Interview withBrig. General (ret) Amnon Sofrin,Head of The Intelligence Directorate,Israeli Intelligence Service (ISIS)By Katia Wyatt, DGI 2011

In anticipation of the forthcoming Defence Geospatial Intelligence meeting in London in January, we met with Brig. General (ret) Amnon Sofrin to hear his thoughts on current and future trends in geospatial operations...

GIS TO AID IN-THEATRE DECISION MAKING

“Accurate Geo information enable us to locate the enemy units in a “Real Time”, to get almost immediately the Situation Awareness Picture and to decide on further actions. For soldiers fighting in the battlefield - we can direct them in a much more efficient way as well as enable them to carry out their missions with less casualties. This approach is being adopted firstly by the armed forces, with emphasis on the operational parts: Operations, Fire Control, Air Assault. The last to adopt the system will be the logistical elements.”

THE GROWTH OF GIS TECHNOLOGY

“The constant growth of information forces us to use sophisticated systems and tools in order to find “the needle in that haystack”. Geospatial Intelligence helps us “group” the information and relate it to pre - known sites. This way we can see a more coherent Situation Picture, containing several layers of information. On the other hand, when spot that information is gathered on an unknown / new site, we will have to search and look at the new phenomenon, so that we are less “surprised” in the battlefield.”  

HUMAN TERRAIN ANALYSIS

“Human Terrain Analysis is one of the main keys to generate the Intelligence Picture. It gives us familiarity with:

- The enemy’s obstacles and fortifications, and we can look at a suitable solution

- The enemy’s Orbat (Order of Battle), their weapon systems and their deployment strategies. We can plan our Offensive / Defensive plans accordingly In IDF’s doctrine Terrain Analysis is a basic knowledge, based on it we prepare our plans and solutions, we generate our “Bank of Targets” and we keep updating our basic knowledge and plans according to updates.”

HOW WILL GEO CAPABILITIES CHANGE

“Geo capabilities will change things dramatically for several reasons:

- We will have a very accurate and “Real Time” Situation Awareness Picture that will enable us to attack targets very efficiently and to plan our actions based on a very reliable picture

- We will be able to tell the exact location of our own troops & units thus avoiding hitting them (by mistake, off course)

- The commanders & Staff will be aware of updates and changes, and will be able to react accordingly

- This will be done faster, based on accurate information and on “Common Language” between all Commanders and Staff controlling the battlefield.”

Gen. Sofrin served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from 1973 to 2003. His last assignment with the IDF was Chief Combat Intelligence Corps, which he established and commanded for 3.5 years, retiring as Brigadier General. The Israeli experience of gathering, managing and  analysing intelligence to fight terrorism is perhaps second to none. Gen. Sofrin will be giving a unique presentation at 14:00 on 26th January in London on Strategically Positioning & Using GIS In Intelligence: An Israeli Case Study - You will hear his views, strategies and ideas on how GIS is used and will be used in intelligence in the future.

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