Better intelligence makes better decisions

During the final exercise for the Nordic Battlegroup, Joint Action 2014, several different units from seven European countries train together in Sweden. The ISTAR task force unit is one of them. ISTAR is short for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance.

The purpose of having an ISTAR unit in the Battlegroup is to gather information to enhance the awareness of the common picture based on which the Force Commander will make decisions on what to do next.

The structure of the intelligence gathering is simple. Through a number of intelligence sources a picture is formed of what the opponent has done, is doing and planning to do. During the exercise the information gathering comes from multiple sources, including both air and ground forces.

The unit consists of military personnel from Ireland, Estonia and Sweden. The unit has been in place since last week and started the exercise ahead of most other units in order to get a head start on the intelligence gathering.

– There are great positive aspects with Joint Action 2014. We get the opportunity to exchange experiences with other nations and when we discuss with each other we realize, quickly, that we have many similarities, says Irish commandant Cathal Keohane.