The Communications Centre,
USAF Croughton, May 2016
Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (JIAC)
‘Croughtonwatch’ is a monitoring campaign devoted to USAF Croughton in Northamptonshire – part of a global electronic communications, control and surveillance network that projects American military power across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
In commerce, data is the new financial ‘gold’. On the back of the Web, on-line shopping and social media, data has become a resource for those trading in goods or public opinion. This same transformation has been under-way in the military and intelligence services too.
In contrast to the world of commerce though, the use of data by the military and intelligence services has serious political and cultural implications – which imperil our civil liberties, and threaten to create an ever-more illiberal surveillance state where certain types of public dissent are labelled as ‘suspect’.
In Britain, one site exemplifies this global shift in the focus of the military and intelligence services – USAF Croughton. Construction will begin soon on NATO’s Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (JIAC).
Based on the ‘intelligence-fusion’ systems developed in the USA in the wake of 9/11, the JIAC brings the use of digital surveillance and wide-ranging data analytics to Europe.
This development appears to be going ahead with – at least in public – the willing ignorance of the British government. There is no official recognition of the practices which are carried on at Croughton today, nor of those which the new JIAC development will enable in the future.
The report on NATO’s new Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (JIAC) was written by researcher and consultant, Paul Mobbs.
The report considers not only the details of the recently permitted JIAC development, but also the wider technological and policy issues surrounding ‘information’ and ‘hybrid’ warfare – and the critical role of data collection and analysis in that process.
These pages provide a web version of the report's text, and go further by providing links to additional material and policy documents that provide further information on the issues it considers.
The report is broken down into the following sections/pages:
- The USAF Croughton Site – the history of the site and its operations today;
- The Communications Centre – examining the critical communications role of the site today, and what its data links can tell us about the functions it performs;
- Intelligence Fusion – looking at the rise of 'intelligence fusion' after 9/11, and it's extremely poor performance, and high cost, in the US to date;
- Information Warfare – outlining the role of data and analytics in the new practice of 'network-centric warfare', and why in an ever-more networked world this creates grave issues of public safety and democratic accountability;
- On-line Resources – providing access to key policy and strategy documents related to the themes of the JIAC report.
Finally, we thank The Greenhouse Environmental Fund-raising Group for making a grant available to fund some of the research and the production of the report.