Sundara Sharpens Intel Skills

MILWAUKEE -- Staff Sgt. John Sundara of the Intelligence section at the 128th Air Refueling Wing returned in February from a six month deployment assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing as an Intelligence Analyst.

Sundara, a traditional guardsman having five years at the unit, was activated and deployed in August of 2011. He was assigned to Special Operations Central Command (SOCCENT). As an intelligence analyst he watched for and wrote reports on threats pertaining to the Central Command's Area of Responsibility. Sundara was considered a forward deployed asset who worked with teams back at SOCCENT headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

"I was the Iranian intel analyst," Sundara said. "That was my area of expertise while I was out there."

Sundara was the only Air National Guardsman in his shop and learned not only how different it was to work with the active duty Air Force, but with all branches of the military. "It was like learning a different language; talking Army."

Sundara said that working at the 379th AEW was the first time he was put in a situation where he was asked to make the analysis. He had a big impact on the mission because he gave his own assessments of situations in the Central Command AOR in the reports he would write. He said, "It all boiled down to my knowledge of the area. And instead of being the person who was asking for the information, I became part of the role that was giving the information."

As the middle man in the flow of information, Sundara received intelligence from special operations ground troops. On a daily basis, he would also check the news, research situations of interest and talk with members of all branches of the military within the Intelligence community. After drafting his report, getting approval, and fact checking his information, the product was published to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) for people to use at the next level in the flow of information.

Sundara completed reports every four to five hours. He was constantly looking for threats and constantly producing reports to get it to the people who needed to know about it.

"I felt like a news analyst, but with secrets," Sundara revealed.

Sundara was pleased that he got to use his analyst skills and to work with special operations. "I definitely feel like the knowledge gained from working out there full time and with those guys has made me a better asset and I should be able to step up to anything now as an intelligence analyst."