AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
The Coalition Intelligence Fusion Cell here provided intelligence support that enabled a coalition airstrike against the Islamic State on May 10, 2020. This particular strike was unique because of the coordination that went into it.
The airstrike was executed by a French Dassault Rafale fighter jet partnered with U.S. Air Forces Central Command. The strike targeted an Islamic State bed down location in Kirkuk Province, Iraq.
The CIFC, located in the Combined Air Operations Center, is a team of multinational intelligence personnel, analysts and targeteers who provide target advice and materials to international decision makers to promote interoperability across coalition nations.
Targeteers are specially trained to analyze a target and to develop solutions to support the commander’s objectives. They are tasked with selecting and prioritizing targets and matching them with the most appropriate munitions.
The CIFC employs only two targeteers at the CAOC, in comparison to the 55 assigned to the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division. The American and French pair tackled a tremendous feat when they gathered intelligence on hundreds of points of interests into what is called a “target development package.”
Instead of passing off the package to an engagement entity outside the CAOC, the opportunity to conduct the strike was passed to the French Air Force, whose planners operate on the same floor.
"The strike was important for our international team because it represented the first 2020 deliberate strike developed in-house by the CFACC’s sole counter-Da’esh Basic Target Development and Intermediate Target Development teams,” said 2nd Lt. Kyle Hefner, a targeteer assigned to the CIFC. “Target development encompasses the rigorous process of properly identifying a site and assembling a thorough package for prospective review and validation.”
“The success of this strike was symbolic for France,” said French Navy Lt. j.g. Octave, a targeteer assigned to the CIFC. “We continue to collaborate with U.S. forces and remain postured and ready to conduct kinetic strikes against Da’esh.”
Highlighting the unified efforts of coalition members, Hefner said that the countries involved remained committed to fighting one of the world’s most condemned organizations in our modern era.
“This commitment includes a combined effort to develop and improve the capabilities of Iraq, so that it may persevere with lasting stability, security and self-sustainment into the future,” Hefner said.