The intelligence community was admonished for its lack of information sharing before the Sept. 11 attacks, but interagency collaboration has “come a long way since 9-11,” said Gen. Howie Chandler, retired Air Force vice chief of staff.
Information sharing was key in the weekend operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
“The military is very methodical on analyzing the information we’re given and our ability to plan for an operation like this,” Chandler said.
Steve Cooper, former chief information officer of the Department of Homeland Security and current CIO of the Air Traffic Organization at the Federal Aviation Administration, agreed that information sharing played an important role in the operation’s success.
“I am firmly convinced that that has been instrumental in achieving this victory over the weekend,” Cooper said. “I believe it serves as an example of what is possible when we all collaborate and work together.”
The death of bin Laden is a sign of an “era of cooperation between the services,” Chandler said. This era marks the culmination of work since the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 that streamlined the operational command.
President Obama has called on the Defense Department to cut $400 billion over the next 12 years. These cuts will only increase the need for the intelligence communities, military services and other agencies to rely on each other, Chandler said.
“There’s not going to be room for a lot of repetition between the services, but I think you’re going to start to see the synergy in terms of jointness,” he said.
Chandler added that Congress will have to determine how to make spending cuts while maintaining the current levels of intelligence activities.
In Cooper’s words: “I hope Congress is paying attention.”
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Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.