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The New Challenges Facing European Intelligence (2)

The New Challenges Facing European Intelligence (2)

Source: Document C/1775. Forty-eight Session: The new challenges facing European intelligence - Reply to the annual report of the Council submitted on behalf of the Defence Committee of the Western Union Assembly by Mr Georges Lemoine, Paris, April 11, 2002.

Explanatory Memorandum submitted by Mr Lemoine, Rapporteur

I. Introduction

1. The murderous attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001 have served to point up not only the difficulties in acquiring and exploiting intelligence in the face of international terrorism but also where the shortcomings lie. In order to avoid such difficulties, Europe needs to set up effective structures for the co-ordination of intelligence between the various states involved.

2. Furthermore the cold war has given way to a number of regional crises: the Gulf war, conflict in former Yugoslavia, crises in Africa or the war in Afghanistan. In this disturbed and changing international environment, European security and defence policies have become directed towards crisis management and prevention. In parallel, particularly since the end of the period, intelligence has acquired a world-wide dimension.

II. European intelligence requirements

  • 1. What is intelligence?

3. There are two sorts of intelligence. The first is general intelligence. It covers various fields: political, social and economic, its aim being to provide governments with high volume information concerning the domestic or external sphere. Such information has mainly to do with surveillance of areas involving risk: organised crime, illegal migration or international terrorism, which has, since 11 September, been the subject of particularly close attention, even more so than in the past. The second type: specific defence intelligence, is intended to contribute to international crisis prevention, leading to situation evaluations so that decisions can be taken, as necessary, about action, in particular military action and, where necessary, engagement. Intelligence therefore involves assessing situations in order to fully inform decision-making authorities.

4. Moreover the notion of intelligence covers information gathering and processing. Information gathering requires observation - being able to detect warning signs, and surveillance - keeping a round the clock watch on areas or individuals of particular interest. Information processing consists of collecting, comparing and collating data into "synthetic" intelligence.

5. Intelligence can be described as essential raw material for governments. Possession and control of intelligence gives the governing elite the freedom of assessment essential to independent political decision-making.

6. Intelligence procurement and exploitation should therefore obey the following principles:

– Co-ordination: for optimisation of sources and the necessary cross-checking of information that makes it intelligence. Security both of intelligence and its sources implies that control over the latter should be centralised. Co-ordination must be such as to meet national requirements and those of the highest authorities.

– In order to be able to act on intelligence quickly and appropriately it has to arrive at the right time, in the right place, with the right person. Information must be passed on in good time to inform the decisions that have to be taken. Speed of delivery may thus range from a few seconds to several days.

– Anything can be intelligence. Its inclusivity means that intelligence is everyone's business and no scrap of information can be ignored.

– There must be wide access to information, since it belongs not to the person who gathers it but the one who needs it.

– It is vital that intelligence should be reliable, which means sound intelligence that can be cross-checked against different sources. Complementary sources are an operational requirement.

  • Lastly, security of intelligence means that sources, organisation, staff making use of the information and the intelligence itself all need to be protected.

  1. Intelligence can be classified according to type of source

– imagery intelligence (IMINT) including all forms of imagery, especially optical and radar satellite imagery;

– human intelligence (HUMINT);

– electromagnetic intelligence (ELINT) including signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications (radar and remote sensing) intelligence (COMINT);

– optical, electro-optical and infrared measurement signature intelligence (MASINT);

– acoustic intelligence (ACOUSTINT);

– open sources intelligence (OSINT).

8. Defence intelligence is normally subdivided into three categories:

– documentary intelligence, gathered in peacetime, to provide general information on potential crisis zones: political movements, local geography, armed forces and militias and military information;

– situation intelligence, gathered at times of crisis and differentiated according to the level of reflection of the HQ making use of it: strategic (EU HQ, Operation Command HQ), operational (in-theatre force command HQ) or tactical (HQ deploying a force component in a local operation);

– real time combat intelligence assisting in-theatre combatants carry out an action (damage assessment, position of combatants).

9. The intelligence cycle covers various functions (identification of need, gathering, processing and exploitation) which are organised in a specific order in a temporal cycle known as an "intelligence loop". Going through the cycle with increasing frequency makes for a better understanding of a situation.

10. This phase is one of general observation. Intelligence depends on two types of action: the first, surveillance, involves real-time detection of danger; the second, which involves precise data gathering, towards specific ends, is for determining how armed forces are to be used.

11. Hence situation monitoring is a determinant strategic preliminary which makes it possible to simulate, prepare for and, if necessary, engage in action. Upstream, documentary intelligence is used to study the crisis environment, set up data files on targets and the operational databases that are necessary to information and armaments systems.

12. Intelligence thus provides a body of information to draw on for strategic assessment, which in turn can be used for putting strategic options to political decision-makers. During this phase it is necessary to give those taking the decisions access to the sum total of observations, analyses and plans made to enable them to do so and define clearly the aim of a given operation and the resource input required.

13. Once action has been decided on, a plan of operations must be prepared on the basis of what is known about the position of the adversary and of one's own armed forces. Operational planning staffs thus draw on the intelligence gathered. They also take part in defining it to the extent that their needs will direct the search.

14. Situation intelligence makes a major contribution to the detailed monitoring of a crisis. Here too, intelligence forms part of a "loop" making it possible first and foremost to present governments with a picture of the forces in play, political and military risks and lastly how the situation is likely to develop.

15. On the basis of this information the authorities responsible for the political direction and strategic conduct of the campaign take decisions that will lead to changes in plans and hence to further action that will in turn change the situation.

16. The crisis exit phase that follows the end of armed conflict often coincides with the introduction of a peacekeeping force, with the agreement of the parties involved, and a political authority responsible for a reconstruction strategy within the conflict area. The political authority gives a mandate to a civilian team in situ for implementing that strategy.

17. Such interventions in the civilian sphere are primarily directed towards confidence building and the affected population "getting back to normal". Their aim is to set up the political and economic structures necessary to achieve stability and pave the way for the withdrawal of the peacekeepers.

18. During the course of this phase, the nature of the intelligence changes. There is a need at this stage to monitor the behaviour of the various factions and become involved in police investigations made necessary by inevitable score settling. Synthesis of such intelligence provides an overview of the situation and notably of the political climate in the area involved.

19. Fundamental to decision-making in regard to any military operation is knowledge of the environment since it enables combatants to optimise the assets they have, to target their effort, to anticipate developments and husband their force.

20. This knowledge of the environment is an aspect of military intelligence with a bearing on:

– positioning, in other words awareness of the movements of allied combatants;

– dating, necessary for overall synchronisation of armaments systems;

– navigation, making for more, and more accurate strikes, thereby helping to protect units;

– meteorology and cartography, other essential fields for environmental analysis.

  • 2. International crisis management: general and specific defence intelligence

21. In the event of an international crisis the need for the European Union to be able to take autonomous decisions was clearly set out in the St Malo Franco-British Declaration (1998): "... the Union must be given appropriate structures and a capacity for analysis of situations, sources of intelligence and a capability for relevant strategic planning, without unnecessary duplication ...".

22. However Europe's ambitions can only be moderate for obvious financial reasons: information of American origin is always welcome but Europe must be able to take an interest in specific issues or to check data originating elsewhere on a case by case basis, and the situation within the Union is quite different from that in NATO where, by definition, the United States is the main intelligence supplier.

23. The "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom does not facilitate that perception of the need for European autonomy in the intelligence field, nor the setting up of a system for European co-operation, to the extent that the United Kingdom does not want to invest in observation satellites and cannot share all the intelligence it possesses with Europeans. This situation can lead to differing perceptions of a crisis, even if this does not explain all the differences in assessment arrived at by European Union members.

24. These difficulties would be lessened were there more trust between the United States and some European countries. For the time being the absence of a security agreement between the EU and NATO does not help to promote such dialogue. Furthermore, recent experience of the air campaign in Kosovo (March-June 1999) together with the difficult issue of the choice of targets has pushed European countries to seek autonomy in terms of intelligence, as the upsurge of interest by Germany in observation satellites (SAR Lupe programme and the agreement between France and Germany) goes to show.

25. The international crisis-management capability of the European Union, particularly as regards intelligence, is justified in the Presidency conclusions to the Helsinki summit (December 1999): "The European Council underlines its determination to develop an autonomous capacity to take decisions and, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to launch and conduct EU-led military operations in response to international crises ...".

26. The aim is therefore to ensure the European Union has permanent decision-making autonomy. Any organisation set up must be capable of preventing crises, for which a surveillance and early warning function is required; then, if the crisis breaks out, it must be able to take a decision on engagement, having recourse or otherwise to its military capabilities (crisis evaluation phase), then, as necessary, conduct operations efficiently with the necessary political control (crisis management phase).

27. During the course of the phase preceding any decision to intervene, usually referred to as the "pre-decision phase", the first requirement is to obtain information and then to assess the local situation accurately. To avoid being taken unawares, the Union must establish a permanent organisation responsible for monitoring potential crisis zones, organised by geographic area in peace time.

28. In practice such assessment will be based on non-confidential information such as general documentary information of a political, economic, social and military nature. However, the Union will need to rely on the member states to gather such confidential information, whether civilian or military, from the diplomatic and intelligence services. This will demand the setting up of a special intelligence gathering agency within the European Union. Moreover close links will need to be established with other international organisations concerned with the same potential crises, especially NATO. The extent of the task and the large number of interlocutors in this area make it necessary to provide for a computerised European intelligence gathering and processing network.

29. A capability for carrying out military operations, as clearly set out in the Helsinki Declaration, includes the requirement for HQs to have the intelligence necessary for planning and carrying out operations. The complete array of defence intelligence both documentary and situational, concerning a theatre of operations, is a necessary basic tool for the operational planning that will be the first task of the Operation HQ Commander. This multinational HQ will need a large intelligence division, whose effectiveness will rest on links with national services, member states and certain multinational agencies, beginning with the EU Military Staff (EUMS), NATO and the EU Satellite Centre in Torrejón.

30. Finally the intelligence required by forces projected into the theatre of operations will be supplied to them by the Operation HQ Commander. However it is essential to make provision for a local intelligence gathering and processing facility to be available to the Forces Commander. At present, apart from the regiments and special units responsible for this type of mission, modern technical assets, like unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and mobile receiving stations for satellite images make it possible to obtain virtually real-time intelligence in-theatre.

  • 3. Requirements to counter terrorism

31. Following the 11 September attacks a number of top-level EU meetings were held at which decisions were taken on how to organise the fight against terrorism in Europe. On 14 September, just a few days after the attacks, the EU heads of state and government issued the following joint declaration:

– "We shall make the European Security and Defence Policy operational as soon as possible.

– We will make every effort to strengthen our intelligence efforts against terrorism.

– The European Union will accelerate the implementation of a genuine European judicial area, which will entail, among other things, the creation of a European warrant for arrest and extradition, in accordance with the Tampere conclusions, and the mutual recognition of legal decisions and verdicts."

32. This declaration of principle clearly brings out two complementary aspects of requirements for intelligence to counter terrorism:

– a requirement for strategic intelligence: knowledge of networks: how they are organised and where they are located; background and ideology; their targets and hence threat assessment; likely damage; their modus operandi and, overall, the consequences for member states' security - description of possible scenarios; how they are funded (financial arrangements, banking scrutiny, role of so-called charitable institutions etc.). In this respect intelligence must be gathered outside the member states' territory. This is the job of the "intelligence" services which must also seek to obtain specific intelligence about countries harbouring terrorist network bases: political regimes, links with terrorists, possible development but also aspects such as infrastructure and military assets, etc.;

– a requirement for counter-infiltration security which is mainly a policing aspect. It involves obtaining intelligence about networks that are already operating on the territory of the EU member states or their allies in the fight against terrorism: members of such networks, their habits and addresses, surveillance and shadowing, international police co-operation, etc.

33. To organise the necessary co-operation arrangements the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council adopted a package of measures on 20 September. The document in which they are set out contains a section entitled "Co-operation between police and intelligence services". It describes the need for co-operation at the level of the EU Police Chiefs Task Force and between intelligence services. It also refers to the need to set up a team of anti-terrorist experts in Europol.

III. Current situation and joint projects

  • 1. Intelligence services and co-operation between them

34. European countries have different types of intelligence services some of which could, ultimately, provide a basis for setting up a co-ordinated or possibly common organisation for the European Union.

35. Germany, whose present intelligence services were set up in the post-war era, boasts of several agencies. The first is of a general nature, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) which is a federal intelligence and security service operating outside German territory, whose task is surveillance of so-called "states of concern", organised crime, money-laundering etc. The second, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) or Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, deals with internal security. It has responsibility for counter espionage and the fight against subversion and answers to the Minister of the Interior. Military intelligence is the province of the Amt für Nachrichtenwesen der Bundeswehr (ANBw) or Office of Intelligence of the Federal Armed Forces and on the Amt für Fermeldewesen der Bundeswehr (AFBw) or Office of Radio Monitoring of the Federal Armed Forces, whose activities are mainly concentrated on military electronic intelligence.

36. In France, the function of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE) or National Defence General Secretariat is gathering and exploiting intelligence with a bearing on France's security and detection of activity outside the country directed against French interests. The Direction de Surveillance de Territoire (DST) or Directorate of Territorial Security, has responsibility for detecting and preventing activities on French soil that are likely to threaten France's security. Lastly, the Direction du Renseignement Militaire (DRM) or Directorate of Military Intelligence, responsible for gathering and detecting military information or general political, social and economic intelligence necessary to the Ministry of Defence, which might influence the way military operations are organised, is France's third intelligence service.

37. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, formerly MI6) which reports to the Foreign Secretary is the United Kingdom's strategic foreign intelligence service. The Security Service (formerly MI5) which is answerable to the Home Secretary (the UK Minister for the Interior), deals with terrorism in the United Kingdom, the fight against international terrorism, counter espionage and organised crime. The Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) deals exclusively with all areas with a bearing on defence, including economic, political and even technological issues. There are several other services: Scotland Yard's Special Branch, which was set up to counter Northern Ireland terrorism, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), covering organised crime and the electronic eavesdropping centre, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Co-ordination of these services is through the Joint Intelligence Committee which centralises and co-ordinates intelligence, identifying needs and producing regular intelligence assessments. It meets weekly at the level of agency chiefs and representatives of the relevant ministers and provides a model for and stands as a symbol of the British intelligence community.

38. Spain has only recently passed a law reorganising its intelligence services. The Centro Superior de Información de la Defensa (CESID) or Higher Defence Intelligence Centre, answerable to the Defence Minister, now becomes the Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) or National Intelligence Centre, an agency with a more general approach dealing with terrorism, extremist movements, counter-espionage and economic intelligence, operating both at home and abroad. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the Comisaría General de Información (CGI) or General Commissariat of Intelligence which carries out investigations within Spain (subversion, ETA, narcotics, and economic and financial crimes) and also has a foreign intelligence unit (Islamic fundamentalism, international co-operation, economic monitoring etc.). Lastly, defence intelligence is the province of Escuela de Estados Mayores Conjuntos (EMACON) or Joint Staff College.

39. Italy has two main services, the Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Democratica (SISD) or Intelligence and Democratic Security Service which deals specifically with protection of internal security and the SISM (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare - Intelligence and Military Security Service) responsible for intelligence work of a more specifically military nature or relating to external security.

40. These different examples show that the intelligence services referred to have similar structures and identical interests. Military intelligence frequently falls into a special category, separate from internal and external intelligence services. Such is the case for France's DRM, Germany's ANBw or the United Kingdom's DIS. General intelligence work on member countries' home ground tends to address similar issues irrespective of country. This is so particularly in the cases of the French DST, the UK SS and the BfV in Germany. This similarity of structures provides the basis for present and future co-operation between corresponding services in the various European countries carrying out the same kinds of work.

41. In the particular case of military intelligence services it is important to note that the main sources of information are defence attachés accredited to embassies in various countries. Some European countries still have highly sophisticated defence attaché networks which are the prime source of information about potential conflicts and local terrorist movements, together with representatives of the "civil" services who keep a low profile, often under the cover of diplomatic status.

42. The general public is largely unaware of the organised complicity throughout the 1980s, between European intelligence and security services in the fight against international terrorism. It was based on an instantaneous safe communication network - the Internet before its time - which has now become institutionalised. So said Prefect Bernard Gérard, a former director of one of France's domestic intelligence services, the DST, thus revealing the existence of fairly extensive co-operation in one limited area. Fora have thus been established to deal with specific subjects by bringing together the intelligence services of different countries. Such groups are known to a greater or lesser extent.. Although there are frequent references to them in the literature within the public domain, it is rare to find a description of their precise membership or organisation.

43. The most famous of all such fora is doubtless the Trevi Group whose name stands for "Terrorisme, Radicalisme, Extrémisme et Violence Internationale". Established in 1975, it brought together the Ministers of Justice and the Interior of the European Union, in order to strengthen police co-operation. Its fields of action were organised crime, terrorism and narcotics. With the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, the Trevi Group's status was modified and it became permanent. Six groups of experts work on particular topics. They are responsible for organising the exchange of intelligence and harmonising the legislations and regulations of the various European countries. It was the crucible of the Schengen Agreements and today is in the process of discussing the European arrest warrant.

44. The less well-known Berne Club was set up in 1971 and today comprises 18 countries. Once Greece has joined, all the EU countries will be members.

45. This "club" provides the framework for a number of thematic meetings based on the concerns of the day. Informal contacts take place between small groups. However, it appears that the situation reports drawn up by heads of department are only to provide information to member states as there is no particular European political authority to which they are addressed, such as the High Representative for the CFSP, Mr Solana. It is true that intelligence accompanied by situation assessments might affect countries' policies and that this raises difficulties in terms of member states' sovereignty.

46. The Kilowatt Group, set up in 1977, comprises 15 countries (the EU members, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the US (CIA and FBI) and Israel (Mossad and Shin Beth). In this group, exchanges are not reciprocal, which is helpful to smaller countries. Each country's intelligence services makes information on terrorism available to the others. In actual fact, the "group" is little more than a telex network.

47. There is also the Conference of Western Mediterranean Interior Ministers, set up in Rome in 1982 on France's initiative, to combat Islamic fundamentalism and organised crime, and whose members are France, Spain, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

48. Lastly NATO's Special Committee brings together the security services of the Organisation's member countries. It has responsibility for counter-espionage and terrorism, especially for protecting - primarily American - troops deployed abroad. However, the large number of participants and differences of opinion about how terrorism should be defined limit the degree of confidentiality of the information exchanged.

49. These types of fora are numerous and those mentioned no doubt constitute but a small number among others whose existence has not been publicly made known. They are proof that co-operation exists and can be organised. However, although the Trevi or Berne Group's existence is acknowledged, the content of the information exchanges of course is not. Such groups have been described as "shadowy European organisations"1 and as their existence is hidden it is difficult for them to fit into official European policy.

50. Another body which is in contrast extremely well known is Europol. Co-operation established in the area of European intelligence takes as its model the Europol Convention, signed in 1995, which took effect on 1 October 1998. The Convention sets up "a European Police Office" with the aim of improving "by means of the measures referred to in this Convention, the effectiveness and co-operation of the competent authorities in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism, unlawful drug trafficking and other serious forms of international crime". Its functions are as follows:

– "to facilitate the exchange of information between the Member States;

– to obtain, collate and analyse information and intelligence;

– to notify the competent authorities of the member states without delay of information concerning them and of any connections identified between criminal offences;

– to aid investigations in the Member States;

– to maintain a computerised system of collected information."

51. The Convention is implemented in individual states through a "national unit", which is the only liaison body between Europol and the competent national authorities. Such units second at least one liaison officer, responsible for representing his country's interests to Europol. Europol manages the databases providing the means of information exchange on suspect persons to facilitate arrests. In practice, within the framework of Europol there is little exchange of thinking or overview. Europol is run by the Ministers of Justice, it is not a centre for exchanges between intelligence services.

52. Informal co-operation, usuall on a bilateral basis, has gone on between the intelligence services for some time. Such co-operation is not exclusively between Europeans but is international. Thus co-operation has existed between the United States and its allies for years. Co-operation between Europeans is so frequent as to be referred to as a "patchwork of agreements"2. Countries bordering on one another often have an interest in working together and this leads to co-operation between some European services. For example Spain's CGI, whose main task is to combat ETA terrorism, has an external intelligence brigade that exercises surveillance over the movements of foreign terrorist groups and collaborates with allied services, particularly in France. This collaboration also occurs in regard to migratory movements.

53. Bilateral exchanges are numerous and it would appear that every country has arrangements for such exchanges. How does such co-operation arise? How frequently and what form does it take? Who authorises it and arranges it? We are unable to reply to all those questions.

54. The growing number of potential zones of conflict and instability, and of information flows, complicates the task of the intelligence services. One solution that they must logically envisage is shared missions, or dividing up zones between them, especially as European intelligence services each have their own area of interest corresponding to a particular traditional area of influence, for example Africa in the case of France (DGSE), Latin America in that of Spain (CNI).

55. However, on the whole, the prevailing policy in Europe is one of every man for himself, and a number of factors explain the reluctance of services to co-operate. First of all, a distinction should be made between "raw" information and assessments based on that information. It is easier to share analysis than raw data.

56. Moreover, there is one rule from which intelligence services should not depart and that is the protection of intelligence sources. Identities should be kept secret in order to guarantee security. This seems logical and natural. However, protection of sources involves technical resources. And whatever type of source are involved, knowing them can provide an insight into a state's intelligence policy. This principle is one of the main obstacles to the sharing of intelligence. Services will not give information that they think may be traced back to source. In such cases, the likelihood of co-operation and exchange is lessened. Furthermore, it is unlikely that a state which has sophisticated intelligence resources will agree to share sensitive assessments with other countries, unless it thinks it will get back something of interest in return.

57. Finally, one new development is that the European Union is organising co-operation among the member states' intelligence services. This was a decision taken in the wake of the 11 September attacks at a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 September , the conclusions of which state: "The Council would reiterate how important it is for the quality of Europol analyses that the police authorities and also the intelligence services of the Member States should quickly pass on any relevant information on terrorism, ... The Council has decided to set up within Europol, for a renewable period of six months, a team of counter-terrorist specialists for which the Member States are invited to appoint liaison officers from police and intelligence services specialising in the fight against terrorism, ...".

  • 2. Intelligence in the framework of EU politico-military structures

58. The above study of intelligence requirements for international crisis management has shown how important it is to have reliable, up-to-date intelligence. As far as the European Union is concerned the need for independent decision-making and political control over interventions arising demanded that specific structures be set up, forming a veritable "intelligence chain" adapted to the needs of the various crisis-management stages. At present the European Union has a crisis-management structure which is answerable to the Secretary-General of the Council/CFSP High Representative (SG/HR) and the Political and Security Committee (PSC) which operates as described below.

The Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit (PPEWU) which came into existence as a result of the Amsterdam Treaty and was set up in October 1999, works directly to the SG/HR. Its task is to provide assessments of the Union's interests in regard to the CFSP, to give early warning of crises and produce documents setting out, with reasons, the policy options available. It comprises a number of sections: the Balkans / Central Europe - CFSP - Horizontal Issues and Latin America - Russia / Ukraine / Transatlantic Relations / Asia - the Mediterranean/Barcelona process - Middle East /Africa.

The unit has 20 or so staff and senior civil servants from the Council and Commission Secretariats. It relies on diplomatic, economic, political and social information, either freely available or obtained through member states' diplomatic missions.

59. The formation and setting up in 2001 of three new bodies within the Council Secretariat: the Political and Security Committee (PSC), the EU Military Committee (EUMC) and the EU Military Staff (EUMS), represents substantial progress for European defence. These bodies were created at the Nice Summit (December 2000) and were all declared operational at the Laeken Summit (December 2001).

60. The Political and Security Committee (PSC), comprising senior civil servants of ambassador status and answerable to the European Council (heads of state) and the General Affairs Council (GAC) at ministerial level has responsibility for all issues in connection with the CFSP: "... a Political and Security Committee shall monitor the international situation in the areas covered by the Common Foreign and Security Policy and contribute to the definition of policies by delivering opinions to the Council at the request of the Council or on its own initiative. It shall also monitor the implementation of agreed policies, without prejudice to the responsibility of the Presidency and the Commission" (3).

61. In the event of a crisis its task is to exercise "political control and strategic direction" of EU-led operations. It examines all the possible options for a response by the Union and puts them to the Council. It issues directives to the Military Committee which itself addresses recommendations and opinions to the PSC.

62. The Military Committee (EUMC) consisting of chiefs-of-staff of the armed forces, represented by their military delegates4 is "the forum for military consultation and co-operation between the EU Member States in the field of conflict prevention and crisis management"5. More generally it exercises military direction over all defence activities undertaken in the EU framework. As we saw, it provides advice and recommendations to the PSC (at the latter's request or on its own initiative on all EU military matters, for instance assessment of potential risks and the assessment and review of capability goals.

63. In the event of a crisis, at the PSC's request, it issues an initiating directive to the Director-General of the EUMS to draw up and present strategic military options. It evaluates those options and forwards them to the PSC together with its evaluation. On the basis of the military option selected by the Council, it authorises the drafting of an initial planning directive for the Operation Commander. The Chairman of the Military Committee is the spokesman for that committee and in that capacity is military advisor to the SG/HR.

64. The European Union Military Staff (EUMS) is the main source of military expertise in the European Union. In the event of a crisis it performs early warning, situation assessment and strategic planning for Petersberg tasks, including the definition of a politico-military framework and development of strategic military options. The EUMS has numerous functions which obviously increase in a crisis-management situation. The range of functions it has been assigned entails a major intelligence requirement which will need to be provided by "the appropriate national and multinational intelligence capabilities"6.

An Intelligence Division has therefore been created within the EUMS. It assists with situation assessment, early warning (strategic monitoring) and provides operational support in the event of European engagement. However it does not handle documentary intelligence.

The division has a staff of thirty or so (23 officers and 7 junior officers). There is at least one expert from every member state. The experts all work for the Director-General of the EUMS but also have a secure link to their own national intelligence services. They are thus able to receive intelligence contributed by their own country and request intelligence if necessary. This arrangement made it necessary to set up special infrastructure and each member state identified which of its own particular agencies would be responsible for providing intelligence. From intelligence received, the division is to provide situation assessments that reflect a common European position. The documents produced are forwarded to the Director-General of the EUMS, the Military Committee, the Situation Centre and the national intelligence agencies.

65. The Situation Centre (SITCEN) is the key to the synergy between intelligence from civilian and military sources. Answerable to the SG/HR and led by his Special Adviser, it is responsible for supplying him with any intelligence required for situation assessment and monitoring. It includes a cell for gathering and analysing intelligence contributed by national intelligence services, staffed by personnel made available by the member states. The staff, other than those of the cell described, are drawn from the PPEWU and the EUMS Intelligence Division The SITCEN synthesises the information and circulates it. In the event of a crisis being declared it becomes a crisis monitoring cell and therefore operates round the clock..

66. In terms of EU and NATO relations the special part to be played here by BICES (Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System), NATO's computerised secret intelligence network, should be noted. The information is not in fact supplied by NATO. The Allies put selected documents on this network. All the experts feel it is most important for SITCEN or the Intelligence Division to have a terminal connected up to this network. This is not yet the case, since arrangements are as yet nowhere near being finalised, largely due to the fact that some EU members are not members of NATO. For the moment the only interim security agreement between the EU and NATO makes no provision for intelligence exchange between the EUMS/SITCEN and NATO (SHAPE/IMS)7. However it should be noted that such agreements, and membership of the BICES network, formerly existed between NATO and WEU.

67. For the time being the EU has taken over the WEUCOM network which existed between the WEU Secretariat-General and the member country capitals, with 11 countries connected up to it. This is now known as ESDPnet. However this system is regarded as too slow to cope with real time political and military control of operations. Studies are in progress concerning the setting up of a fast flow computerised system between EUMS/SITCEN and the member states.

68. The matter of "top secret" intelligence from member country services under such an arrangement has not been settled. Mr Solana has therefore decided to set up a cell made up of "synthesis/assessment" specialists to act as an Intelligence Committee. This cell, under the authority of his Special Adviser, will consist of some 20 or so people, a number of whom will have special ties with the national intelligence services.

69. Thus a viable organisation has been set up to support those in charge of developing strategic options and politico-military choices as a crisis evolves. This should make it possible to provide an efficient advisory service to political decision-makers involved at the level of the General Affairs Council or in the European Council at the level of heads of state.

70. Such an organisation will have as its main task to secure an intelligence function in the pre-decision phase in the event of a crisis. Furthermore, in the event of EU-led military intervention, the strategic evaluations it provides will form the basis for operational planning work in the Operation HQ. However this HQ will need more detailed, practical intelligence for leading operations and discussions are at present going on in the EUMS as to how the "intelligence cycle" should be organised at Operation HQ and battlefield Force HQ levels within the framework of the ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Targeting) concept.

71. The arrangements are going satisfactorily in practice and well-qualified staff have been seconded from the member states and provide good coverage in terms of their expertise of the various crisis sectors. The EUMS has already requested intelligence from the national services and these requests have in large part been met. Lastly, meetings of military intelligence service chiefs of the member states are beginning to be held regularly under successive presidencies.

72. At present European co-operation as regards the use of defence intelligence is proceeding nicely, although it is based only on voluntary contributions from the member nations and does not cover the intelligence-gathering phase, a field in which European co-operation still takes place very much on an ad hoc basis. Will the EU countries develop the habit of regularly supplying quality intelligence about the various crisis theatres? Given how essential to EU autonomy the answer to that question is, one might draw the conclusion that the way in which intelligence is shared will be decisive for the EU's future defence arrangements.

  • 3. Resources, co-operation and projects in intelligence gathering

  • (a) Space imagery

73. Satellites are essential for gathering the intelligence necessary for crisis prevention and management, specifically for general situation monitoring, battlefield assessment or assessment of refugee movements, monitoring embargoes, preparing humanitarian work or military intervention.

74. Moreover, they are the sole permanent means of surveillance of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They are able to observe factories in production in any part of the globe and the activities of test centres, or the setting up of ballistic missiles. They are also essential in verifying compliance with arms control treaties.

75. There are several categories of observation satellite, which make their advantages and disadvantages complementary. While optical satellites have good resolution they are "blind" at night and in overcast weather. Radar satellites, whose resolution is inferior, have an "all weather" capability. Infrared sensors, which record a non-visible part of the optical spectrum and form images from variations in temperature, provide "night" vision.

76. All recent crises, from the Gulf war to the Balkans and the conflict in Afghanistan, have served to confirm the importance of space observation. They have also revealed the United States' unrivalled dominance in this field and Europe's dependence. Thus the EU ministers, meeting in Laeken in November 2001, stated that a real investment needed to be made in high resolution space imagery programmes, if Europe was to gain a proper strategic intelligence capability of its own.

77. Helios 1 is the shining example of successful co-operation. This programme involving France (with a 78.9% share), Italy (14.1% share) and Spain (7% share) covers two military optical satellites Helios 1A and 1B. Both were launched from the Kourou base and placed in orbit - one in July 1995 and the other in December 1999.

78. In total, more than 30 French, Spanish and Italian firms contributed to development of the Helios 1 programme. The savings made by each participant made it possible to keep costs within the estimated ceiling of approximately 1.52 billion euros, including the launch.

79. The principle underlying this form of co-operation is joint use. The system ground segment comprises the main centres at Creil in the Paris region, Patricia di Mare, near Rome, and Torrejón, close to Madrid, and the image receiving centres at Colmar (France) Lecce (Italy) and Maspalomas (Spain), and a French movable battlefield station (STT - station de théâtre transportable). The main centre for France at Creil manages and co-ordinates the entire Helios 1 system and undertakes the daily programming of satellites in response to requests from individual countries on a basis proportionate to the financial share of each.

80. The example of tripartite co-operation over Helios 1 would appear to demonstrate that co-operation over technical information gathering assets can foster a degree of harmonisation of the participant nations' intelligence policies and strategies. Today, 30% of images are the result of joint requests as compared with 17% in 1997. During operations in Kosovo all images taken were jointly commissioned.

81. Thus, as Europe's first military observation satellite, the Helios 1 system seems to be relatively successful since its performance, although not equal to that of its American counterparts, is well thought of and co-operation has proved to be of interest for the three countries. However the Helios 2 programme France is committed to as a replacement for Helios 1 is having difficulty attracting the same interest. Nevertheless, Belgium and Spain which have decided each to take a 2.5% share in Helios 2 are likely to be the first to join forces with France in the project. The first of the two satellites (optical and infrared) is scheduled to be put in orbit around 2004.

82. Apart from the Helios 1 programme, European space imagery projects are divided between various national programmes: SAR Lupe in the case of Germany, Ishtar for Spain, Cosmo Skymed for Italy and Helios 2 for France. The various forms of co-operation envisaged are different from Helios 1. Whilst with the Helios 1 programme it was possible to talk about virtually "integrated" co-operation, in other words sharing common resources, the newer co-operation projects are better described as complementary rather than co-operative. Thus the countries concerned are to develop a space imagery (either optical or radar) programme, supplementing it with exchanges of images available through bilateral agreements. With Helios, France opted for optical technology and therefore has no radar satellites, which goes to explain the co-operation agreements concluded between Germany and Italy, whose intention it is to develop the radar side.

83. At their Mainz Summit (June 2000), France and Germany made known their intention to contribute to setting up a European intelligence capability with their future military space imagery systems Helios 2 and SAR Lupe. With this in view, France and Germany will exchange SAR Lupe radar and Helios optical data. Such exchanges will be limited to existing data and there are no plans for each country to programme the other's satellite.

84. Thanks to the Germany military SAR Lupe system, available in 2005, Europe will fill a gap in high-resolution radar observation.

85. The agreement signed between France and Italy at the Turin Summit (January 2001) defines the principles of co-operation governing a large multi-sensor system supported by small satellites for radar and optical tasks. The system is based on two civilian military satellite programmes to be put into space between 2003 and 2006. One is the Italian Cosmo-Skymed system, which provides for four radar satellites, and the other the French Pléïades programme, consisting of two high resolution optical satellites.

86. Based on the existence of their respective national observation satellite programmes, France and Italy signed an agreement to exchange satellite-based information. The agreement also covers the ground segment which is to be developed jointly by the two parties. This is a dual-use (civilian and military) system designed both to protect defence interests in terms of security and priority of task requests, and to meet civilian and commercial users' requirements. Use of the system will in fact be open to several categories of user but task requests from the defence ministries will be dealt with as a matter of priority. This form of co-operation is open to all EU member states and to European multilateral organisations, heralding progress towards setting up a European space policy.

87. In conclusion, such forms of technical co-operation give impetus to European space intelligence but are no guarantee that a genuinely common European space system will be set up in the future. They are, however, proving themselves indispensable for the simple reason that no European Union member has the means to equip itself at national level with the whole array of intelligence gathering and processing components. The continuation of the Helios 2 programme, with the involvement of Belgium and Spain, along with the Pléïades/Cosmo Skymed and Helios/SAR Lupe agreements, is an encouraging sign and the formation of a global European space observation system might ultimately be envisaged by starting to link up the ground segments of the various existing systems.

88. Apart from the different forms of European co-operation over the different technical means of intelligence-gathering, it should be remembered that the Torrejón Satellite Centre provides a real opportunity for integration of the information processing aspects of European intelligence. Recently transferred to the European Union, the Torrejón Centre is responsible for processing images obtained through space observation for the EU's Situation Centre and Military Staff. The information it provides can be used for developing strategic options. In this connection the EU Military Staff, and in particular its Intelligence Division, is responsible for guiding the Centre's research in security and defence matters by letting it know what its needs are. Moreover, in terms of the conduct of any military intervention, the Operation HQ should be put in direct contact with the Torrejón Centre.

89. However, progress still needs to be made at the Satellite Centre to reach the national military centres' level of efficiency in exploiting space imagery. Because of its largely civilian character, and the lack of enough appropriately trained staff (military image interpreters) the Torrejón Centre has difficulty in providing the virtually real time imagery necessary to the conduct of military operations during a crisis. There is a need therefore to set up a proper military intelligence division within the Satellite Centre, with seconded military staff from the various member countries, able to work flexibly round the clock and capable of being requisitioned in times of crisis.

90. Finally, in order to be able to provide complete image dossiers the Centre should not confine itself to space imagery but must also be able to integrate and correlate this with aerial imagery (gathered from piloted or unmanned aircraft). The Torrejón Centre must ultimately become a true European imagery agency.

  • (b) Aerial imagery

91. Most air forces have long had a piloted component assigned to air reconnaissance which now involves photographic, infrared and radar technology. France has a wide range of vectors and sensors. The former include the Mirage F1 CR and the Mirage IV P and as far as sensors are concerned these craft are equipped with pods: camera (resolution approximately 1 metre) infrared and radar (on Mirage F1 CR only: resolution 3-6 metres). Besides the 5 Mirage IV P, whose range, cruising altitude (50 000 feet) and speed (Mach 2) are still unchallenged and the two Mirage F1 CR squadrons (40 aircraft), in service until 2005 and 2010/2012 respectively, France also has updated Super-Etendard on aircraft carriers. All air force planes given over to tactical or strategic reconnaissance are to be replaced by the Mirage 2000-N by around 2005-2006. These last are equipped with new generation RECO-NG reconnaissance pods with optical and infrared capability and using digital technology.

92. For future aerial surveillance of the skies, the future rapid reaction force is to have UK and French-supplied AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) (one or two each). For battlefield surveillance it will not have the American J-STARS (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System) but there will be the possibility of drawing on the French Horizon heliborne battlefield reconnaissance system which proved its worth in the Balkans, and, from 2006, the British airborne ASTOR (Airborne Stand-Off Radar) system, capable of processing and delivering virtually real time, all-weather radar images.

93. Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are pilotless aircraft, whose flight is pre-programmed and hence cannot be changed during a mission, or piloted remotely, in other words to which an operator in a control cabin gives orders and which retransmits video images of the terrain it is overflying.

94. In terms of operational tasks, the Americans have assigned the four Ds to UAVs: dull, dirty (radioactive environment or toxic in the case of nuclear or bacteriological attack) dangerous and dollars. UAVs can be used at times of crisis for potentially dangerous and politically sensitive missions when the capture or loss of a crew could lead to escalation, in diplomatic or military terms. The fact of their being pilotless means that missions can be of long duration since technology now makes it possible to override the physiological constraints inherent in human beings. The reduction in costs UAVs make possible, and their size, limit the economic and operational consequences of their loss.

95. Drones were used as long ago as 1962, over Cuba, and their use in reconnaissance work has gradually spread. They were used by the Israelis during the Arab-Israeli wars (particularly in Lebanon) and by the Americans to detect enemy anti-aircraft systems in Vietnam. Reconnaissance UAVs have since made a useful contribution in all recent conflicts (the Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo) right up to the operation "Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan, where for the first time a "fighting drone" (UCAV or Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), here the American Predator aircraft, equipped with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, was used.

There are various types of UAV:

– slow, short-range UAVs;

– fast medium-range UAVs;

– mid-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs;

– high-altitude long endurance (HALE) UAVs.

96. Slow short-range UAVs meet the need, for example, "to see beyond the next hill", or for precise identification of targets, real-time monitoring of effectiveness of fire or local jamming of enemy radio-communications. Europeans are well-provided for in this category. France has Fox and Crécerelle UAVs (produced by the French firms CAC Systèmes and Sagem). Germany has Brevel (produced jointly with the French firm Matra) and the Taifun. The British have developed the Phoenix system, a UAV which can be retrieved without an airstrip or special equipment, using a parachute and an inflatable cushion of an original design. Italy is bringing out the Mirach 26 and Spain the Siva. Lastly the Netherlands has ordered four squadrons of Sperwer UAVs from Sagem.

97. Fast drones are meant to carry out tactical intelligence missions for ground troops deep behind enemy lines. Here Europe has the CL-289 UAV (France and Germany) the Mirach 150 (Italy).

98. Europe has only a very limited number of mid-altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs. The French army has acquired four Italian-made Hunter UAVs. This type of drone is suited to zone surveillance as it can stay in the air for five to six hours at 15 000 feet. It is equipped with a video camera which transmits images to the control post. It also has a laser beam which can light up targets to be attacked by aircraft fitted with laser-guided weapons.

99. In contrast, Europeans do not have any HALE UAVs comparable to the United States Global Hawk, which was used in Afghanistan, flying at a height of 20 000 metres (or twice the height of commercial flights). This type of drone can make flights of up to 35 hours at a distance of 2 000 km from base.

100. Many projects are under study in Europe but so far there have been no official co-operative ventures. Thus, in the Capabilities Action Plan adopted by the EU member states at the defence ministers' Capabilities Improvement Conference (November 2001), it was decided to launch joint studies to be directed by a different member state for each deficiency recorded. France was given the task of directing the study on UAVs.

  • (c) Electronic interception

101. Ears are just as important as eyes and electronic interception technology provides amazing possibilities for the purpose of intelligence. In this context reference has to be made to the Echelon network which can intercept communications, conversations, signals, faxes, e-mails, etc. across the planet. But although this unique system is a perfect example of how highly advanced technical co-operation can work in the field of electronic espionage, the problem is that it is wholly Anglo-Saxon. (In fact, Echelon involves the American National Security Agency (NSA), the United Kingdom's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Australia's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), Canada's Communications Security Establishment and New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)).

102. What is the siuation in Europe? It has to be said that at the present time there is no real technical co-operation in this area as each country takes the view that the electromagnetic situation in a given zone is a matter for its sovereignty. This means that any European potential will be confined to national equipment and approaches existing side by side. As far as space is concerned, they are virtually non-existent. Nevertheless, one can at least list the systems that do exist. To begin with, it should be remembered that intelligence-gathering by intercepting transmissions, or SIGINT (signals intelligence) falls into two categories:

– COMINT (communications intelligence) involves techniques of evesdropping, recording, identification, decoding and message analysis;

– ELINT (electronic intelligence) covers radiogoniometry, identification and analysis of sources of electromagnetic emissions.

Furthermore, as with imagery, eavesdropping relies mainly on airborne and space-based facilities. There are also naval vessels (the French navy's Bougainville for example is equipped with communications interception equipment) and fixed monitoring centres.

103. Airborne facilities take the form of transport or rapid aircraft which intercept radioelectric emissions, identify them and then locate their origin. In peacetime electromagnetic intelligence aircraft can be used to detect the beginnings of a crisis owing to signs of a sudden increase in radioelectric activity. Overall, Europe has some twenty aircraft capable of carrying out electromagnetic reconnaissance missions. Germany has Breguet 1150 Atlantic aircraft dating back to the 1970s and since modernised twice. In addition to the Falcon 20 and Tornado, the United Kingdom can rely on seven Sentry AEW.I (E-3D AWACS) as well as three Nimrod R.1 aircraft which were commissioned in 1974 and last modernised in 1995. Sweden has two Gulfstream IV called S102 B. Finally, France has two C-160 Transall Gabriel and a DC-8 Sarigue. It also has the possibility of fitting its aircraft with the ASTAC cradle which specialises in electromagnetic reconnaissance.

104. I 

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).