Friday, May 1, 2015

Breedlove: Russia Intel Gaps 'Critical'

Breedlove: Russia Intel Gaps 'Critical': NATO's top military commander warned of gaps in US intelligence gathering in Eastern Europe and its ability to understand Moscow's intent in the wake of Russian aggression.

"Russian military operations in Ukraine and the region more broadly have underscored that there are critical gaps in our collection and analysis," US Air Force Gen Phillip Breedlove told lawmakers at a Senate Armed Services committee hearing in Washington.

"Some Russian military exercises have caught us by surprise, and our textured feel for Russia's involvement on the ground in Ukraine has been quite limited."

Breedlove said the US first learned through social media that a large Russian military exercise, billed as being tied to the Arctic, in fact had a much larger reach.

Breedlove, the commander of American forces in Europe, said his command's pool of Russia experts had "shrunk considerably," since the Cold War and intelligence assets of all kinds were shifted to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — or toward understanding future threats.

He called for more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and improved intelligence sharing with partners and allies. "A small investment in this area could lead to a large return," he said.