Recent large-scale civil disturbances in two states led the respective governors to mobilize state National Guard (NG) forces. These incidents raised questions and concerns about the appropriate and effective use of NG intelligence capabilities to support domestic civil disturbance operations. Domestic missions are no different from overseas missions in that a key requirement for mission success is situational awareness (SA)—leaders and commanders at all levels must be aware of the situation on the ground and have a deep understanding of the operational environment in which their forces are operating and the inherent threats faced in that environment. Overseas, where the threat is by definition foreign, the intelligence component provides the preponderance of threat data. Domestically, defining threat information may entail the collection of information concerning U.S. persons. By law, the military and civilian intelligence components face constraints in the manner they may lawfully collect, disseminate, and retain such information.
The Department of Homeland Security’s production of domestic intelligence has increased substantially over the last few years according to a brochure of “intelligence products” published last month by Cryptome. The 2012 DHS Intelligence Enterprise Product Line Brochure is “a standardized catalogue of intelligence reports and products that represent the full breadth” of the agency’s analytical capabilities. It provides descriptions of each type of product created by the DHS Intelligence Enterprise as well as the classification level and instructions on how DHS “customers” can obtain the products.
The Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Enterprise: Operational Overview and Oversight Challenges for Congress
A primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, Department) is to “prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism, and minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that do occur in the United States.” Since its inception in 2003, DHS has had an intelligence component to support this mission and has been a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).