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Every Soldier is a Sensor: Countering Corruption in Afghanistan

Amy Gaskins (Panopticon)
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Slides:   1-PPTX 

While deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, the 43d Sustainment Brigade was tasked with answering an important, yet extremely difficult, question: How much of the U.S. money spent on logistics contracts is being funneled back to the Taliban? In other words, “Are we funding our own fight?”. With no organic collection capability, the 43d’s intelligence shop had to think on its feet and devise an unconventional way of gathering raw data. The solution: turn the brigade’s soldiers into human sensors.

The majority of the soldiers guarding the logistics holding areas were young (18-22 years old) mechanics, truck drivers, and cooks. It would take a significant cultural shift to convince decision makers that they were up to the task. As the brigade’s embedded mentor, I developed and implemented a training program that taught these soldiers how to ask pertinent questions, collect data, and spot trends or anomalies. Above all else, they also became motivated about the mission. The data they collected provided intelligence analysts with accurate and timely information that was used to adapt security plans and ultimately protect the lives of anyone driving along the brigade’s convoy routes.

  • The “Every Soldier is a Sensor” Mentality
  • Solving Really Hard Problems
  • Developing Innovative Solutions
  • Overcoming Organizational Culture
  • Training for Data Collection
  • Asking the Right Questions
  • Becoming Data-Driven
  • Using Data to Protect Lives
Photo of Amy Gaskins

Amy Gaskins

Panopticon

Amy Gaskins has over 10 years of military and civilian intelligence experience in both strategic and tactical roles, including deployments to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Her previous assignments include the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, the Office of Military Commissions – Defense, JFCC-ISR, U.S. Army INSCOM, and Defense HUMINT. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Florida Southern College and a Master of Arts degree in International Commerce & Policy from George Mason University.

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