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

Release Date: 2016-12-07

Document Date: 2004-01-14

Description: 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.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(C) InSIDer's View of History ... A Lesson in Personal Accountability
FROM: Charles H. Berlin III
SID Chief of Staff
Run Date: 01/14/2004
FROM: Charles H. Berlin III
SID Chief of Staff
(U//FOUO) Note from SIGINT Communications:
This is the first "InSIDer's View of History" story.
See the related article for details on this series.
(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 responsibly. 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.

SERIES:
(U) InSIDer's View of
History '04
1. InSIDer's View of
History ... A Lesson
in Personal
Accountability
2. InSIDer's View of
History : How a Four
Star General Once
Waited for a Lowly
Captain to Finish
Eating Lunch
3. InSIDer's View of
History : In SHAPE,
In France
4. InSIDer's View of
History : 'Soviet
Rocket' Strikes
Chicksands
5. InSIDer's View of
History: Onboard Air
Force Two Bound for
Moscow
6. InSIDer's View of
History : Testifying
Before Congress...
Who Turned Out the
Lights?
7. InSIDer's View of
History : Resourceful
NCOs at Goodfellow
8. InSIDer's View of
History : Desert One
- The Iranian
Hostage Rescue
Mission
9. InSIDer's View of
History : SIGINT
Appearing in the
Press
10. InSIDer's View of
History : Meeting
President Reagan
11. InSIDer's View of
History : 'Local
Support' as Stress
Management

(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.

12. In SID er's View of
History : Quite a
Welcome!
13. In SID er's View of
History : The
Adventure Continues
-- Evacuation from
Belgrade

(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)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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