Title: InSIDer's View of History... A Lesson in Personal Accountability (repost)

Release Date: 2017-04-24

Document Date: 2004-12-23

Description: (Repost) SID Chief of Staff Charles Berlin discloses something startling: "As many of you know, our forces in Iraq are dropping bombs on the strength of SIGINT alone." He says this while sharing a story of a commander who was concerned about culpability for war crimes.

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(U) InSIDer's View of History ... A Lesson in Personal Accountability
(repost)
FROM: Charles H. Berlin III
(former) SID Chief of Staff
Run Date: 12/23/2004

Note from SIGINT Communications: It's that time of year when SID today presents its "best of"
articles for the year that's coming to a close. We'll start the ball rolling with this article from
January 2004... (U)
(C) In the winter of 1995-96, I was deployed to Italy in support of our Balkans effort known as
OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR. I was the deputy C-2 of the Combined Air Operations Center
(CAOC) in Vicenza. One of my many, many duties was to oversee the preparation of target
packages for contingency bombing as American tanks crossed the river into Bosnia. My staff and
I diligently prepared these packages, which consisted mainly of imagery packages with
Designated Mean Point of Impact (DMPIs - pronounced 'dimpy' by the Air Force guys). Our job
was to select targets from all three factions at the time (Serb, Croatian and Muslim) that
represented a range of options for the CINC, from show of force through harassment to major
destruction.
(C) Due to the uncertainty of resistance to the ground effort, the CINC (we call them
"Combatant Commanders" now) wanted to have a total package in his hip pocket if he had to
attack. There had been some mistakes made in previous bombings (with civilian losses) and an
F-16 had been shot down so the packages had to be checked and rechecked with the
weaponeers and operational planners. After a LOT of work we had a good set of target packages
for the CINC.
(C) One day, the CINC (General Ryan - future Chief of Staff of the Air Force) showed up
unannounced at my door. After I recovered from the shock of seeing all those stars in my
doorway, I asked him how I could help him. He said he wanted to review the target packages.
Since there were over 100 of them, I selected about ten for him to spot check (I assumed he
was a busy guy). He sat right down and began his review. He pored over the photos and asked
about the DMPIs. After an explanation he said, "I approve all the DMPIs, now give me the next
set." I said that he didn't have to review them all since it was my job to do this for him since he
is busy, etc. If you know General Ryan at all, you will not be surprised by his immediate
reaction.
(C) As I was put at the position of attention, I was given a lesson in personal responsibility. The
CINC explained that warfare had made a fundamental change - that commanders had a legal
responsibility in the war crimes sense. If a mistake is made, there was the real possibility of a
war crimes charge in the climate of the Balkans war. The CINC was bound and determined that
no one below him would be responsible. So he wanted to personally approve every DMPI. It
became a long day and a learning experience for me. It really brought home the concepts of
responsibility and accountability.
(S//SI) For us today this lesson is especially important. The planning cycle for dropping a bomb
has compressed from a day to minutes and the criterion for the aiming point has less and less
review. As many of you know, our forces in Iraq are dropping bombs on the strength of SIGINT
alone. We are proud of their confidence in us, but have you ever considered the enormous risk
the commanders are assuming in this regard? Are you ready to share that risk? Makes you think
about how critical your best efforts are.
(C) Keep in mind the awesome responsibility we have to do quality work fast. In the past we
may have traded quality for speed. That equation doesn't hold any more. We are in the business
of saving lives and we mainly think of it as alerting the good guys to the bad guys and targeting
them, but it also means being aware of the location of the good guys (to prevent fratricide) and

more and more an awareness of the non-combatants (to prevent the tragedy of killing the
innocents). Ask yourself this question: Am I doing my very best? Our success and their lives
depend on the answer.

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

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DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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