ANALYSIS Ukrainian Civil War and Intelligence Requirements

Just seeing some of the Associated Press videos and photos coming out of Kyiv should be enough to give you a good idea of how serious the situation is in Ukraine.  (Be sure to catch the 0:50 mark of the video, but watch the whole thing.)

The protesters are adept in the use of Molotov cocktails.  They’re mining sidewalks for concrete to hurl as projectiles.  They’re improvising their own riot shields.  Typical rioting behavior, but at least they’re rioting for a purpose: their government isn’t upholding their end of the bargain, re: Euromaidan.

News trickles in every so often that certain Ukrainian Army units are ‘pro-opposition’.  An opposition Minister of Parliament and current “Fatherland” Party member, Andriy Parubiy – a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution, recently claimed that talks with Ukrainian Army units to support the resistance were ongoing.  For your situational awareness, the “Fatherland” Party supports “European values,” and is a staunch advocate of Ukrainian nationalism.  They’re also extremely socialist.

An event whereby Ukrainian Army units disband to support the resistance, or support the opposition in uniform, would signal a major development in the Ukrainian civil war, and would force the Ukrainian government’s hand to risk all-out civil war.  Would the Ukrainian government use military action to put down other military action?  I see no other immediate alternative.

So it got me thinking: if I was advising the Ukrainian resistance, how might I develop intelligence requirements (IR) in support of information gathering?  (Dove-tailing with a discussion on WRSA, cell phones mean instant communication.  Communication means command and control, it means the ability to direct, it means early warning.  Communication means survival.  Bring your burner phones and remain anonymous.)

On a very tactical level, I would want to be ‘battle tracking’ the movement of security forces and their equipment around the city.  I’d select a two or three person team to hover over a map (with a sheet protector and dry-erase markers) and update the movement of security forces as that information came in.  We’d then relay the current situation template (SITTEMP) back out to the warfighters.  (Hint, hint.)

My initial IRs would include: What is the security force combat strength?  Who is the enemy leadership?  What is the enemy’s current disposition?  How are they maneuvering?  Does their movement within the battlespace indicate an aggressive or defense stance?  What are their likely objectives?  What level of supply do they have?  How long can they operate at the current tempo without re-supply?  What is their logistical support?  Where is their logistical support?  How do we disrupt their logistical support?  What are security forces likely to do when low on supplies?  Where are they likely to move to re-supply?  (Do you see where we’re headed with this?  Force projection – putting boots on ground – requires logistical support.  Without it, the boots don’t stay on ground.)

On an operational level, my initial IRs would include:  What are the enemy’s operational primary objectives?  What are the enemy’s operational secondary objectives?  What indicators would warn of reinforcements or incoming military support to security forces?  How are security forces most likely to be supported?  How likely will overhead assets (rotary, fixed, UAVs) be used to support security forces?  What are the likely responses to being routed from the area?  How early will enemy leadership make a decision when faced with a rout?  What is the enemy’s current view of the battlespace?  How long will the regime be dedicated to the operational mission?  How long can the regime sustain the operational mission?  At what rate does the enemy’s current operational tempo deplete supplies?  How does the populace view the regime?  How does the populace view the resistance?

This is the first step in the Intelligence Cycle (Planning, Direction, and Requirements).  Here we’re outlining what we want to know, so that we can make informed, deliberate decisions about the future of our operations.  Intelligence supports the warfighter.  Intelligence drives the fight.  If you’re a warfighter, if you have a fight, then you need intelligence support!  You cannot do this without intelligence!

I would encourage everyone to read up on what’s happening in Ukraine right now.  Don’t concern yourselves so much with the background or with the why, but really look at what’s going on.  Look up some maps of the fighting.  Pretend that you’re the Analysis and Control Element (ACE) at an operational level (i.e., county, state or province — oblasts or rayons, in this case).  Develop your own wargame, create your own intelligence requirements, conduct Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) to satisfy those requirements.  This is your opportunity to conduct a real-time training exercise and be the brain.  Figure out what’s happening on the ground, and decipher the incoming information.

This is as close as you’re going to get to the real thing, before you’re in the real thing.  I’m of the mindset that the real thing is coming, so practice now.  Email me if you have questions, or just want to bounce some ideas around.


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