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NATO Intelligence Fusion Center opens in England

By BRYAN MITCHELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 17, 2006

RAF MOLESWORTH, England — U.S. and European military and political leaders gathered here Monday to mark the opening of the NATO Intelligence Fusion Center.

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, traveled from his headquarters in Mons, Belgium, to rural Cambridgeshire to join more than 100 international dignitaries, military leaders and local English officials to celebrate the creation of the so-called IFC, where intelligence from 17 NATO countries will converge.

“The purpose of this center is to share, not to protect,” said Jones, referring to questions about the lack of shared intelligence between NATO partners in the past. “Mutual trust and cooperation are critical for mission success. You can only get out what you put in.”

But what does that mean to the lance corporal patrolling the perilous streets of Ramadi or the captain organizing future missions in Bagram?

“We are going to give the corporal’s leaders better information to make better decisions,” Jones said.

This will happen by consolidating information gathered from separate NATO partners stationed throughout the world, especially in Afghanistan, and producing more focused intelligence.

John Colston, who serves as the NATO assistant secretary for defense policy and planning, joined Jones and the British Minister of State for Armed Forces, Adam Ingram, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The center will allow us to realize the threats to our collective security,” Colston said. “It will give us the ability to act with greater speed and dispatch.”

The ceremony was held in a refurbished aircraft hangar on this 423rd Air Base Squadron installation that is home to the Joint Analysis Center, which serves as the U.S. European Command’s intelligence headquarters.

The JAC analyzes and produces intelligence from 77 countries across Europe and Africa for the U.S. military and NATO. Reporters were not allowed to visit or view the new Fusion Intelligence Center and were instead provided a DVD with information about it.

Along with the combined intelligence assets at RAF Molesworth, the United Kingdom is also home to RAF Menwith Hill. That 560-acre Yorkshire complex is managed by the Air Force’s Air Intelligence Agency and is home to a National Security Agency station.

These three intelligence complexes will work to keep America and its trans-Atlantic allies fed the best intelligence possible.

“Knowledge is power,” Ingram said.


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