National Security

A military intelligence hub quietly grows in Texas

FORT WORTH — It is an unremarkable beige-brick building known by its military acronym, the JRIC.

Behind several secure doors requiring top-secret clearance sit analysts who conduct counterterrorism investigations in the Philippines, analyze military buildups in Venezuela, and dissect confrontations between China and Taiwan in the strait that separates them.

Hard to believe, perhaps, but beyond the rows of tactical aircraft and acres of runway at Naval Air Station Fort Worth is a rather small and publicity-shy unit of intelligence analysts overseen by the Navy Intelligence Reserve Command. "We've tended to like it that way," said Lt. Dan Eckles, who oversees the computers on-site for the Defense Intelligence Agency based at the Pentagon.

In fact, the Navy Reserve's entire world of intelligence is commanded by a one-star admiral, who has maintained the headquarters at NAS Fort Worth since the mid-1990s.

In addition to deploying people worldwide and year-round, the intelligence command has reservists in the JRIC conducting strategic and operational intelligence in the world's hot spots, all while never leaving Fort Worth. And none of it is done merely for training purposes.

Several years ago, the primary justification in establishing the Joint Reserve Intelligence Centers was to tap the expertise of reservists for immediate and consistent help, not just when they were mobilized on active duty. More than 40 percent of the Navy's intelligence personnel have civilian jobs and work for the military only part time, and the military could no longer afford to keep them idle.

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