Dr. Lowenthal visits Goodfellow
By Staff Sgt. Joshua Edwards, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 19, 2017
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Dr. Mark Lowenthal, Intelligence and Security Academy president and former Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production assistant director, toured Goodfellow’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance training facilities and visited with students June 13 to 15.
During his visit, he stopped in the 17th Training Wing Public Affairs office for an interview.
17th TRW PA: Why are you visiting Goodfellow?
Dr. Lowenthal: I was asked to come down here to review some of your training programs and to give a course on the history of U.S. intelligence.
What are your thoughts on Goodfellow and the training done here?
I’m really impressed and I mean that very sincerely. I’m really impressed with the dedication and the quality of people I’ve met. I’ve been taken through the details of some of the courses and they seem extremely well thought out, well laid out and logical.
What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge for ISR and how are we preparing for it?
Here is my biggest concern. Most of you who have joined the serve or the intelligence community have joined sometime after 9/11. So, you’ve spent most of your careers doing counter terrorism and counter insurgency, which were the primary issues, and they are still very important issues, but now we have to spend more time on strategic issues: China, Russia, North Korea. [Counter terrorism] and [counter insurgency] are largely tactical. You are looking for individual targets, picking them out and taking them out. Strategic issues are really different from that. I have the view, and several of my colleagues who have done this have the view, that it is much easier to go from strategic down to tactical than the other way. I think we are going to have a lot of people who really have to relearn their profession because we are going to be worrying about a set of issues that are totally new to them, and it will be very different from the issues they have been handling for most of their careers.
What are you priorities regarding ISR?
Really, well trained analysts. That is basically what I’ve always worried about. I worry about the training and the education of the analyst. That is one of the places where the military has the civilian intelligence agencies beat, is you guys understand the importance of continuing education throughout your career and in the civilian intelligence community, not so much, and it is a really serious problem. So I just worry about, especially as issues morph, you have to keep training your workforce.
What are your feelings toward the current state of ISR?
I think the collection array is probably in the best shape that it’s been in, in 10 or 15 years, the overhead array is in really good shape, which is really good. I think, as I said, there is a shift for example we’ve been relying in geo very heavily on [unmanned aerial vehicles.] UAVs are wonderful if you are flying in a permissive environment. Nobody in Somalia or anyplace else really has the ability to take out a UAV. You start worrying about China, you can’t fly a UAVs over China, they just aren’t going to allow this. If you are worrying about Ukraine, not so much. We are going to have to think differently about how we collect a lot of different materials, go back to what I’m used to from the Cold War, overhead collection given 90 minute loops, so there is going to be a big change in that. You’re going to have to deal with less intelligence, in some respects. You’re not going to get 32 hours of feed, you’re going to get a bunch of happy snaps as the bird comes over the targets. There is going to be a big change and everyone doing ISR is going to have to adjust to the change.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I’m very impressed by the work here at Goodfellow. It made me feel really good.