The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Deployable Intelligence Support Element (DISE) in operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
David A. Fuighum, "Intel Emerging as Key Weapon in Afghanistan," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 11 March 2002
The Commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) had a brigade combat team (BCT) deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. They had to cover an area of interest (see Figure 1) that is half the size of Texas with a series of combat and stability and support operations missions to accomplish and a command and control relationship that was not exactly standard.
The Commander dispatched a deployable intelligence support element (DISE) (see Figure 2) to augment the BCT's organic intelligence capabilities. The DISE joined the Division's 3d Brigade--the famed "Rakkasans" of the 187th Infantry Regiment--at Kandahar Airfield on 1 February 2002. It consisted of 16 soldiers and 3 civilian contractors from the U.S. Army Communications Electronics-Command (CECOM) and the U.S. Army Space Program Office (ASPO).
The DISE had the mission and organic systems shown in Figure 3. It joined other intelligence assets already deployed including a four-man National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Customer Support Response Team (CSRT) and three individual augmentees from the Division Analysis and Control Element (ACE) who reinforced the Brigade's Analysis and Control Team (ACT).
Other intelligence units would link up with the DISE at Kandahar. An electronic warfare (EW) section from Canada joined the 3d BCT later that month. It combined with 3d BCT's direct support (DS) military intelligence (MI) company assets to form an EW cell with its sole focus on force protection (FP) for Kandahar Airfield (KAF). A JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System) Mobile Intelligence Communications System (JMICS) from XVIII Airborne Corps' 525th MI Brigade arrived on 2 March 2002. The JMICS provided support to the 3d BCT with sensitive compartmented information (SCI) video teleconference (VTC) and other capabilities.
Support to Combat Operations
The DISE fully participated in Operation ANACONDA, the largest ground offensive to date in the Global War on Terrorism. Here the 101st DISE played a significant role in situation development and support to targeting. The DISE also assisted the Brigade S2 in his intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB) effort. Analyzed imagery and communications intelligence (COMINT) were the mainstays of this effort, to include the fused products.
Support to Tenant Units
Engineers, special forces, civil affairs, and theater-level MI battalions all have one thing in common--they require high-quality maps and geospatial products (see Figure 4) to operate efficiently in a foreign land. This is especially true in a location like Afghanistan, where those who deployed early had to rely on Soviet-era maps with differing and sometimes incompatible data. Kandahar was not only the base camp for the Rakkasans, but it was also home to several other U.S. and at least eight foreign military units. The 101st DISE also supported these units with special mission-focused intelligence products that the NIMA CSRT, imagery intelligence (IMINT), and terrain teams provided.
Systems are rifles; data makes bullets. The value-added a DISE provides to the warfighter are its mission-relevant products developed from information not accessible by organic assets. The DISE deployed with a robust suite of systems that provided the 3d BCT Commander with access to theater- and national-level intelligence systems and products. Despite this tremendous capability, without trained soldiers knowledgeable of air assault and light infantry operations and the unit's current mission, that data would remain "information," and not relevant tactical intelligence, that is rounds on target." I also believe the analysts need to accompany the unit and commander in the area of operations (AO) and live under the same conditions as the soldiers they support. Doing so provides them with the same situational awareness and sense of urgency that the other soldiers experience.
Trained Personnel + Systems + Connectivity = Capabilities. Warfighting is about capabilities, and the Intelligence battlefield operating system (BOS) is no different. What is different about the Intelligence BOS is its critical requirement for connectivity to higher echelons, as opposed, for example, to a deployed forces' mobility, countermobility, and survivability capability, which is most likely inherent in its colocated engineer unit(s). Experienced MI soldiers, armed with the hardware, software, and connectivity to reach back to theater and national assets, provide the commander and his staff with the terrain, imagery, and signals intelligence (SIGINT) information needed to make a difference on the objective.
Lanes-in-the-Road. While "competing analysis" is good for strategic intelligence problems where time is available, at the tactical level where time is precious, the Intelligence BOS must focus on what is relevant, with a "deliverable" as the end state. The Brigade Commander, S2, Company Commander, and DISE Chief established these "lanes in the road." Establishing "lanes" is important (see Figures 5 and 6).
Contractors on the Battlefield (COB). Contractor support is an effective force multiplier and can be an invaluable tool for supporting deployed forces. Contractors have always accompanied our military overseas. However, the increase in contingency operations and technology that mandates their use in today's FP Army is unprecedented (see Figure 7). (1)
The DISE in direct support to Task Force Rakkasan had 20 pieces of hardware using 3 or 4 different operating systems (UNIX[R] Solaris 2.6 and 2.51, Windows[R], and Open VMS 7.1-2) and ten software packages. Keeping these systems running was not a task for amateurs, especially when the information the systems provided support decisions with lives hanging in the balance. The DISE deployed with three civilian contractors (officially called Tactical Automation Support Field Software Engineers) who were instrumental in making the DISE a successful venture; while DISE soldiers are trained operators of these systems and software, they have neither the technical training nor experience to troubleshoot major problems. Additionally, they do not possess the skills necessary to resolve connectivity or compatibility problems between the different systems required to function together. Finally, the contractors, many of whom are veterans themselves, provide on-the-spot training to operators, increasing their individual capa bilities and greatly improving intelligence support to the warfighter. Figure 7 shows a list of tasks the contractors performed on this mission.
The Screaming Eagle DISE validated its capabilities during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM by proving its value-added to a maneuver commander during combat and stability and support operations. National-level data combined with mission-focused soldiers produced relevant tactical intelligence that supported targeting and situational awareness. A flexible, adaptable unit, the DISE was ready and able to integrate with elements from other intelligence organizations and thus increase its capabilities by an order of magnitude. Backed up with some critical skill sets from a few contractors, the DISE was able to assist the commander in "seeing the enemy and the battlespace" in a manner that past commanders could scarcely have imagined. The knowledge and experience gained from this operation will help prepare all military intelligence soldiers of the 101st for their next "rendezvous with destiny."
Figure 2 DISE Organization. DISE Chief DISENCDIC Single-Source Terrain IMINT NIMA Section Team Team CSRT All-Source Collection Fusion JMCS Section Manager Team Team SIGINT Eagle-I CDMNT Section Team Team Note: The National Imagery and Mapping Agency Customer Support Response Team was already at Kandahar when the DISE arrived. The JWICS Mobile Integrated Communications System joined the DISE in early March. Key: COMINT - Communications intelligence CSRT - Customer Support Response Team IMINT - Imagery intelligence JMICS - JWICS Mobile Intelligence Communications System JWICS - Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System NCOIC - National Imagery and Mapping Agency NIMA - National Imagery and Mapping Agency SIGINT - Signals intelligence Figure 3 The DISE's Mission and Systems. Mission The 101st DISE provides direct intelligence support to 3d BCT, and to tenant and adjacent units at Kandahar Airport. Systems * Digital Topo Support System (DTSS) * Quick-Reaction System (NIMA) * Integrated Intelligence System (I2S) * All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) * Remote Workstations (RWSs) * Eagle-I (ELINT) * TROJAN SPIRIT II * JWICS Mobile Integrated Communications System (JMICS) Key: ELINT - Electronic intelligence TROJAN SPIRIT II - TROJAN Special-Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal II Topo - Topographic Figure 4 Geospatial Products * Imagery analysis * Photomaps * Gridded reference graphics * Mosaics * Perspective views * 3D anaglyphs * Operational fly-throughs * LOS analysis * Lines-of-communication analysis * Map enlargement Figure 5 Responsibilities of the 101st Airborne Division's Intelligence Elements. DISE * Support brigade S2 with all tactical MI tasks (except BDA) * Link to corps and above assets/sources * Support tenant units on KAF Brigade S2 * No change to standard responsibilities DS MI Company * Tactical SIGINT support focused on FP * Counterintelligence support * JSTARS CGS support * Supports DISE with standard company functions Key: BDA - Battle damage assessment CGS - Common Ground Station JSTARs - Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Figure 6 Tactical MI Tasks. * Provide indications and warnings (I&W) * Perform PB * Perform situation development * Perform target development and support to targeting * Support FP * Perform battlefield damage assessment Figure 7 Tactical Contractor Tasks. * Assist users with Solaris administration of national systems. * Create high-side web pages on the Single-Source ASAS system and low-side web pages on the Remote Workstation (RWS) Block I. * Create a query support package (QSP) on the single Source. QSP is a program that allows the user to perform queries on the single-source databases and plot them to Oilstock. * Create custom scripts for plotting, with predefined queries, to Oilstock. * Perform network and LAN administration. * Assist with TROJAN SPIRIT II troubleshooting. * Perform administration of non-ASAS Windows[R] systems because of lack of [C.sup.4]l support. * Assist in troubleshooting of generator and power problems. * Provide guidance to Canadian counterparts on the administration of their systems, primarily UNIX and Oilstock administration and configuration. * Provide assistance to counterparts and unit personnel within the 10th Mountain Division (Light). * Assist with hardware troubleshooting of the DTSS and RWS Block II systems. * Provide high-side and low-side E-mail capabilities and assist users in setting up E-mail client software. * Fill sandbags as the need arises. Key: [C.sup.4]I - Command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence LAN - Local area network
(1.) FM 100-21, Contractors on the Battlefield, 26 March 2000, Chapter 1.
Major Drew Moores was the DISE Chief for this mission. He has served in a variety of intelligence positions at all echelons, and is a graduate of the Postgraduate Intelligence Program (PGIP) and the Command and General Staff Course (CGSC). He is currently the Deputy G2, 101st Airborne Division (AA). Readers can reach the author at (270) 798-4802 or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.