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Company Intelligence Support Teams

by Major Rod Morgan

“Units must resource S2 sections down gence. These company intelligence teams As combat-arms leaders, we heavily rely
to the company level,” Major General deserve the same level of care, thought, on our subject-matter experts. For exam-
Jeffery Hammond, commander of the and resourcing as that of the company ple, company commanders need to under-
4th Infantry Division, makes clear his vi- combat recovery team or the company stand weapons capabilities and range op-
sion and intent for operations during de- master gunner. These teams are required erations, but the company’s master gun-
ployment in his memorandum, “How We to provide many functions for the com- ner is the unit’s expert in this field just
Fight.” In this document, he states sever- mander, thus the key to their success is as the company intel team noncommis-
al times that his “subordinates will have not just resourcing them, but resourcing sioned officer should be the commander’s
a 70 to 90 percent read of the enemy pri- them with the right soldiers and leaders. expert on matters of intelligence.
or to conducting any patrol.” The Company Intel Support Team Mission The Marine Corps jumped out ahead of
Currently across the Army, these com- In today’s full spectrum combat envi- its sister service by publishing a manu-
pany S2 sections exist by a multitude of ronment, the company commander can- al that outlined doctrine for company
names; some are referred to as the “com- not perform intelligence analysis and fu- intel support teams in December 2004.
pany intel cell,” “company exploitation sion alone at his level. As the Army main- Moreover, the manual points out that the
cell,” “company S2 section,” or “compa- tains its focus on counterinsurgency and intel support team is not a new concept,
ny intel support team.” For the purposes “every soldier is a sensor,” a commander regardless of how foreign it may now
of this article, we will use the company can quickly become overwhelmed with seem. According to U.S. Marine Corps
intel support team. Just as there is no es- the daily data he must sift through for X-File 2-1.1, Company Intelligence Cell
tablished title for this team, there is also relevance. Weapons intelligence (WIT) in Stability and Support Operations
no unified training or doctrine available, reports, patrol debriefs, intelligence sum- (SASO), “The mission of the company
nor is there an established manning and maries (INTSUMS), link diagrams, and intel cell is to describe the effects of the
materiel formula. be-on-the-look-out (BOLO) lists are just weather, enemy, terrain, and local popu-
The time has come to establish a stan- a few examples of the hundreds of im- lation upon friendly operations in order
dard for company-level intelligence sec- portant documents that compete for a to reduce the commander’s uncertainty
tions that can drive bottom-up intelli- commander’s time. and aid in his decision making.”1

July-August 2008 — 23
This is a simple and clear mission state- past 12 to 24 hours; route status; ISR col- data synthesis to update its targeting, thus
ment with a powerful purpose. Working lection assets in use throughout the bat- beginning the cycle again.
with this mission statement as a starting talion’s operating environment; SIR tasked
point, we can extrapolate the specified and to answer; other units operating within Manning and Materiel
implied tasks that must be accomplished the operating environment; BOLO lists; To accomplish its mission, the intel sup-
by the intel support team to achieve its applicable target packets; and predictive port team should be resourced with one
purpose. analysis based on analysis during the tar- officer, one noncommissioned officer, and
geting phase. two trained soldiers, which allows the cell
The Company Intel The debrief, when based on a solid pre- to be manned for 24-hour operations and
Support Team Functions brief, feeds the intel support team with continuous supervision. Intel support
The company intel support team must data to continue their intelligence prepa- team soldiers should be skilled and moti-
be able to manage five functions to aid in ration of the battlefield (IPB) and ulti- vated; and not be part of the command
the commander’s decisionmaking. These mately help begin the next targeting cy- post crew.
functions follow a logical cycle: cle for the company. The debrief should To effectively perform its functions, the
provide feedback on all areas covered in
Manage the company’s lethal and non- intel support team should be equipped
the prebrief, as well as provide updated
lethal targeting. At the company level, with dedicated computers and access to
pictures, and may also include data from
targeting is the overall synthesis of all communications. The intel support team
detainee operations and tactical site ex-
sources of available intelligence — bat- can function on two computers, but ide-
ploitation.
talion and sister-company INTSUMs, link ally, would be resourced with three: one
diagrams, events pattern analysis (indirect Detainee operations. Detainee opera- for biometrics (if allocated); one for map-
fire, sniper, improvised explosive device), tions for the intel support team are two- ping, personality and event linkage, and
terrain analysis, BOLO lists, and most fold: to ensure departing patrol units are event-trend analysis; and one for pre-
importantly, patrol debriefs. This contin- armed with complete detainee packets briefs and debriefs via tactical ground re-
uous data fusion helps create a running and the knowledge to properly complete porting network (TiGRNET), if available.
situation template (SITTEMP) of the the forms and use the equipment; and Currently, the Army resources mapping
unit’s operational environment. The intel maintain detainee packet data, copies of through Falcon View, a mapping applica-
support team takes this data and works complete packets, and track current loca- tion; personality linkage through Analyst
with the commander to further develop tion and status of the company’s detain- Notebook, an analyst development tool;
targets and identify gaps in the current in- ees. and event linkage through Crystal soft-
telligence picture. ware application. However, units are cur-
Tactical site exploitation. This function rently fielding newer, updated software,
Supervise the company’s intelligence, is similar to detainee operations; in that, such as Axis-Pro.
surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) the intel support team must ensure units
program. Based on the commander’s depart on patrol trained and equipped The intel support team must stay cur-
guidance regarding particular targets, the with the proper tactical site exploitation rent on all operations and should be
intel support team develops collection spe- paperwork and equipment. Upon com- collocated with the company command
cific information requirements (SIR) and pletion of patrol and following debriefs, post, which allows them to communi-
an ISR collection matrix. This may re- the intel support team sorts through pho- cate directly with the battalion S2, as well
quire the intel support team to request bat- tos collected, downloads biometric data, as units on patrol. Further, their prox-
talion or higher level assets, task the com- and manages databases. It is here that the imity to radios increases their situational
pany’s unmanned aerial vehicle team, intel support team once again begins its awareness. Again, to maintain continued
or work with the commander to intelligence collection and anal-
task organic patrols to gather re- ysis, do not use the intel sup-
quired information through ob- port team to run the command
servation or tactical question- post.
ing.
Trends at the
Manage the patrol prebrief/ National Training Center
debrief process for the com- During the past 6 months of
pany. The patrol prebrief is not rotations at the National Train-
to be confused with the patrol ing Center (NTC), five major
order given by the patrol lead- trends affecting the intel sup-
er. The prebrief is generally giv- port team have been revealed:
en by a member of the intel sup- poor vertical and horizontal
port team to the patrol leader communications; lack of nest-
prior to departing the forward ing intelligence timelines and
operating base (FOB), combat efforts; lack of information pro-
out post (COP), or joint securi- cessing; continuous personnel
ty site (JSS). The prebrief is per-
“The patrol prebrief is not to be confused with the patrol order given by turnover; and lack of soldier and
haps the most important func- the patrol leader. The prebrief is generally given by a member of the leader training.
tion of the intel support team. intel support team to the patrol leader prior to departing the forward
During this brief, the team shares operating base (FOB), combat out post (COP), or joint security site Two of these trends are issues
events that occurred in the op- (JSS). The prebrief is perhaps the most important function of the in- that one expects any training
erating environment over the tel support team.” unit to experience — poor ver-

24 — July-August 2008
tical and horizontal communications and
lack of nesting intelligence timelines and
efforts are common, but also easily rem-
edied. Through the course of NTC rota-
tions, units normally improve their tac-
tics, techniques, and procedures (TTP)
and standard operating procedures (SOP)
regarding these two trends, and by the
end of the rotation, they have greatly re-
fined their systems prior to deployment.
Unfortunately, the remaining three trends
are not as easily fixed because they are
core problems that involve fundamental
individual training. It is these three trends
that are crux of the issue:
Lack of information analysis. During
recent rotations at the NTC, intel support
teams hit and miss on their ability to pro- “The debrief, when based on a solid prebrief, feeds the intel support team with data to continue
cess data. While a few teams have done their intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and ultimately help begin the next targeting cy-
exceptionally well, the majority have pro- cle for the company. The debrief should provide feedback on all areas covered in the prebrief, as
cessed little to no analysis on incoming well as provide updated pictures, and may also include data from detainee operations and tactical
data as it is received. We also see a trend site exploitation.”
of intel support teams who receive large
amounts of information they do not pro-
cess. For example, an intel support team
may not update patterns, IPB, link dia- turnover or a lack of training opportuni- mum, an increased focus on the IPB pro-
grams, and patrol prebriefs as data is re- ties. At the leader level, this stems from a cess. Further, students should receive in-
ceived. This failure is generally tied to lack of training — fire supports officers struction on how to establish and main-
intel support teams being tasked to per- (the defacto OIC of the intel support team) tain an intel support team.
form the duties of the company command are not trained prior to assuming their re- Lieutenants. As fire support officers are
post in addition to their appointed tasks, sponsibilities. Further, commanders are frequently assigned the job of intel sup-
which appears to be directly correlated to receiving minimal guidance on the intel port team OIC, the Field Artillery Offi-
the next trend. support team’s functions and resourcing; cer Basic Course POI should include IPB,
bottom line: a lack of soldier and leader
Continuous personnel turnover. The ISR synchronization, tactical site exploi-
training sets the stage for commanders to
intel support teams are primarily manned tation, and detainee handling. Further, cre-
shoulder a large amount of the work ex-
from one of three pools in a company: ating an intel support team leader course
pected from intel support teams.
the fire support team, chemical person- for lieutenants to attend following their
nel, or combat arms headquarters section Where We Go From Here OBC would continue to cross-pollinate
personnel. While some companies deploy the combined-arms team.
Intelligence-driven operations have be-
to combat fully manned with low-densi- come the cornerstone of how the Army Enlisted. To prevent personnel turnover
ty MOS personnel, the majority of units conducts its business. Senior tactical com- at the core of the intel support team, the
rotating through the NTC do not, which manders are requiring more of their sub- section must consist of specialized sol-
results in intel support teams being pulled ordinates to establish company intelli- diers; just as master gunners and medics,
primarily from combat platoons. Just as gence support teams. We understand the intel support team personnel must be spe-
maintaining qualified squad and vehicle mission of the intel support team, we un- cialized. Understanding that battalions are
crew integrity during deployment often derstand its function, and we know how not always fully manned with analysts, it
takes divine intervention, personnel in it must be resourced; however, its success is unrealistic to recommend placing these
headquarters companies often shift with in combat will be limited just as it was at low-density MOS soldiers at the com-
necessity as well — a Bradley gunner slot the NTC. The secret to its success is train- pany level. However, many installations
may become vacant or a squad may need ing the correct personnel for the job. and divisions are now running their own
a rifleman for a patrol. Personnel man- intel support team courses for non-intel
agement of combat-series soldiers is dy- To meet the intent of a growing number soldiers, so the Army should capitalize
namic at the very least, which greatly af- of division commanders, the Army must on this thought process by creating a
fects the intel support teams that are realign its manning requirement at the one-station unit training (OSUT) follow-
manned by these soldiers. For example, company level. There are several recom- on course for future intel support team
the intel support team member who re- mendations for intel support team man- members. This additional training assists
ceived home-station training prior to de- ning and training; however, the recom- the gaining unit twofold: it allows new
ployment will not likely fill that role dur- mendations below may be a solution: soldiers to maximize collective training
ing deployment. Captains. There must be a change in time with their section, as opposed to be-
Lack of soldier and leader training. the program of instruction (POI) used in ing absent for individual training during
Perhaps the most important trend issue is maneuver captain career courses to put a field exercises; and it awards soldiers a
a lack of training, which at the soldier greater emphasis on intelligence-driven
level is either a direct result of personnel operations, which includes, at a mini- Continued on Page 50

July-August 2008 — 25
Intel Support Teams
from Page 25
specialized skill identifier, allowing intel
support team trained soldiers to fill slots
in a specialized job.
Noncommissioned officers (NCOs).
These senior soldiers are the backbone
of this concept and they must master the
functions required to achieve the pur-
pose of the intel support team’s mission
statement. Thus, the training for the NCO
must be rigorous and the admission pro-
cess selective. Ideally, the intel support
team NCO would be an intelligent staff
sergeant from the combat-arms branch.
Once the NCO completes the intel sup-
port team NCO course, he would be locked
into his position, much like that of a com-
pany master gunner. However, the intel
support team NCO career path is only
through the company level, thus selected
sergeants would not serve repeat assign-
ments in this position.
The requirement for company intel sup-
port teams will not soon go away. Our
Army’s most current published doctrine,
U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24, Counter-
insurgency, is deeply rooted in intelli-
gence-driven operations, particularly at
the lowest levels.2 Just as our Army is
finding success in moving from larger col-
lective FOBs to smaller JSSs, it must re-
inforce this success by continuing to push
the right assets and training to the lowest
possible levels. As commanders give di-
rectives for meeting the fundamentals of
counterinsurgencies through intel support
teams, the Army should match this guid-
ance with updated oversight in training
and management.

Notes
1Headquarters, Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine Corps
X-File 2-1.1, Company Intelligence Cell in Stability and Sup-
port Operations (SASO), GPO, Washington, DC, 17 December
2004.
2Headquarters, Department of the Army, U.S. Army Field
Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, U.S. Government Printing
Office (GPO), Washington, DC, December 2006.

Major Rodney J. Morgan is currently serving


as an armor company team trainer, Scorpion
Team, Operations Group, National Training
Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, CA. He received a
B.S from Missouri State University. His military
education includes Combined Arms and Ser-
vices Staff School, Infantry Captain Career
Course, Airborne School, Bradley Infantry Fight-
ing Vehicle Commander Course, Infantry Offi-
cer Basic Course, and Air Assault School. He
has served in various command and staff posi-
tions, to include battalion intelligence trainer,
Scorpion Team, Operations Group, NTC, Fort
Irwin; headquarters company trainer, Scorpion
Team, Operations Group, NTC, Fort Irwin; com-
mander, C Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infan-
try, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Di-
vision, Fort Hood, TX; and assistant chief, G3
Training, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood.

50 — July-August 2008