Army wants to fine-tune intelligence data sharing

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.'Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, said he went to Iraq for a week early last month and found that the force "didn't have the full power of the intelligence community at its fingertips."

That was evident when soldiers stood very near a terror suspect yet had no idea how dangerous he was because they didn't have access to his file, Alexander added.

"We were 15 feet from a terrorist [who was] making a phone call, and we didn't know it," he said. "We're not starting new on our vision. We have a good intelligence system in Iraq. We're just figuring out how to make it better."

Alexander spoke yesterday before a gathering of military, civilian and industry leaders at an Army homeland defense conference.

A huge part of the intelligence problem lies in what is reported and what is filtered out, Alexander said, explaining that intelligence agencies collect about a billion "events" a day in their gathering process but post only about 100,000 reports each day, Alexander said. He said the Army is reviewing how to merge key documents housed on various intelligence systems to give soldiers a more complete and relevant picture.

"Cutting that information out is what hurts us today," he said, adding that the time it takes to filter the intelligence data also negatively affects troops. Alexander said the military is in need of data mining, data collection and analysis tools that can review all intelligence data on a particular person, summarize it for troops and include all key information.

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