"Secret Weapon: High-value Target Teams (HTT) as Organizational Innovation" Lamb & Munsing.
Strategic Perspectives 4
"The interagency high-value target teams in Iraq have attracted surprisingly little attention and study—in effect serving as a “secret weapon” in the fight against terrorism. Bob Woodward’s 60 Minutes exposé on a new operational capability in Iraq doing so much to turn the war around was widely misinterpreted as referring to a magical technology of some sort. But as one interviewee noted, “It wasn’t magic; it was collaboration.” Collaborative warfare required collaborative organizations. It meant in practice going beyond “jointness” to intense give and take (or mutual adjustment) between otherwise disparate military and nonmilitary organizational elements...."
The first innovation was network-based targeting. This meant charting the clandestine terrorist and insurgent cells and their immediate supporters in order to attack them, but also using all-source intelligence to reveal the local environment, its social networks, and key decisionmakers and their motivations. The second innovation was the fusion of improved all-source intelligence with operational capability. Having intelligence and operations working together in common space on a sustained basis produced persistent surveillance, improved discrimination, and better decisionmaking. The third innovation was the integration of counterterrorist and counterinsurgency efforts and the proliferation of this model. All three innovations—networked-based targeting, fusion of intelligence and operations, and counterterrorist-counterinsurgency integration—required unprecedented collaboration between diverse departments and agencies and between SOF and conventional forces. Together, these innovations set the stage for the dramatic reversal of the security situation in Iraq in 2007.
Several key points are covered in this study:
- Organization matters.
- Interagency teams are not well understood or respected.
- Greater attention to data collection and a multidisciplinary approach to analysis of interagency teams are needed.
When the high-value target teams and integrated conventional force commands collaborated tactically, they produced quick and powerful results. When Petraeus and Crocker used collaborative warfare more broadly in pursuit of a consistent counter-insurgency strategy, the situation in Iraq turned around dramatically. Collaborative organizations are not only powerful but also cost effective. In comparison with new weapons or reconstruction funding, interagency teams cost next to nothing and can be used almost anywhere. However, collaboration is a difficult force to harness and institutionalize. We hope this research contributes to the preservation of collaborative warfare by explaining how the interagency teams actually worked and what it might take to ensure their continued effectiveness.
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