by Sam Culper
One of the greatest things you can give a unit is intelligence on a target. Intelligence always drives the fight.
Today, we’ll briefly look at civil infrastructure and some opportunities for intelligence analysis of buildings. Urban operations are always more complex. There are more people, potentially more threats – one of the things learned in Vietnam and nearly every war since is that a civilian bystander can turn into an armed attacker in a moment’s notice – and the environment is 3D.
We’re not just looking for threats along the horizon or over the next hill, but now there are rooftops and windows that have traditionally hidden snipers and RPGs. On my second deployment I took over the Countersniper/Sniper Defeat team and was tasked with providing intelligence to countersniper teams. One day, I requested imagery on a compound where two sniper events had taken place. By this time, Sunni snipers had taken up hitting softer targets like Iraqi Army (IA) units because of the slow reaction time for cordon and search. Still, IA units were taking casualties from this invisible threat. We wanted to put a countersniper team in an adjacent area to watch for one of these snipers setting up. Typically, they’d get on a rooftop early in the morning and hide under a blanket all day until the IA came through on a patrol or set up a vehicle checkpoint (VCP). At any rate, long story short, I apparently spent $25,000 (your money, not mine) for that imagery and actually captured a blob that was likely that sniper. (You’d think that for $25k, I could get a picture in color.)