia’s serious logistical limitations, intelligence could be the difference maker.

Perhaps we are doing this already.  I surely hope so.  And if we are doing it, keeping it quiet is the right thing to do.

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9 Comments »

  1. The problem with intelligence is that for it become a force multiplier, it has to reach the people able to act on it.

    Maidan has deposed the dictator through true heroism and spontaneous leadership “on the ground” while the established opposition “leaders” had barely been prevented from capitulating on behalf of Maidan.

    The Ukrainian army being a product of the Ukrainian society, I’m afraid the situation there is very similar, so, unless the Pentagon can find ways to communicate directly with Ukrainian tactical units (which it can’t), intelligence sharing will amount to little more than an additional counter-intelligence channel for the Russians.

    In short, I’m afraid this idea is very much like the idea with “the energy weapon”: sounds plausible, unless you actually know something on the subject.

    Comment by Ivan — March 10, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  2. @Ivan. There is considerable merit to what you say. I considered this as well. It will depend on the Pentagon’s assessment of Ukrainian command structures. Meaning that perhaps a necessary component of this approach would be the introduction of American advisors, or at least assessment teams. This in itself would drive the Russians into apoplexy. Though I consider that a feature, rather than a bug.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — March 10, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

  3. > There have been many suggestions as to potential US/NATO military responses to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Some are quite stupid, or at least premature: for instance, one suggestion is to abrogate the US pledge not to station nuclear weapons in new NATO states like Poland.

    Do you REALLY think that it’s a good idea to station US nuclear weapons in Poland and Russian nuclear weapons in Cuba?

    Comment by vladislav — March 10, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

  4. Question: who gets the information that the AWACS produce?

    Depends on how you want to format it and transmit it. Generally, no, but there are ways you could make it happen if you so desired.

    The question of what exactly the Ukrainians would do with it anyway is a pretty valid one. I imagine they have pretty decent information sources about what the Russians are doing over right across the border, actually.

    Comment by Blackshoe — March 10, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

  5. Vladislav, your lack of reading comprehension is showing again.

    The professor was using the stationing of nuclear weapons in Poland as an example of a stupid idea.

    Comment by Andrew — March 10, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

  6. > The professor was using the stationing of nuclear weapons in Poland as an example of a stupid idea.

    Really? Well, one of us surely has a problem with reading comprehension.

    Comment by vladislav — March 11, 2014 @ 1:17 am

  7. “Some are quite stupid, or at least premature: for instance, one suggestion is to abrogate the US pledge not to station nuclear weapons in new NATO states like Poland”

    Pretty clear what his meaning is there.

    Have fun in remedial reading class Quisling.

    Comment by Andrew — March 11, 2014 @ 3:35 am

  8. The Ukrainian armed forces are now like the Russian armed forces a decade ago: funded at a level that barely suffices to pay them, with a trivial sum available for maintenance and training, to say nothing of acquisition.

    It’s gonna take alot more than intelligence to give ‘em a fighting chance. It will take several years of adequate funding.

    Comment by Pailip — March 11, 2014 @ 5:43 am

  9. The Ukrainian armed forces are now like the Russian armed forces a decade ago: funded at a level that barely suffices to pay them, with a trivial sum available for maintenance and training, to say nothing of acquisition.

    The Russian army was never this bad.

    http://youtu.be/yVNsB8vnJWo

    Only 6000 out of 41000 are in a high state of readiness. No fuel, no arms, no money. Formally only “local self-defense forces” are in Crimea, so there are legal issues with deploying the army internally. Formally, “it’s not open aggression by RF.” Tenyukh did say that the armed forces still possessed “strong morale and tactics”.

    BTW, whatever military capability Ukraine has now is due to Yanukonvict splurging a little bit on the army in the last couple of years versus the previous 20 years of starvation.

    Comment by So? — March 12, 2014 @ 12:12 am

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