A Danish Air Force Tactical Command (FTK) report criticises NATO for its inability to direct bombing raids in Libya last year.
According to the confidential report, which Politiken has obtained as part of the Freedom of Information Act, the Air Force operated without trustworthy intelligence on where and how bombing raids should be carried out.
As a result, Denmark and other allies in Operation Unified Protector were forced to limit operations against Col. Gaddafi’s forces, a central NATO source has confirmed.
“NATO’s command structure was not ready to lead an operation such as Operation Unified Protector when the Libyan operation started,” the FTK document says.
Denmark operated under U.S. command in the initial phase of the Libyan campaign, but as of March 31, 2011 the campaign came under NATO command. The report says that the command change had a negative effect on the campaign. Unlike the United States, NATO did not have intelligence gathering facilities able to keep pilots informed of the situation on the ground.
“NATO did not have sufficient access to tactical intelligence to support the operation,” the report says.
Several experts have suggested that NATO must be able to deploy its own intelligence gathering if missions such as the one in Libya are to be carried out without the United States.
Sten Rynning, head of War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark says that without sufficient intelligence deployment, NATO is only able to carry out daredevil missions.
Prof. Peter Viggo Jacobsen of the Defence Academy says that while increased independence of the United States is desirable, simply being given targets, “without knowing what we are bombing” can be a problem.
In order to help solve the problem, NATO has embarked on a drone investment programme, in order to be able to monitor enemy movements.
“We realised that we need more (of that sort of) capacity,” Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in May after he had signed a drone contract.
Defence Minister Nick Hækkerup has declined to comment on the FTK report, which is part of Defence Command Denmark’s final assessment of Denmark’s contribution to the Libya campaign.
FACEBOOK – Follow Politiken’s News in English
Edited by Julian Isherwood