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Eye in the sky: Intelligence Officers

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Spencer, of the 188th Wing Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group, assists in Puerto Rico disaster relief by analyzing images of the Guajataca Dam that is located in north west Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. The dam is eroding and could effect tens of thousands of individuals if it collapses. This Unclassified Processing Analysis and Dissemination station in Fort Smith Arkansas creates situation reports to enhance relief workers ability to assist those effected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Spencer, of the 188th Wing Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group, assists in Puerto Rico disaster relief by analyzing images of the Guajataca Dam that is located in north west Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. The dam is eroding and could effect tens of thousands of individuals if it collapses. This Unclassified Processing Analysis and Dissemination station in Fort Smith Arkansas creates situation reports to enhance relief workers ability to assist those effected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

They may not be the boots on the ground, but they are the eyes in the sky, and they help our troops complete the mission. They are our intelligence officers.

According to the Air Force recruiting website, one of the most valuable assets on any mission or action is information. Responsible for both protecting our information as well as collecting data from external threats, Intelligence Officers are essential to operational planning and ultimate success.

The intel Airmen have a host of responsibilities including overseeing intelligence gatherings, developing and evaluating information that is collected and interpreting raw data.

“Within the 90th Missile Wing, intelligence personnel provides indication and warning, context to world events, and analysis for local threats,” said Capt. James Flores-Lombay, 90th Operations Support Squadron senior intel officer.

For indication and warning, intelligence offices receive reports from the intelligence community on the activity of our adversaries. The products are analyzed to ensure that country X does not receive a strategic or tactical advantage in case a conflict were to commence. Intelligence personnel also provide context by informing leadership on the reason certain countries are directing specific actions. When country Y begins moving weapons around its borders, intelligence analysts can discern that they are conducting an exercise, not preparing for war.

“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says ‘We are the holders of knowledge and information and subject matter experts on how to collect and analyze such information. Intelligence can provide insights not available elsewhere that warns of potential threats and opportunities, assess probable outcomes of proposed policy options, provide leadership profiles on foreign officials, and inform official travelers of counterintelligence and security threats.’,” said Flores-Lombay.

Understanding an adversary’s threat system might be an essential part of the role within intelligence, thus assessing the Air Force’s capabilities.

The 90th MW’s mission is to defend America with the world’s premier combat-ready ICBM force.

“Intel provides our forces with information on who we are preparing to face, what we are going against and how they are going to engage us,” said Flores-Lombay. “Without this information, our forces would be at a dangerous disadvantage. Intel is what makes us the premier combat-ready ICBM force.”

A former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup, once said “To lack intelligence is to be in the ring blindfolded.”