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Proactive Preemptive Operations Group

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In August 2002, the first public hints of a new U.S. secret counterintelligence group -- the Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) -- emerged from a report of the Defense Science Board (DSB), a Pentagon advisory group, and found its way into daylight.

  • On September 26, 2002, United Press International (UPI) announced that it had exclusively obtained documents summarizing the report of the Defense Science Board, which were to be publicly released in late October, after it has been presented to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The report is entitled Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism. [3]

August 16, 2002, Presentation

The August 16, 2002, Power Point presentation, last found with pages dated June 6, 2003 (see next block below), currently exists in Power Point format with a current date of "9/7/03" and subtitled "Interagency Issues." The briefing now ends at page 29 with the statement "[remainder of briefing deleted here]".

  • Note: Earlier cache file linkage to the article is no longer available. See TALK.

Page 2: All of the names originally attributed to the Task Force (see Proactive Preemptive Operations Group Task Force) are the same. However, there are additional categories listed without any names attached to them:

  • Psyops
  • Managed Information Dissemination
  • Precision Targeting
  • Defensive Information Operations
  • Others

Plus the following citation: "We drew on past DSB studies. We leveraged current DSB Studies. Enduring Freedom".

Page 3: "The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT): A Real War, A New Type of Adversary

  • Requires new strategies, postures, and organization
  • This study only scratches the surface of what will eventually be needed
  • Committed, resourceful, globally dispersed adversary with strategic reach
  • A long, at times violent, and borderless war

Page 4: "Elements of a National Strategy: Orchestrate All Instruments of National Power in a Global Campaign

  • Preemption/proaction/interdiction/disruption/quick-response capabilities
  • Be proactive in securing partners and help from allies, friends, and others
  • Hold states/sub-state actors accountable
  • Foster information sharing
  • Fight forward
  • Focus particular attention on WMD
  • Sophisticated, aggressive public diplomacy
  • All the above in parallel with consequence management and protecting the homeland and DoD?s missions and forces

Page 5: "Guidance From Our Terms of Reference

  • Focus is overseas military operations
  • Military instrument is only part of the necessary capabilities
  • Examined the role of intelligence in some detail
  • But difficult to segment theaters in this war
  • We did consider threats to US military force projection from the US

Page 20: Aggressive Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)

CLASSIFIED

Page 21: Aggressive Proactive, Preemptive Operations

  • Creation of a Proactive Preemptive Operating Group (P2OG) of creative subject matter operational experts such as:
  • IW/IO - Covert Action - Diplomacy - Cover & Deception
  • Intelligence Operations - PSYOPS - HUMINT - SIGINT - SOF
  • Improves information collection by stimulating reactions
  • Enhance operational preparation of the battlespace to support preemptive options and actions
  • Signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk
  • Vest responsibility and accountability for the P2OG to a 'Special Operations Executive' in the NSC who shall:
  • Define the national strategy
  • Coordinate action
  • Enunciate policy
  • Execute to a plan coordinated with the SecDef and DCI and others as appropriate
  • The position exists in the National Security Council and is called: "National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism", NSPD-8, Oct. 24, 2001

Page 26: Recommendation: Proactive Operations

  • Recommendation
  • Develop an entirely new capability to proactively, preemptively evoke responses from adversary/terrorist groups
  • Form a new elite Counter-terrorism Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) at the NSC level
  • Highly specialized people with unique technical and intelligence skills such as information operations, PSYOP, network attack, covert activities, SIGINT, HUMINT, SOF, influence warfare/deception operations
  • Reports to NSC principal level
  • Lead Responsibility
  • Cost
  • 100 "new" people
  • $100M/yr for operations and support

Final Outbrief, August 16, 2002

The previous update of the "Final Outbrief of the DSB Summer Study (dated August 16, 2002) outlines a discussion on "Aggressive Proactive, Preemptive Operations" and the "Creation of a Proactive Preemptive Operating Group (P2OG) of creative subject matter operational experts [and tasks] on Page 22:

  • IW/IO
  • Covert Action
  • Diplomacy
  • Cover & Deception
  • Intelligence Operations
  • PSYOPS
  • HUMINT
  • SIGINT
  • SOF
  • Improves information collection by stimulating reactions
  • Enhance operational preparation of the battlespace to support preemptive options and actions
  • Signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk
  • Vest responsibility and accountability for the P2OG to a "Special Operations Executive" in the NSC who shall:
  • Define the national strategy
  • Coordinate action
  • Enunciate policy
  • Execute to a plan coordinated with the SecDef and DCI and others as appropriate

The first thirty pages of the unclassifed 78-page findings and recommendations of the August 16, 2002, DSB Summer Study are also posted at the FAS (Federation of American Scientists) web site in PowerPoint format.

Proposal: P2OG

  • "One hundred 'highly specialized people with unique technical and intelligence skills such as information operations, PSYOP, network attack, covert activities, SIGINT, HUMINT, SOF, influence warfare/deception operations' could constitute a new, elite Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG),' reporting to the National Security Council with an annual budget of $100 million.
"The proposal is the latest sign of a new assertiveness by the Defense Department in intelligence matters, and an indication that the cutting edge of intelligence reform is not to be found in Congress but behind closed doors in the Pentagon." [4]
  • One way to invigorate U.S. intelligence would be to "Develop an entirely new capability to proactively, preemptively evoke responses from adversary/terrorist groups," according to the DSB. Such an approach would "improve [intelligence] information collection by stimulating reactions" from the target [5] ... which is to say, provoke the terrorists into action. See Counterpunch article.
  • Look Out! Here Comes P2OG, Alternet.org, November 5, 2002: "The Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG) -- as described in an internal briefing drafted this summer to guide other Pentagon agencies -- would carry out 'secret operations' aimed at 'stimulating reactions' among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces.' Wait a minute -- prod terrorists into action?! Hello again, Dr. Strangelove.... And just to make sure that we lose international support altogether, the brief declares the U.S. will hold 'states/sub-state actors accountable' and 'signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk.' That is sure to play well with the rest of the world."

Definitions

Definition: preemptive attack - (DOD) An attack initiated on the basis of incontrovertible evidence that an enemy attack is imminent.[6]

Definition: proactive measures - (DOD) In antiterrorism, measures taken in the preventive stage of antiterrorism designed to harden targets and detect actions before they occur.[7]

Role of Defense "Covert Ops"

The following is from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers Weekly Intelligence Notes (WIN) 43-02 dated November 11, 2002:

DEFENSE "COVERT OPS" ROLE -- A 78-page briefing document recently obtained by the media titled "Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism" and produced by a 10-member panel of military experts [only AFIO member Admiral William O. Studeman, former DIRNSA, former Deputy DCI and former Acting DCI was identified as a member] under the auspices of the Defense Science Board advocates a greatly expanded and more assertive role for covert military actions, intelligence collection and operations to "stimulate reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction. In discussing the report, not yet forwarded to the President, the DSB chairman, William Schneider, Jr., rejected concerns that the proposal would usurp CIA's covert operations role, erode congressional oversight, or change long-standing policies such as prohibition of assassinations. Expansion of existing covert units and the addition of new covert units in all of the Services as well as the new expenditure of billions of dollars was called for. The panel recommended a number of new or morphed organizations in the design to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, psychological warfare, intelligence, cover and deception.

The proposed organization(s) would incorporate and expand existing military covert capabilities for the preparation, training and execution of anti-terrorist operations with the NSC doing the planning. The Army's highly compartmentalized Intelligence Support Activity, established in 1981 and now known as Gray Fox, anti-terror and intelligence collection capabilities would be included in the postulated hierarchy. One recommendation calls for the creation of a Proactive Preemptive Operating Group (P2OG) that would oversee missions involving special forces, psychological warfare experts and other covert operations. One aim would be to "improve information collection by stimulating reactions" among intelligence targets. The intent of the new organizations would be to hold "states/sub-state actors accountable" and "signal to harboring states that their sovereignty will be at risk" according to the panel's briefing paper.

Overall, an outside observer can develop the impression that a myriad of new organizations are proposed to assume the current duties of older units and post-9/11 anti-terror organizations. It probably is the manner in which the press has summarized the lengthy report, but a first reaction to the obviously necessary expansion and better coordination of US anti-terror measures being postulated in the report is that a formidable bureaucracy is to accompany the improvements.(Harvey) (LA Times 26 Oct '02, pg. 1, //G. Miller) ( LA Times 27 Oct '02 //W. Arkin)

Secret Warriors

Pentagon takes quiet aim at terror. Military amassing more secret warriors (Cache file, CNN, November 13, 2002).

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The secret side of the U.S. military's war on terrorism is quietly growing.

The Pentagon is planning to expand its use of special operations troops, including those that operate covertly in tandem with the CIA's paramilitary force, officials and private experts say.

Special operations forces played a critical role in toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan last fall and they almost surely would figure prominently in the earliest stages of a U.S. military action in Iraq, coordinating with local forces opposed to Saddam Hussein and hunting for Scud missile launchers. They have also figured prominently in other recent actions.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld believes the military needs to improve its ability to find and track terrorists around the globe and to take decisive action against them. His moves toward that goal have caused some friction with the CIA and led to concern among some that the Pentagon's civilian leaders will only gather and act on those pieces of intelligence that they want to hear and deliver to the Bush White House.

Officially, the Pentagon does not discuss its covert capabilities, but indications of Rumsfeld's interest in this shadowy area are apparent in a recent study by an advisory group.

The study called for the Pentagon and CIA to develop a new capability to "evoke responses" from terrorist groups so they can be attacked pre-emptively. Covert action, psychological operations, computer attacks, special operations forces and "deception operations" would be combined in that role.

Growth industry

Michael G. Vickers, a former Special Forces soldier and one-time CIA officer, said the evolving nature of the war on terrorism makes it likely that covert military operators will be called on more often in the months ahead. Having successfully chased the al Qaeda from Afghanistan -- their main operating base -- the United States and its coalition partners may need more unconventional forces to chase down individual fugitives elsewhere.

"This is basically a growth industry," said Vickers, now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

The CIA missile strike that killed a suspected al Qaeda leader in Yemen this week is stark evidence that the methods used to target terrorists are changing. It was the kind of pre-emptive action outside a traditional war zone that Rumsfeld wants the military to take.

Rumsfeld is considering adding billions of dollars to the $5 billion budget of the Special Operations Command, the [Tampa,] Florida-based headquarters that has responsibility for all of the military's special operations forces -- the Army's Rangers and Green Berets, the Navy's Seals and the Air Force's special operations commandos.

He also may approve increases in the numbers of such troops, now totaling 45,000, including reservists.

The defense secretary also has asked Special Operations Command to take the lead in some anti-terrorism operations. That is a change from the usual arrangement of having a regional command, such as the Middle East-oriented U.S. Central Command, take the lead.

Special Operations Command is so secretive that its Defense Department Web site offers nothing about it except a likeness of its insignia (adapted from one designed by William J. Donovan's Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA) and information on how defense contractors can submit proposals.

'Secret army'

U.S. Navy SEALs investigate a cache of munitions in a cave in the Zhawar Kili region of eastern Afghanistan.

The covert side of the military's special operations force resides in a sub-command, known as the Joint Special Operations Command. Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, it reportedly has command of the Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta, or Delta Force, a secretive counterterrorism unit.

William M. Arkin, a private military and intelligence expert who has written about the Pentagon's efforts to expand covert capabilities, says Rumsfeld is building up "an elite secret army" and that this emphasis on covert action reflects Pentagon frustrations with the performance of the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

"Insulated from outside pressures, armed with matchless weapons and technology, trained to operate below the shadow line, the Pentagon's black world of classified operations holds out the hope of swift, decisive action" in the war on terror, Arkin wrote recently in The Los Angeles Times.

This approach fits with Rumsfeld's emphasis on pre-empting future terrorist attacks, in the wake of September 11, 2001, rather than relying on the military's traditional approach of organizing forces to defend against or to deter attacks.

In fact, the word "pre-emptive" is in the name given a proposed new counter-terrorism organization. The "Proactive Preemptive Operations Group" would be composed of about 100 people with experience in covert activities, intelligence gathering, computer network attacks and other highly specialized skills.

The group would be overseen by the White House's deputy national security adviser for combatting terrorism, John A. Gordon, and it would carry out missions coordinated by the secretary of defense or the CIA director.

Another recommendation is that the CIA and Pentagon increase emphasis on counterterrorism covert action.

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists noted in an analysis of the plan, that "The proposal is the latest sign of a new assertiveness by the Defense Department in intelligence matters, and an indication that the cutting edge of intelligence reform is not to be found in Congress but behind closed doors in the Pentagon."

Provoking Action

Beware provocations (Cache file from The Guardian, February 5, 2003).

"The Los Angeles Times has revealed the creation of an organisation by US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld called the 'Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group.' Its purpose is to 'bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception'. The PPOG's role is to manufacture the terrorism that is to be combatted.

"Faced with the massive opposition to their war plans Bush and his team may again be planning some terrorist act to provoke massive revulsion and whip a sceptical and reluctant world into supporting war against Iraq and other targets.

"Chris Floyd of CounterPunch writes, 'The US government is planning to use 'cover and deception' and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Such operations are not new for the United States authorities.

"'Operation Northwoods' was such a scheme. It was a plan put forward by America's top military brass in 1963 to justify the invasion of Cuba. It called for a phony terrorist campaign complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans to provide justification for an invasion of Cuba. President John F. Kennedy rejected the plan -- and was assassinated a few months later.

"Another similar provocation was a reported attack by Vietnamese naval craft on the US navy in the Tonkin Gulf. It was used by President Lyndon B. Johnson to escalate the invasion of Vietnam by American forces. It was subsequently revealed that the incident never took place -- but that was after hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed in the Vietnam War.

"Many believe that the events of September 11 were another such provocation using a terrorist organisation infiltrated by the CIA and under its effective control. There is no other logical explanation for the complete failure of the interception of the hijacked planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. September 11 has been used by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and others to launch the phony 'war on terrorism'.

"The 'war on terrorism' requires a steady stream of alleged 'terrorist' actions and who better to arrange them than the CIA and Rumsfeld's 'Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group' or other 'special' forces."

Fabricating the Enemy

The January 28, 2003 article Fabricating an Enemy by Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research in Canada states:

There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks. The latter were undertaken by organisations (or cells of these organisations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The "intelligence asset" is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.
The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?
A recent (2002) classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon calls for the "creation of a so-called Proactive Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces."[8]
The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This "prodding of terrorist cells" under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.
Covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channelled to various Islamic terrorist organisations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. Moreover, numerous official statements, intelligence reports confirm recent links (in the post Cold War era) between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001).[9] The Republican Party Committee of the US Congress in a 1997 report points to open collaboration between the US military and Al Qaeda operatives in the civil war in Bosnia.[10] Also see See U.S. Congress, January 16, 1997.


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