By Vice Admiral Lowell “Jake” Jacoby, U.S. Navy (Retired)
Editor’s Note: In the years following the creation of JICPAC, there was plenty of misinformation and myth surrounding the consolidation of service intelligence units, including the Navy’s fleet ocean surveillance intelligence centers, into joint intelligence centers. This is what really happened, and why.
Joint Intelligence Center Pacific (JICPAC) stood up on July 3, 1991. It was the result of a confluence of external factors that forced a small band of Naval Intelligence (1630) officers in Hawaii to visualize and map a path that fundamentally changed theater intelligence. A near-optimal mix of professional backgrounds and personalities, calculated risk-taking, senior officer and decision-maker trust and support, timing and luck converted challenges into opportunities that produced an impactful outcome.
Several operational and fiscal factors drove change. The Goldwater-Nichols Act passed in 1986 shifted primacy from the Services to Joint entities. Coincidentally, the Soviet Union was in the final stages of collapse as graphically evidenced by the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and eventual formal dissolution in December 1991. This produced calls in the United States for a “peace dividend.”
When I arrived at Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) as the Director for Intelligence (N2) in April 1990, pressures were mounting, and it was becoming clear that the existing Pacific theater intelligence structure was no longer viable. Intelligence Center, Pacific (IPAC) at Camp Smith largely supported USCINCPAC with geopolitical intelligence geared to the pre-Goldwater-Nichols role of the Commander-in-Chief (CINC) as the “Viceroy of the Pacific.” The 548th Reconnaissance Technical Group (RTG) at Hickam Air Force Base (AFB) supported Commander, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) headquarters and had a legacy mission of U-2 wet film processing and interpretation. The co-located Fleet Intelligence Center, Pacific (FICPAC) and Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Center, Pacific (FOSIC PAC) at Navy Headquarters in Makalapa supported Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) and theater operating forces, particularly Commander Submarine Forces, Pacific (COMSUBPAC) and its subordinate commands.
In addition, the Pacific operational and intelligence structures did not align with the Goldwater-Nichols mandate for Unified Commanders to assume operational planning and warfighting responsibilities from their components. When Admiral Charles R. “Chuck” Larson arrived as CINCPACFLT in February 1990, things began to change. He committed Navy to the component “man, train, equip and provide ready forces” Goldwater-Nichols role. This key endorsement for change came at the same time as the soon-to-be Russian Navy remained in port, thus removing the principal justification for existing Navy intelligence structure and associated funding.
Two options were available. We could attempt to enunciate an increasingly hollow justification for the existing structure and offer salami-slice savings that would eventually break Navy intelligence—and by extension Pacific intelligence since similar pressures were being exerted on IPAC and 548th RTG funding, or we could re-imagine Pacific Command (PACOM) intelligence within the context of emerging Joint and fiscal realities. We chose the latter path.
Planning began in mid-1990. The core planning team was myself (then a Captain), my Deputy, Commander Phil Midland, and Commander Bill Hirst. (Of note, all ranks in this article are those held at the time.) The team had to be small, and the output had to be tightly controlled. If word had leaked that CINCPACFLT N2 was redesigning Pacific Command intelligence, anti-bodies would have formed and killed the effort.
Personalities and backgrounds, timing, and luck came together. I was newly arrived off back-to-back East Coast sea-duty tours (with Commander Carrier Group Eight (CCG-8) and Commander Second Fleet (COMSECONDFLT)) during which we had been the test bed for new shipboard intelligence capabilities that eventually became “Ocean Surveillance Information Systems (OSIS) Afloat”. Following those sea tours, I was the senior assignments officer (detailer) when Navy was coming to accept the realities of jointness. Commander Midland was a strategist and expansive thinker, had deep regional expertise, and owned the Pacific Fleet General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP) fiscal planning. Commander Hirst had a strong background as an action officer along with experience at Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility Rota, Spain (FOSIF Rota). He also served as the officer-in-charge of FOSIC PAC until he was relieved by Commander Bob Simeral and joined the CINCPACFLT N2 team in the summer of 1990. While Commander Midland was unbounded and strategic, Commander Hirst looked to turn concepts into plans. My principal role was to listen, question, and attempt to craft a message that would cause diverse audiences in the theater and in Washington D.C. to abandon any concerns and attempts to preserve equities—even as we broke their rice bowls.
There was pressure to act quickly and decisively or forfeit decisions to “bean-counters” in Washington D.C. We focused on preserving Navy operational intelligence (OPINTEL) and Navy all-source intelligence culture and capabilities. Rather than simply hanging a “Joint” sign on our efforts, we embraced jointness and planned for Navy needs as a joint force service component. We recognized the perils inherent in being out in front, but the real threat was the prospect of losing theater intelligence and Naval Intelligence capabilities.
Planning had to account for operational realities. Navy, particularly SUBPAC, required undiminished support for forward area operations. The need for Russian strategic warning was undiminished in a period of great uncertainty. Forces on the Korean Peninsula required continued off-peninsula support. China was investing in evolving capabilities and beginning to pursue more aggressive goals. The insurgency continued in the Philippines and terrorism threats existed in various locations. The Pacific theater was large, diversified and strategically important. Thus, any theater intelligence plan had to accommodate a broad range of military and geopolitical considerations.
Change was also occurring within Naval Intelligence, OSIS and the large deck Navy. In 1987, as the CCG-8 intelligence officer (N2) embarked on USS Nimitz for a Mediterranean deployment (from January to June 1987), we took a prototype Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) correlator named Prototype OSIS Terminal (POST) on deployment for the first time. POST provided the capability to receive direct CLASSIC WIZARD satellite ELINT downlink and then display and manipulate that data aboard ship. It generated ellipses and tracks and offered rudimentary correlation tools and algorithms. It also accepted manually entered positional information, such as submarine or ship locations. Using an interface device, we were able to transfer data into the secret-level, equally new and emerging Joint Operations Tactical System (JOTS) picture in the Tactical Flag Command Center (TFCC). These new shipboard capabilities fundamentally changed our relationship with, and dependency upon, FOSIF Rota for shore support since we were receiving and displaying the same data and integrating it into a dynamic operational picture afloat in near real-time.
In the fall of 1988, during my follow-on tour as COMSECONDFLT N2 aboard USS Mount Whitney, we took a much more capable POST successor prototype (ATP) into the northern Norwegian Sea for exercise TEAMWORK ‘88. Our war plan required Navy to hold the Soviet Navy on the Kola Peninsula at risk by operating far forward. The multi-carrier NATO exercise of that war plan drew repeated reactions from waves of Soviet bombers. Our ability to develop and share a picture of the operational and tactical situation, and the resultant ability to alert and position the force to intercept inbound bombers at distances beyond their missile ranges, demonstrated the effectiveness of afloat command and control based upon a machine-fed common operating picture. A detailed analysis revealed that the short distances and Soviet bomber Emissions Control (EMCON) would have precluded effective war plan execution had we been dependent on time-delayed shore support. The automated afloat intelligence capabilities were introducing fundamental change in the operating forces’ relationship with OSIS and the relative value of shore support. These realizations influenced our planning.
Our plan combined the three existing intelligence centers on Oahu (IPAC, FICPAC/FOSIC PAC, 548th RTG) into a single joint center subordinated to Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (USCINCPAC), rather than to his Director for Intelligence (J2) and focused on joint and operational support for evolving theater needs. We proposed closing the IPAC facility at Camp Smith and headquartering the new center at the FICPAC/FOSIC PAC Makalapa facility with a branch at the Hickam AFB. Makalapa offered the most capable infrastructure and the most adaptable building. The 548 RTG building provided needed space. An unspoken goal was to physically distance the center from USCINCPAC headquarters and IPAC’s staff support role. However, we sought the opportunity for greater operational focus that proximity to the service components offered. The proposal also required investment in upgraded communications and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, building modifications and diversion of money and equipment programmed for an IPAC data center upgrade.
The plan needed to simultaneously deliver GDIP savings and increased joint warfighting capabilities. Closing the IPAC facility alone did not deliver the needed cost reductions, so we projected savings of 33 percent over three years through consolidation and billet reductions. This was actually a guess rather than a projection, but the 33 percent brought us under the projected GDIP cuts, spread the impact over three years and bought time. We still needed the up-front investment that was not in the GDIP plan.
Generating the proposal was easy compared to the anticipated difficulty in selling it to a variety of powerful stakeholders where a single misstep could doom the effort.
The first stop was CINCPACFLT. If Admiral Larson did not support folding his intelligence capabilities into a Joint center, the door closed. It is important to note that Admiral Larson had been first in his Naval Academy class, a White House Fellow, a highly decorated nuclear submarine officer after first being a Naval Aviator and was promoted to Flag rank at age 43. Additionally, he was leading the service component transition to the Joint operating environment. We honed the message with these factors in mind. My one-on-one session began as expected. He was receptive to the concept, asked insightful questions and decisively supported the proposal. But I did not expect what came next. The Admiral, who had only been CINCPACFLT for a few months, told me in confidence that he was about to be nominated to be the next USCINCPAC and that he would personally take the proposal to USCINCPAC, Admiral Huntington “Hunt” Hardisty, for approval. Soon thereafter, he informed me that we had Admiral Hardisty’s approval. Admiral Larson’s unwavering support would prove crucial to the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific (JICPAC) and the evolution of Pacific theater intelligence over the years to come.
Since we had already by-passed the operational chain of command and associated staffing in getting USCINCPAC endorsement, we decided to take a similar risk and by-pass normal programming processes by taking the proposal directly to GDIP seniors in Washington. Director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is the GDIP director, but real decision-making authority resided with the powerful deputy GDIP director, Mr. Marty Hurwitz. Commander Midland and I flew to Washington to meet with Mr. Hurwitz. The only other person at the meeting was the GDIP staff director, Captain Bob Juengling (another 1630). It was make-or-break again, since Mr. Hurwitz was one of the people who could scuttle the effort. He asked hard questions but became an enthusiastic supporter when he heard the projected 33 percent savings. Shortly after our return to Hawaii, Captain Juengling informed us that he had set $5 million aside to stand up JICPAC and the Joint Analysis Center (JAC) in Molesworth, United Kingdom. We had the programing support and the necessary upfront investment.
Our attention now turned to informing key stakeholders that final decisions had been made without their input. Then Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI) Rear Admiral Tom Brooks and his GDIP staff got behind the proposal. His concerns about satisfying Navy needs, loss of OSIS capabilities and preservation of the OPINTEL mindset mirrored ours. He also recognized the fiscal realities as Navy was the PACOM GDIP executive agent. The PACAF Director of Intelligence (IN) readily accepted the changes and surprised me by saying there was no need to brief it further up his chain of command. I later realized that he had a robust PACAF IN staff capable of meeting PACAF needs. Additionally, the proposal relieved the fiscal pressures he faced by shifting funding responsibilities to Navy. The session with the USCINCPAC J2 was more difficult. Although appropriately unhappy that he had been denied the opportunity to participate in the process, he understood that the decision had been made and got behind the effort. In October 1990, he tasked his deputy, Captain Will Walls (also a 1630) with developing a plan and commissioning JICPAC.
Desert Shield/Desert Storm (August 1990–February 1991) was a vivid demonstration of joint warfare success and the role of service components in joint warfighting. The largest naval force since World War II (six carriers and over 100 ships and submarines) operated under a Unified Commander. “Train, equip and provide ready forces for Joint employment” was real and Admiral Larson’s vision for CINCPACFLT came to fruition with him acting as a force provider for another regional command. Desert Shield/Desert Storm also validated many of our planning assumptions and the need for a theater joint intelligence structure. We would come to incorporate many lessons learned into our planning and JICPAC operations.
At about the same time, PACOM found itself in the forefront of Defense Intelligence planning. On March 15, 1991, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) (C3I) released his plan for “restructuring Defense Intelligence.” The stated goal was to “improve management of intelligence resources and the elimination of duplicative intelligence activities” while increasing “efficiency, responsiveness and effectiveness” in light of tight fiscal constraints, disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and “the strong focus on “jointness” consistent with the spirit of the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986.” On page two it cited PACOM efforts, saying, “In the U.S. Pacific Command, the CINC has directed the consolidation of all general intelligence production and analysis facilities in Hawaii into a single Joint Intelligence Center (JIC), serving the needs of both the CINC and the Components.” The document directed extensive reforms of defense and service intelligence. It further directed USCINPAC to continue consolidation and to “complete all implementation actions at the earliest possible date, but not later than 30 June 1993” and for Commander-in-Chief U.S. Atlantic Command (USCINCLANT) and Commander-in-Chief U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) to stand up a JIC and the JAC, respectively. It went on to say that the next revision of the Unified Command Plan (UCP) would direct the other Unified Commanders to create JICs.
The document echoed our planning assumptions and recognized our efforts. It also confirmed that being first comes with advantages. JICPAC was the acknowledged model.
The CINCPACFLT N2 staff, augmented by officers from FICPAC/FOSIC PAC, intensified its planning efforts. Timing, professional backgrounds, personalities and luck again played central roles. Captain Dan Muccia (1630) and Commander Jim Manzelmann (1635) became essential team members. Captain Muccia brought continuity and deep PACOM intelligence background. When I relieved him in the detailer office in 1979, then-Lieutenant Commander Muccia told me he was going to Hawaii and never going to leave. True to his word, he had successive tours at FICPAC, USCINCPAC J22, CTG 168.1/PACFAST OIC and FICPAC again. In addition to continuity, he provided strong operational focus and unconstrained innovative thinking. Commander Manzelmann was a Naval Intelligence Reserve officer and acting FICPAC Executive Officer. He was an architect whose specialty was large commercial projects.
We exploited a planning vacuum and took it upon ourselves to develop a detailed roadmap. Apart from Commander Ron Franklin, who was a retired 1630, and the USCINCPAC J2 GDIP Planner, the staff was not energetically engaged; so, we developed a detailed organizational structure, facility plan and upgraded data handling and communications architecture. We emphasized core operations, collections, OPINTEL, Cryptologic Support Group, production, dissemination and IT/communications functions. The current watch combined OSIS and Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence Plot (CNO IP) models to meet both current intelligence and briefing needs. Lieutenant Paul Kennett,who arrived from FOSIF Rota in early 1992 as the CINCPACFLT N2 Plans and Resources officer, became a key barometer. Upon arrival, he was instinctively opposed to the shift from OSIS to joint. The fact that he came to believe we were on a path that preserved OSIS capabilities was reassuring. In this regard, our planning went so far as to designate key billets, including operations officer, OPINTEL center head and watch lead positions for Navy.
Facility planning was equally important, and the continuity, deep understanding and expertise that Commander Manzelmann provided was key. In 1984 he had designed the building that came to house FICPAC/FOSIC PAC on the first three floors, with the CINCPACFLT N3 and the CINCPACFLT command center on the top two floors. The building was completed in 1989. He assessed the IPAC, 548TH and FICPAC locations and produced an easily understood matrix that compared the three facilities against a set of critical factors. Makalapa was the largest and could accommodate the highest percentage of the projected workforce. It had a new data floor that could be integrated with the existing data center to provide a state-of-the-art capability. It had new back-up power which negated the threat posed by unreliable island public power. Additionally, since the command center was in the same building, it had the most robust communications backbone. Commander Manzelmann’s persuasive arguments overcame an attempt by the IPAC commander to expand the IPAC facility to house JICPAC headquarters at Camp Smith and the Air Force J2’s preference for a Hickam headquarters. Most importantly, Commander Manzelmann convinced our planning team that Makalapa and Hickam facilities could be modified within cost constraints to support the envisioned intelligence missions.
Our detailed plan was adopted intact by the USCINCPAC J2 planning team, and implementation planning began. Some members of the Navy team were integrated into USCINCPAC efforts. Navy officers who were designated for key positions began detailed preparations, to include identifying personnel for their organizations with continued focus on infusing Navy operational culture and capabilities into the new creation.
Admiral Larson engaged again. He wanted JICPAC to have a fresh start, so rather than designating one of the existing center commanders to be the first JICPAC commander, he suggested that Admiral Hardisty select Captain Walls for the job—and Admiral Hardisty concurred.
Admiral Larson became USCINCPAC in February 1991, and he presided over the JICPAC commissioning on July 3, 1991.
The challenges JICPAC faced were daunting and aptly depicted in complex PERT chart diagrams on the Commander’s office walls. He faced a mandated reduction from 1,148 to 917 military billets and a 17.5 percent civilian billet reduction (33 billets) in 1993 as part of the promised 33 percent overall savings. The complexities associated with generating directives, regulations, instructions, operating procedures and administrative detail required to stand up a new joint command were magnified by the fact that there was no model.
The command also encountered active and passive resistance. One pressing need was to integrate workforces drawn from three predecessor organizations each with their own cultures and processes. The deep divisions were personified by the separate outdoor smoking areas created by former FICPAC and IPAC personnel so that they would not have to co-mingle. In addition, some at USCINCPAC were unhappy with the change and openly longed for the days when IPAC was readily available and within walking distance. To be fair, on occasion, CINCPACFLT N2 also missed having FOSIC PAC and FICPAC as direct reports.
Some theater entities actively challenged the new command. USCINCPAC J2 and PACAF demanded high volume, high quality briefing graphics on short timelines, and they graded JICPAC on timeliness and quality compared to staff support they had received from IPAC and the 548th. Through the planning effort, Army had been a passive participant. However, during one of the reviews, Eighth Army in Korea discovered that air and artillery targeting materials did not match the war plan target list and required quick reaction production of hard copy target folders in volumes that far exceeded what the 548th had ever produced. PACAF imagery support requirements escalated. The Marines in Okinawa increased collection and production requirements to put a stake in the ground for future demands. Navy did not increase requirements. Rather, Navy reaction took the form of negative feedback over the level and quality of support, primarily from Naval Intelligence Officers who opposed the shift from OSIS to joint structures and services. CINCPACFLT remained JICPAC’s advocate with the Navy operating forces, theater entities and Washington staffs while quietly working with JICPAC to refine Navy support. We were completely invested in JICPAC success and had no fallback position.
Lieutenant (and later Lieutenant Commander) Liz Train hosted visitors to the OPINTEL watch who repeatedly asked why Navy had sacrificed well established capabilities to stand up JICPAC. Many of the visitors were Navy or from Washington, or both. The questions were instructive. The fact that they continued deep into the “peace dividend” period and well past joint Desert Shield/Desert Storm was symptomatic of the perception challenges JICPAC faced. On a positive note, despite the expressed skepticism, there was no push-back from Congressional committees to slow progress or complicate planning.
JICPAC was standing up amid broader changes in the theater. USCINCPAC was becoming more operational and assuming responsibility for stating requirements, conducting detailed planning, and executing operations from the components at the same time as it was learning how to employ the new Joint Intelligence Center. Within USCINPAC J2, the shift to new operational roles and missions accelerated when Captain John Vinson relieved Captain Walls as Deputy J2. Captain Vinson was a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran (two Bronze Stars with Combat V (Valor), multiple Air Medals and two Purple Hearts) as a Navy Intelligence Liaison Officer (NILO) with the Riverine force in the Mekong Delta, had multiple shipboard tours and had been Assistant Officer-in-Charge of Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Center, Atlantic (FOSIC LANT). His professionalism, blunt questions and unvarnished feedback focused the J2 staff and JICPAC on theater warfighting. For Captain Vinson, staff support was secondary.
CINCPACFLT N2 also needed to change and adapt. We could not treat JICPAC as if it were FICPAC and we needed to dispel the perception that a “Navy mafia” was in charge by “walking the talk.” We also faced the same operational and funding realities (now known as “right sizing”), with Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility, Western Pacific (FOSIF WESTPAC) in Kamiseya, Japan that had spurred JICPAC planning. To sustain operational intelligence capabilities in the western Pacific, we took the same joint approach we had used with JICPAC and proposed that FOSIF WESTPAC become JICPAC’s forward deployed, tactical support element. The proposal to create JICPAC Detachment (J-DET) was accepted. With that, the Naval Intelligence transition in the Pacific was complete, as was Navy dependence on joint Pacific theater intelligence.
As Captain Walls approached three years in his joint tour on Island and one year as JICPAC commander, Admiral Larson asked the services for nominations for his relief. I was the Navy nominee and ultimately accepted, relieving Captain Walls in August 1992.
JICPAC had achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC), but several major challenges stood in the way of achieving Full Operational Capability (FOC). Luck and timing again came into play.
Colonel Ron Lee (USA) was the JICPAC deputy commander. He was a quiet, insightful leader who subscribed to the power of positive thinking. Captain Muccia, as operations officer, brought a more direct approach. While Colonel Lee was a patient consensus-builder, Captain Muccia was inclined to steamroll a problem into submission. Although there was a dichotomy in approaches, they shared the same goals. As Colonel Lee expressed it “we couldn’t live with Captain Muccia but couldn’t live without him.” Both were ultimate professionals, and I could not have lived without either of them —it was a perfect team.
It soon became apparent that JICPAC was over-committed. Given the demands from Korea, Okinawa and Air Force, plus the belief that JICPAC would produce the same support as had been provided by the three predecessor commands despite the resource reductions, expectations exceeded capacity. We began by assessing what we were producing, normally without any stated requirements. A classic case was the heavy resource commitment inherited from the 548th to produce U-2 Supplemental Imagery Reports (SUPIR’s) for Korea. Captain Muccia questioned the reports’ utility and unilaterally halted production without any accompanying announcement. After six weeks without a single complaint, JICPAC surveyed SUPIR recipients. The responses confirmed that the reports were not being used and were not needed. JICPAC operations surveyed other suspect products, often with the same result.
Manpower saved from discontinued production was shifted to under-resourced tasks. For example, the JICPAC Army and Marine contingents emphasized the importance of foundational intelligence in operational planning. Imagery interpreters and intelligence personnel who had produced SUPIRs and other discontinued tasks were dedicated to populating the Integrated Data Base (IDB). Accompanying investment in state-of-the-art technology data handling and dissemination capabilities and process improvements increased production efficiency. JICPAC operational support improved, and manpower savings were applied against mandated reductions.
There was no change to emphasis on current and operational intelligence. The experienced Navy officer investment, including Commander Bob Simeral and his relief, Commander Jack Dorsett, in key positions was paying dividends and was a source of continuity for theater audiences. Resistance by Navy audiences receded as JICPAC demonstrated its capabilities and commitment to current intelligence support.
Although we were making progress, expectations still exceeded capacity. The mismatch between JICPAC’s finite resources and unconstrained customer requirements demanded a prioritization mechanism that was based upon stated requirements and supporting justification. JICPAC could make inputs and inform such a process but as the production center, it could not assign the priorities. We needed USCINCPAC J2 to put a prioritization approach in place and assume responsibility for assigning priorities. Captain Vinson stepped forward and played a crucial role in forcing USCINCPAC J2 to assume this responsibility and then enforce its decisions. The importance of priorities based upon justified requirements cannot be overstated because it permitted JICPAC to align resources against requirements, make sound investment decisions, and measure performance against assigned responsibilities.
Morale problems also needed to be addressed along with the operational support issues. Fortunately, the civilian cadre was strong, experienced, imbued with aloha spirit and had a desire for harmony. On the military side there had been two summer rotations of people who had been ordered directly into JICPAC and did not know “the good old days” of predecessor organizations. This group included a high energy, positive cadre of junior officers right out of the Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course (NIOBC) at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC) at Dam Neck, Virginia and similar junior officers from other services. With mentors like OPINTEL Center operations officer Lieutenant Commander Liz Train, the positive energy that Colonel Ron Lee nurtured, plus their rapid professional development, this group of junior officers (which included individuals like Lieutenant Kelly Robinson (Aeschbach)) came to epitomize an increasingly capable and cohesive JICPAC. This “ohana” or family of junior officers remains close to this day. JICPAC was beginning to function as a team with an identifiable command identity.
In addition to addressing the pressing near-term operational and morale issues, JICPAC needed to design and implement a plan that looked out past the immediate challenges. This effort became known as “JIC ’93”, based upon an aggressive January 1993 implementation date. The goal was to develop and employ processes, procedures and capabilities to make JICPAC a true theater intelligence center, but it soon became apparent that a more audacious effort was required. So, the planning team set about redesigning theater intelligence with JICPAC as the focal point.
The plan depended upon revolutionary change in the theater intelligence architecture. Again, we had the right person in the right place at the right time. Commander Mike Pflueger arrived as FICPAC systems department head in December 1991. He was a 1630 officer with a master’s degree in computer science from the Naval Postgraduate School and multiple tours afloat and ashore in data handling and information technology. More importantly, Commander Pflueger was a unique technologist who developed and engineered innovative approaches that were practical, cost-effective, and could be understood by laymen.
When JICPAC stood up, Commander Pflueger faced the immediate challenge of combining three disparate computing centers while maintaining continuity of operations. Rather than attempting to lash the existing capabilities together, he conceptualized state-of-the-art approaches for the desktop environment, storage, local area network (LAN), and servers that would make JICPAC the hub in a forward-looking theater architecture. Buoyed by a deep technical cadre and private sector engagement, his proposal took JICPAC and theater intelligence close to the edge of technological capabilities. His desktop environment accepted automated upgrades and only required one engineer to manage a thousand desktops. He deployed a LAN that supported rapid introduction of technological advancements. Inefficient storage was replaced by technologies that lowered costs, offered near real-time backup and recovery, and required a single storage engineer to manage all of the devices. Commander Pflueger’s forward-looking theater architecture and resultant operational capabilities made PACOM the leader within Defense Intelligence. Cost savings financed the upgrades, and personnel savings made a major contribution to mandated billet reductions. Further, by reducing support billets, JICPAC was able to protect and reinvest in production and substantive intelligence functions.
“JIC ’93” was briefed to USCINCPAC J-2 in late 1992, and it was adopted and executed without alteration.
JICPAC engaged with other theaters as they were standing up Joint Intelligence Centers. The most active dialogue was with EUCOM’s Joint Analysis Center (JAC) in Molesworth, U.K. and its commander, Air Force Colonel Glen Shaffer, who incorporated many JICPAC organizational and operational approaches into his plan. JICPAC also supported early Central Command JIC planning. These engagements benefited JICPAC because they caused us to reconfirm our approaches and reassured us that our planning had not been done in a vacuum against narrowly defined Pacific theater needs.
JICPAC had inherited reserve assets from the previous commands without a framework for integrating the reserves into a joint theater intelligence structure. Captain Pete Younce, a Training and Administration of Reserves (TAR) (1637) officer who was assigned as the Reserve Management Officer (RMO) shortly after JICPAC’s commissioning, addressed this shortfall by converting the existing Navy Fleet Intelligence Rapid Support Teams, Pacific (FIRSTPAC) units and integrating Army and Air Force individual mobilization reservists assigned to the predecessor commands into what became the first Joint Reserve Intelligence Unit. He expanded the effort by establishing reserve sites and Joint Intelligence Reserve Units in support of JICPAC and theater joint intelligence requirements at Fort Lewis, Washington and Camp Park, California.
JICPAC also became a center point in bilateral discussions during visits to Hawaii by the J2’s foreign counterparts. The JICPAC construct and joint intelligence concepts directly impacted Australian Defense Force planning leading to eventual creation of a joint intelligence structure and center in Australia. It also influenced long-range planning within the Japanese Self-Defense Force, in Singapore, and with other regional allies to varying degrees.
JICPAC also engaged with the operating forces. Navy continued to upgrade the OSIS afloat capabilities with vastly expanded bandwidth, direct imagery downlink, and improved command and control and battle management afloat. Since Navy was a cornerstone for Pacific Command contingency and operational plans, a strong JICPAC/Navy linkage was a priority. Given evolving afloat intelligence and precision strike capabilities, CINCPACFLT N2 proposed in early 1992 that Navy convert three squadron Air Intelligence (AI) billets in each air wing to air wing collection manager, imagery, and targeting officers. Further, these officers were to be assigned to JICPAC and to the Atlantic Command JIC during turnaround periods to develop specialized skills and relationships with those who would provide reach-back support during deployments. Although the air wing commanders recognized the potential benefits when I briefed the concept, they resisted changing the time worn squadron AI paradigm. Eventually, the resistance was overcome, and the first cadre of air wing collection managers, imagery officers and targeting officers (including then-Lieutenant (junior grade) Josh Himes, graduated from NMITC and reported to JICPAC in late 1993. It was a win-win situation. The officers developed professionally, the air wing increased capabilities, and JICPAC gained operational perspectives along with the benefit of engaging motivated young Naval Intelligence professionals with recent deployment experience.
By late 1993, the “JIC ’93” plan and organization were in place. The command had rallied around the effort and was making sustained progress on many fronts. Full Operational Capability (FOC) was achieved.
Luck and timing reemerged once again. Air Force Chief of Staff, General McPeak, was creating consolidated wings under one-star commanders and needed to “harvest” U.S. Air Force one-star billets for these commands. The USCINCPAC J2 had been an Air Force brigadier general since the command was established in 1947. Admiral Larson later told me that General McPeak had called to say he was prepared to provide “a fully qualified USAF O-6” to fill the J2 position when it rotated in May 1994. Rather than accept this offer, Admiral Larson sought one-star nominations from the Services. Unbeknownst to me, I was on the one-star list to be published in early 1994 and was the Navy nominee. When the list was published, I was informed that I would become the USCINCPAC J2. I was whisked off to Capstone and upon my return, was relieved as JICPAC commander by Air Force Colonel John Wiggington. JICPAC was now truly joint with an Air Force commander, Army deputy commander and Navy operations officer. The transition was complete.
JICPAC’s achievements were recognized with the award of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shalikashvili on 20 June 20 1994. The citation reads in part, “The Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific distinguished itself by exceptionally meritorious achievement from 3 July 1991 to 1 April 1994. During this period, the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific effected fundamental change in warfighter support through total command involvement and unparalleled dedication of its people. Forged without a blueprint, it established an innovative production center with recognized theater, defense and national-level impact. During a period of declining defense assets, the Joint Intelligence Center, Pacific coupled forward thinking management with new, dynamic methodologies to meet increasing intelligence demands.”
Admiral Larson remained USCINCPAC until July 1994. Although we never directly discussed it, I assumed my marching orders were to implement the joint theater intelligence plan. The commitment to an independent JICPAC that reported to USCINCPAC through the J2 and satisfied theater intelligence needs had to be reinforced in fact and perception. It was especially important for the former JICPAC commander to “walk the talk.” Although I remained in quarters within a few hundred yards of JICPAC headquarters, I only went to the building on pre-scheduled visits. All meetings took place in my Camp Smith office or by MINX secure video link, to include the morning brief, discussions with analysts and Commander Jack Dorsett as OPINTEL center head, plus engagements with Colonel Wiggington and Captain Rick Porterfield (after he took command in 1996).
USCINCPAC J2 continued to emphasize operational matters and focus on stating and advocating for theater intelligence requirements; supporting task forces and Special Operations Command Pacific; integrating theater intelligence capabilities and JICPAC tasking into exercises; and representing Pacific Command operational and planning needs to the broader Intelligence Community. Exercise support emphasized JICPAC scenario development and scripting, control group participation, and JICPAC engagement during crisis action planning and execution. Attention was placed on a reawakening Russia, North Korean nuclear capabilities, and the emerging Chinese military, with emphasis on forces and capabilities in the vicinity of the Taiwan Strait, short and medium range missiles, ship building, and submarine operations.
The investment in operational emphasis paid dividends when tensions between China and Taiwan escalated in 1995. Within a five-day period in July, the PRC fired several short-range ballistic missiles to impact in proximity to Taiwan. While described as missile tests, the PRC clearly intended to intimidate the Taiwan government in the run-up to Taiwan’s 1996 elections. Additional missile firings and live ammunition firings took place in the Taiwan Strait in August. China mobilized forces opposite Taiwan and conducted a significant amphibious assault exercise in November. In March 1996, the United States responded. After a high-speed transit from the Persian Gulf, USS Nimitz joined Japan-based USS Independence and amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood in the vicinity of Taiwan. Nimitz and Belleau Wood transited the Strait in a show of force. The PRC backed down and the Taiwanese elections proceeded without further drama.
The military responses were planned and controlled by the Unified Commander as directed by Goldwater-Nichols. USCINCPAC and assigned forces were supported by JICPAC and J-DET. The goals laid out by that small 1630 team in early 1990 were achieved. Resultant theater intelligence capabilities were verified and proven.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The impact of the Pacific theater intelligence concept of operations and Joint Intelligence Centers expanded. One key element was subsequent assignments within Naval, Defense and National Intelligence for principal planners.
Commander Phil Midland transferred to Commander Seventh Fleet (COMSEVENTHFLT) as N2 in April 1991. His understanding of the imperatives behind theater intelligence transformation, plus his continued support during the period of intense Navy concern about “giving away OSIS,” were calming influences. During the 1993-1994 Atlantic Command restructuring and transition to USA Command’s (USACOM) new mission of assembling, training and supporting Joint Force Task Groups for forward deployment, Captain Midland served as Executive Assistant to Admiral Paul David Miller. As a strong voice for joint intelligence capabilities based upon the Pacific Command model, Captain Midland had a direct and positive impact on USACOM’s intelligence planning, structure and global joint force employment.
Captain-selectee Bill Hirst was ordered to Commander Naval Forces, Central Command (NAVCENT) in Bahrain as the N2 in July 1993. He was dual-hatted as Commander Fifth Fleet (COMFIFTHFLT) N2 when the new command was created in 1995. Upon his arrival, he shifted the focus of the OSIS watch to broader Central Command Forward Element current maritime analysis and reporting as the staff and theater adjusted to the post-Desert Storm realities. Captain Hirst integrated national intelligence agency and other service representatives into an organization modeled after J-DET, and he even brokered a cross-theater arrangement for J-DET to provide back-up reporting in case of an outage. Captain Paul Kennett visited Bahrain regularly during his various CENTCOM tours between 2004 and 2009, during which time he observed the impact of Captain Hirst’s efforts, the decades-old JICPAC planning, and continuation of OPINTEL processes and mindset within a joint setting both in Bahrain and at various headquarters levels.
Captain John Vinson rotated to the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) Deputy J2 position, followed by assignment as Acting J2 (Space), where his deep understanding of joint theater intelligence operations and capabilities greatly impacted what was then known as a Functional Unified Commander and the command’s planning for Combatant Commander support.
Captain Dan Muccia provided continuity and operational focus as the JICPAC operations officer until relieved by Captain Rose Levitre in September 1995. Captain Muccia had reached mandatory retirement and sixteen years of continuous service in five consecutive tours on Oahu. He had been a strong voice for theater intelligence as theaters and JIC’s assumed a larger role within the Defense Intelligence community by employing the “there’s not much you can do to an O-6 in his final assignment” approach to great effect. Captain Muccia’s impact cannot be overstated, and his Oahu longevity record will never be challenged.
Commander Mike Pflueger retired from active duty in 1994 and became the USCINCPAC Chief, Architecture and Systems Division (J21). He directed a theater-wide effort that became known as the PACOM ADP Server Site (PASS) architecture. PASS consisted of four server sites (Hawaii, Korea, Japan and San Diego) based upon JICPAC standards and technology to produce significant capabilities improvements, infrastructure savings, and the ability to manage data centers remotely from JICPAC. He also authored the first Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP) documents that applied state-of-the-art information management processes to theater intelligence operations. The PASS architecture and associated TTP became the target environment for the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) community. Following two years in the private sector where one of his projects was to conceptualize a worldwide regional information technology center architecture for the Defense Intelligence Agency, Mr. Pflueger returned to JICPAC as the head of the Systems Directorate before being selected to lead the DIA Systems Directorate (2003–2007). Using the PASS approach and the concept he had developed while in the private sector, he consolidated nine Unified Command JIC and JAC information technology capabilities into five Regional Service Centers. The plan drawn on a whiteboard in his JICPAC office in 1992, infused with new and evolving technology, was now the Defense Intelligence operating environment and a major component of National intelligence production and dissemination capabilities.
In 1991 Commander Manzelmann was ordered to Commander, Naval Intelligence Command to adapt the building under construction in Suitland, Maryland to accommodate not only the headquarters but also its five subordinate commands by employing the same approaches used in the FICPAC building transition. In early 1992 he returned to the private sector. In the fall of 1999, Captain Manzelmann was promoted to Rear Admiral and became Commander, Naval Reserve Intelligence Command (CNRIC) where he furthered Navy Reserve Intelligence transition to the joint environment. In October 2000 he was selected as a Senior Executive-level civilian within Defense Intelligence Agency to design and oversee construction of a major addition to the DIA Headquarters building at Bolling AFB. He applied his architectural and joint intelligence backgrounds to design and oversee construction of the CENTCOM Joint Intelligence Center, a new DIA facility in Charlottesville, Virginia, conversion of Reston, Virginia facilities for DIA, and conversion of the Bethesda, Maryland facilities for the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in what would become the first multi-intelligence community agency campus. Mr. Manzelmann’s impact continued as he designed additional intelligence facilities during his tenure as Associate, Deputy Director for Facilities and Logistics with the ODNI (2015-2018).
The Joint Intelligence Reserve Unit model that Captain Younce initiated at JICPAC proliferated and was employed to great effect with the Joint Reserve Intelligence Unit attached to the Joint Staff J2. A joint unit had existed in name going back to 1992, but it had been based upon tacit agreements by the services to act in a joint manner while retaining individual element commanders and traditional service mobilization approaches. In 2001, we implemented the JICPAC model, integrated assigned Reserves into a cohesive unit led by Captain Ann Gilbride (1635) and aligned assigned Reservists with requirements across the J2 structure. Unit members had the same training and certification requirements as the active duty. Reservists stood watches in lieu of active-duty counterparts, to include the O-6 Deputy Director of Intelligence senior intelligence position within the National Military Command Center. They also qualified for targeting and counterterrorism missions. This proved its worth on 11 September 2001. The next day, 90 of the 220-unit members were activated. Augmentation began almost immediately. By mid-October, 135 unit members had been activated along with 120 members of a reserve unit attached to the J2’s Joint Terrorist Analysis Center. The fact that these augmentees were drawn from integrated Joint Reserve Units composed of members trained to the same standards as active-duty counterparts and who drilled in the J2 with a full understanding of the J2 structure and Joint Staff procedures had immediate and lasting benefit. Captain Gilbride went on to promote to Rear Admiral and relieved Rear Admiral Manzelmann as Commander, Naval Reserve Intelligence Command.
Officers who played prominent roles in JICPAC’s formative period became leaders in Naval and Defense Intelligence. Captain Rick Porterfield, Captain Rose Levitre, Commander Jack Dorsett and Lieutenant Commander Liz Train all became USPACOM J2’s. Rear Admiral Porterfield and Rear Admiral Train went on to be the Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI) and Commander, Office of Naval Intelligence (COMONI), respectively. Vice Admiral Dorsett became the DNI and the first Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (N2/N6). In each case, these leaders applied JICPAC experiences to profoundly impact Joint intelligence and Navy as a force provider. Lieutenant Kelly Robinson (Aeschbach) is serving as COMONI and has been nominated for promotion to Vice Admiral. If confirmed, she will serve as Commander, Naval Information Forces in Suffolk, Virginia. Lieutenant (junior grade) Josh Himes promoted to Captain and just transitioned from commanding JICCENT to serving as the Information Warfare Commander for Carrier Strike Group Twelve. Officers from other services who were part of the junior officer group that joined JICPAC in the “JIC ’93” period promoted to General Officer ranks and carried their JICPAC experiences into follow-on service and joint assignments. Numerous Navy officers and officers from other services, who were JICPAC commanders or served in JICPAC billets promoted to Flag and General Officer ranks. JICPAC impact on future Service and Defense Intelligence leaders continues to be felt thirty years later.
My USCINCPAC J2 tour ended in April 1997. At that point, I had served consecutive tours as CINCPACFLT N2, JICPAC commander and USCINCPAC J2 and lived in the same set of Navy quarters for seven years. My next assignment after departing Hawaii was as DNI (1997–1999), followed by tours as the Joint Staff J2 (1999–2002) and Director, DIA (2002–2005). Throughout, I remained a proponent for joint theater intelligence, Joint Intelligence Centers and the roles of service intelligence within the joint construct in all operations, planning and resource decisions, to include responses to the 9/11 attacks, the resultant War on Terrorism and operations in Iraq.
Precepts, organizational constructs and forward area direct support concepts for joint forces that were built into JICPAC and J-DET by a small group of Naval Intelligence officers in the early 1990s have been employed to great effect. That Joint Intelligence Centers remain the centerpiece of today’s intelligence operations is a tribute to a near-optimal mix of professional backgrounds and personalities, calculated risk-taking, senior officer and decision-maker trust and support, timing and luck that converted challenges into opportunities that produced an impactful outcome.
Author’s note: In memory of Captain Pete Younce who passed away in December 2020, in gratitude to the Naval Intelligence and JICPAC teammates who contributed to this article and played such central roles. Thanks to all who made the JICPAC vision into a reality with such lasting impact on joint intelligence and joint warfighting.