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Understanding priority intelligence requirements.

Introduction
  The most fundamental change within Army intelligence transformation
  is an effort to change the behavior and expectations of intelligence
  producers and consumers. The Army leadership views this as an
  essential step toward changing organizational and operational
  culture. Intelligence producers will transition from a current
  requirements orientation to an anticipatory approach while consumers
  shift their mindset from one of fighting with knowledge to one of
  fighting for knowledge. This new mindset views every soldier as a
  collector and as an analyst. (1)


The Military Intelligence (MI) Corps exists to provide commanders at all levels intelligence analysis to support decision making for planning and execution, assist in understanding the adversary, and define the operational environment. Since we will never have sufficient intelligence collection assets or analysts to produce all the intelligence a commander may want, priority intelligence requirements Those intelligence requirements for which a commander has an anticipated and stated priority in the task of planning and decision making. Also called PIRs. See also information requirements; intelligence; intelligence process; intelligence requirement.  (PIRs) help focus collection and analytical production on select intelligence requirements. However, many of today's U.S. Army operational commanders (2) and key staff officers simply do not understand or are not aware of doctrinal changes and the increased extent of what PIRs are supposed to do for the commander. There are three primary reasons for this misunderstanding or lack of awareness.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

First, and most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially
, this misunderstanding is directly tied to our warfighting culture reflected through our operation's doctrine since the mid-1970s. Doctrine, of course, provides a common frame of reference as a guide to action and is not a strict or inflexible set of rules. Army operations' doctrine has shaped how we fight, plan, and interpret how all warfighting functions support operations. For the past three decades, this context shaped the culture, focus, and viewpoints that today's senior field grade and general officers use to make decisions as well as establish processes to assist in their decision making.

Second, Army Transformation has further complicated the issue. Prior to transformation, division and corps commanders could assist ground commanders primarily in the form of increased logistics, deep attack aviation or artillery, or more intelligence assets. Today, brigade commanders have capabilities once reserved for division commanders. Resultantly, brigade commanders have increased responsibility and capacity thus increasing the potential for decisions they have to make. Corps and division commanders have fewer or different decisions to make, especially in decentralized counterinsurgency coun·ter·in·sur·gen·cy  
n.
Political and military strategy or action intended to oppose and forcefully suppress insurgency.



coun
 (COIN) operations. Finally, while there are similarities in PIRs for conventional (offensive and defensive) operations, there are differences for unconventional type conflicts (stability or civil support) such as COIN or Foreign Internal Defense.

Operations and Intelligence-The Inseparable Link

Before addressing PIRs, we must discuss the inseparable link between operations and intelligence. Specifically, we will highlight the evolution of Army operations' doctrine since this is the driver of all other warnghting functions' support. This doctrine shaped today's senior leaders, our training centers and programs, and our planning and execution for operations. Since the 1970s, operations' doctrine was predominantly tactically and offensively focused against a Soviet threat. Competing with this doctrine was the reality of world conditions, most notably the threat and collapse of the Soviet Union, and emerging military, information, and intelligence capabilities and our ability to exploit them.

After the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. , the Army rebuilt itself and largely forgot about its operations during Vietnam. While it rebuilt itself, the traditional Soviet threat in Europe regained its preeminence in our world view. Directly related to this was the realization during the 1973 Yom Kippur War Yom Kippur War: see Arab-Israeli Wars.  that the conventional battlefield had become more lethal. As a result, the 1976 Field Manual (FM) 100-5 Operations envisioned an active defense in Europe against numerically superior Soviet military forces. This prescriptive and tactical manual focused on firepower more than maneuver and fixated on fighting and winning the first battle. (3)

In 1982, the Army released an updated version focused on the offense. Known as Airland Battle AirLand Battle was first adopted by the US Army in 1982 as Field Manual 100-5, and drove military doctrine until the late 1990s. The AirLand Battle doctrine describes a combined Air and Land force, with emphasis on inter-service cooperation. , the manual focused on conventional offensive operations to fight outnumbered and win. The main threat was still the Soviet Union in Europe. The manual introduced the four tenets of Airland Battle: initiative, agility, depth, and synchronization, as well as the operational level of war and the linking of the strategic to the tactical. (4) A legacy of the synchronization of operations and all other warfighting functions, while well intentioned and necessary, was an emphasis to synchronize finite assets over time and space for Airland Battle. This became increasingly more restrictive and, arguably, counterproductive in later years despite updated concepts of Army operations.

The 1986 version of FM 100-5 moved beyond Europe and recognized unconventional, low intensity conflicts and light infantry infantry soldiers selected and trained for rapid evolutions.

See also: Light
 divisions. It was also more general and theoretical which allowed flexibility for commanders. (5) However, it was still tied to the concept of Airland Battle, especially conventional offensive operations and the desire for synchronization.

In 1993, recognizing the world had changed after the Soviet Union's collapse, the Army published a new FM 100-5. The manual was largely influenced by operations in Panama and Kuwait as well as emerging technologies. The manual emphasized depth and simultaneous attack in order to bring about a quick resolution. (6) Synchronization of the multiple lines of operations Lines that define the directional orientation of the force in time and space in relation to the enemy. They connect the force with its base of operations and its objectives.  or effort was a critical component. The manual placed more emphasis on unconventional, low intensity conflicts and conflict termination; a conspicuous change from the 1976, 1982, and 1986 manuals. However, the new FM lightly addressed these issues with the substance of those types of operations covered in other doctrinal publications. Conventional offensive operations remained the Army's doctrinal focus. The stunning application of this doctrine during Operation Desert Storm Noun 1. Operation Desert Storm - the United States and its allies defeated Iraq in a ground war that lasted 100 hours (1991)
Gulf War, Persian Gulf War - a war fought between Iraq and a coalition led by the United States that freed Kuwait from Iraqi invaders;
 not only validated the Army's conventional offensive focus but solidified its primacy and focus throughout the Army.

The 1998 version of FM 100-5 provided balance between offensive and defensive operations, simultaneous and sequential operations, and emphasized joint operations A general term to describe military actions conducted by joint forces or by Service forces in relationships (e.g., support, coordinating authority) which, of themselves, do not create joint forces. . It also folded the concepts of unconventional and conventional warfare Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted by using conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. The forces on each side are well-defined, and fight using weapons that primarily target the opposing army.  into this manual. Prior to this manual, a generation of Army leaders grew up learning offensive operations in a conventional warfare context. This type of warfare lends itself to decisions and decision points on a battlefield where battalion through corps level commanders have to make decisions such as when to commit a reserve, conduct a deep attack, shift the main effort, etc. along a linear battlefield.

In 2001, the Army published FM 3-0 (previously numbered as 100-5) Operations. It clearly defined operations in a more holistic manner-offense, defense, stability, and support operations. Despite this more encompassing approach, like the previous versions of FM 100-5, the Army focused on defensive operations just long enough to generate enough combat power to reinitiate offensive operations. This permeated the construct of our National Training Center (NTC NTC Notice
NTC National Training Center
NTC National Telecommunications Commission
NTC National Transport Commission (Australia)
NTC Negative Temperature Coefficient
NTC Naval Training Center
) and mission readiness exercises (MREs) in the 1980s and 1990s. It has taken the reality of the past seven years to finally acknowledge and provide equal weight to stability and support operations Stability and support operations involve military forces providing safety and support to friendly noncombatants while suppressing and threatening forces.

SASO operations can occur in everything from natural disaster areas (earthquakes, storms and flooding) to insurgencies
; operations that were marginalized as late as 2003 in our training centers and MREs.

In February 2008, the Army produced the latest FM 3-0. The manual clearly acknowledges a holistic and complex operational environment; one that is multidimensional and increasingly fought among the population. This doctrine acknowledges an "operational concept where commanders employ offensive, defensive, and stability or civil support operations simultaneously as part of an interdependent joint force to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative, accepting prudent risk to create opportunities to achieve decisive results." (7)

Army operations doctrine has changed from a singular focus on conventional offensive operations to a more holistic and inclusive recognition of offensive, defensive, and stability operations. PIRs have also changed in recognition of today's more complex environment.

Evolution of PIR "Parent in room." See digispeak.  
  Today's senior Army leader's have spent the preponderance of their
  military career's serving in an army equipped, trained, led, and
  educated to defeat a nation-state peer-competitor. ... The officer
  professional development career path designed to defeat this threat
  is a rigid path that has evolved into a "best answer"
  process. ... The Army teaches its leaders from day one that there are
  almost always proven sequences of events that, if followed, will lead
  to the desired outcome. Facing a templatable enemy like our Cold War
  adversaries, adherence to Army Doctrine became the glide path into
  "how to think" and "what to do". ... this approach has resulted in
  the development of narrow, sometimes inflexible leadership qualities
  and decision making processes that are not necessarily suited for
  today's contemporary operating environment. Army leaders have been
  quite successful ... putting conventional warfighting and leadership
  skills into a "black or white" category. The challenge faced today
  and in the future is reassessing and reorganizing these skills to
  operate just as effectively and efficiently in the ever-growing
  "gray" world. (8)


For three decades, the Army focused on conventional, offensive operations while ignoring or shortchanging other operations. This is not a critique of that focus given the strategic problems facing our nation and the Army's answer to meet that challenge. It is simply to highlight the cultural environment that today's senior officers grew up in during their formative years coming up through the ranks.

Before 1990, the Army had eleven mechanized, one airborne, one air assault, one motorized, and four light active duty divisions. After the drawdown Drawdown

The peak to trough decline during a specific record period of an investment or fund. It is usually quoted as the percentage between the peak to the trough.

Notes:
 in the 1990s, the Army possessed six mechanized, one airborne, one air assault, and two light active duty divisions. Mechanized units are ideal for fighting a peer competitor such as the Soviet Union. The preponderance of today's senior officers were influenced in some fashion by conventional, offense oriented training and doctrine. The Army's training centers and exercise events reinforced our predilection to make decisions in order to take action.

Since the opening of the NTC in 1981, most "of America's top Army generals carry with them the almost-war stories of their trips to Fort Irwin." (9) Until fairly recently, the NTC focused on conventional force-on-force exercises with little attention paid to other types of operations. Additionally, our training centers and MREs are designed to force battalion through corps level commanders and staffs to plan and make decisions in a very compressed time frame in order to meet multiple training objectives. This in turn reinforces our cultural tendency to want to "do something" or make a decision as opposed to demonstrating patience and realize that a decision or action may not have to be made.

The training center exception is arguably the Joint Readiness See: readiness.  Training Center. It was designed for light infantry, airborne, and special operations forces Those Active and Reserve Component forces of the Military Services designated by the Secretary of Defense and specifically organized, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations. Also called SOF.  as a light infantry equivalent of the NTC. A typical pre-9/11 training scenario consisted of an insertion and counterinsurgency operation; a defense (in response to a fictitious enemy attack), and culminated with an attack into a Military Operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
  • Albion (1917)
 in Urban Terrain complex. However, units still planned and made decisions in a very compressed time frame in order to meet multiple training objectives.

On a final note, division and corps commanders are typically infantry officers; they grew up in the Army inculcated in our offensive, tactically focused doctrine. A majority of division and corps level staff officers typically have only served at the battalion or brigade level in staff and/or command positions prior to serving on a higher staff. Since we are all victims of our past experiences, we are comfortable using methods that have worked in the past in new positions. This becomes important when related to PIR development.

The 1994 FM 34-2 Collection Management and Synchronization Planning collection management doctrine is nested in the conventionally focused operations doctrine of the past. FM 34-2 recommended that intelligence officers and commanders should refine PIRs to specific questions that are linked to operational decisions. (10) Additionally, Collection Managers usually developed specific information requirements The information needed to support a business or other activity. Systems analysts turn information requirements (the what and when) into functional specifications (the how) of an information system.  for both PIRs and intelligence requirements (IRs) to "complete the collection strategy by associating each requirement and its corresponding decision points and timelines." (11) This inference linked PIRs, already linked to decisions, to arguably more constricted decision points.

However, in 2004, the definition of PIRs became less constrained. FM 2-0 Intelligence, expanded the definition of PIRs by stating that answers "to the PIRs help produce intelligence essential to the commander's situational understanding and decision-making [emphasis added]."(12)

The new February 2008 FM 3-0 further loosened the confines of PIRs solely being tied to offensive focused decisions and decision points and related them to the more inclusive definition of operations (offense, defense, and stability). PIRs, along with friendly force information requirements (FFIR FFIR Friendly Force Information Requirements ), are part of what are known as commander's critical information requirements (CCIRs). CCIRs are information requirements identified as critical to facilitate timely decisionmaking. CCIRs directly influence decisionmaking and facilitate the successful execution of military operations; they may support one or more decisions. (13) FM 3-0 states that a PIR "is an intelligence requirement, stated as a priority for intelligence support, that the commander and staff need to understand the adversary or the operational environment ... PIRs identify the information about the enemy, terrain and weather, and civil considerations that the commander considers most important." (14)

Finally, the just released 2008 FMI FMI Fondo Monetario Internacional (Spanish: International Monetary Fund)
FMI Fonds Monétaire International
FMI For More Information
FMI Food Marketing Institute
FMI Fundo Monetário Internacional
 2-01 (the replacement for the 1994 FM 34-2), ISR (Interrupt Service Routine) Software routine that is executed in response to an interrupt.  Synchronization, states that a PIR is "an intelligence requirement, stated as a priority for intelligence support, which the commander and staff need to understand the adversary or the operational environment." (15)

Transformation

As described above, a generation of Army operations' doctrine created a culture and leadership mindset mind·set or mind-set
n.
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.

2. An inclination or a habit.
 that emphasized conventional offensive operations, decisions to conduct an offensive fight, and synchronization of all available warfighting capability towards that focus. Additionally, until the Army's ongoing transformation efforts, the Army has been a division centric organization since World War I. Pre-transformation divisions were the largest tactical units considered to be a combined arms team The full integration and application of two or more arms or elements of one Military Service into an operation. , self sustaining, and capable of independent operations. Transformation has changed this paradigm with brigades now the emphasis. This has exacerbated the friction between senior leaders working or commanding at the division or corps level, educated in the culture of the past 25 years with less or different ability to influence the battle space, and transformed brigades who enjoy significant autonomy, more combat power, increased situational awareness Situation awareness or situational awareness [1] (SA) is the mental representation and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors affecting human performance in , and larger battle space.

Transformation restructuring resulted in an Army that is now brigade combat team The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branched maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units.  (BCT BCT Brigade Combat Team
BCT Basic Combat Training
BCT Best Conventional Pollutant Control Technology (EPA)
BCT Business Cards Tomorrow
BCT Banque Centrale de Tunisie (Central Bank of Tunisia) 
) centric. Simplistically, capabilities once assigned to a division are now organic in a BCT, providing them with means to accomplish more tasks. For example, the division formerly had a military intelligence (MI) battalion with division level assets. Under transformation, this MI battalion no longer exists; many of its assets are now organic to a BCT while the rest are obsolete and no longer in the Army inventory. (16) This reduced a division's traditional ability to shape the battle space for a brigade commander In the United States Army, the commanding officer of a brigade is a Brigade Commander. The position is usually held by a colonel, although a lieutenant colonel can be selected for brigade command in lieu of an available colonel.  with additional intelligence collection.

Additionally, transformation has expanded the battle space for BCTs and increased the length of the lines of communications laterally between units and vertically between command and support echelons. (17) The end result are BCTs that are the Army's primary tactical formations and more autonomous than before; a significant friction point between BCTs and higher level organizations commanded by leaders whose formative years were shaped by the Army's division centric and conventional offensive operations culture. BCT commanders are largely no longer dependent on the division to provide resources. Technology has expanded a BCT commander's ability to see the battle space and affect it with organic assets. Today, intelligence is distributed and managed in nearly a flattened network where all echelons receive the dissemination of intelligence at nearly the same time and share the same databases of information. There is no real stove-pipe or special highly classified intelligence that is not shared with all echelons. BCTs are no longer dependent on a division for "seeing over the next ridge" and for early warning of enemy intentions and actions. This creates some cognitive dissonance cognitive dissonance

Mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The concept was introduced by the psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89) in the late 1950s.
 for senior officers at the division and corps level since this new dynamic is not what they grew up with in the 1980s and 1990s. The type, scope, and timeliness of decisions that both BCT and higher level commanders have to make have changed.

Priority Intelligence Requirements

In 2003, to meet the needs of Army Transformation, the Army G2 created TF Actionable Intelligence Having the necessary information immediately available in order to deal with the situation at hand. With regard to call centers, it refers to agents having customer history and related product data available on screen before the call is taken.  to change the way that MI would operate in the future. (18) One of the four Task Force Actionable Intelligence concepts was to change the culture and mindset of intelligence producers and consumers. (19) To achieve this goal, the task force envisioned organizational, procedural, and technological changes to affect our culture in order to facilitate intelligence, information, and insights from all echelons. (20)

Part of this procedural change is to recognize that PIRs have changed as well as the types and timeliness of decisions that commanders have to make. PIRs help to provide commanders with an understanding of the operational environment which assists in planning and making decisions.

PIR development involves not just anticipating what decisions a commander may have to make but also the relationships between friendly units; information systems; collection, processing, and dissemination systems; and the political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, information, physical environment, and time operational variables. Answers to PIRs (and FFIRs) help the commander visualize the operational environment. Crafting PIRs is important because every PIR costs time, resource allocation resource allocation Managed care The constellation of activities and decisions which form the basis for prioritizing health care needs , and analytical effort.

Intelligence officers validate and recommend PIRs. (21) Commanders approve IRs essential to mission accomplishment as PIRs, which form the basis for planning and executing operations. (22) Typically, PIRs are developed during MDMP MDMP Military Decision-Making Process
MDMP Million Dollar Mouthpiece
MDMP Mediterranean Dialogue Military Program
 and are reviewed and adjusted as conditions change, operations progress, or the PIR(s) are answered. Each set of PIRs is unique to the circumstances and context of the time. FM 5-0 and FMI 2-01 describe how PIRs are developed during MDMP. (23)

The following highlight the PIR guidelines [emphasis added] from 1994 to present.
FM 34-2 (1994) (24)                 FM 34-8-2 (1998) (25)

They ask only one question.         They ask only one question.

They focus on a specific fact,      They focus on a specific fact,
event, or activity.                 event, or activity.

They provide intelligence required  They provide intelligence required
to support a single decision.       to support a single decision.

PIR should be focused, specific,    They are tied to key decisions
and directly related to friendly    that the commander has to make.
decision expected to occur during
COA execution.

                                    They give a latest time
                                    information is of value (LTIOV).

ST 2-50.4 (2001) (26)               FMI 2-01 (2008) (27)

Do not give multiple questions in   Ask only one question.
a single PIR or you will not focus
on your real requirement and may
not satisfy your requirement.

Base most of your PIR on a          They focus on a specific fact,
speicfic fact, event, or activity   event, or activity.
that threat has or is known to do
(or specific to environment) but
remember to consider how threat
could suprise you (an atypical
threat) - potentially one of their
greatest advantages.

PIR are listed and ranked in order  They provide intelligence required
from most to least important.       to support a single planning task,
                                    decision, or action.

Do not ask questions that have      They can be satisfied using
been answered.                      available assets or capabilities.


The guidelines have changed little between 1994 and the new FMI 2-01. However, there has been a subtle and nuanced expansion of PIRs supporting a single decision to supporting a single planning task, decision, or action. Another guideline is that FMI 2-01 states that PIR should be satisfied using available assets or capabilities. While this seems obvious, it usually inferred technical intelligence capabilities in the pre-Transformation Army. This is especially important for a division that no longer possesses any organic intelligence collection assets. A unit's collection assets or capabilities are all its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance An activity that synchronizes and integrates the planning and operation of sensors, assets, and processing, exploitation, and dissemination systems in direct support of current and future operations. This is an integrated intelligence and operations function. Also called ISR.  (ISR) and non-ISR resources. All units and Soldiers are potential sources of relevant information to support the commander's PIRs.

PIRs today need to support those key IRs that a commander needs to achieve better overall situational understanding of his operational environment that he deems a priority for mission success. These priorities do not necessarily need to be linked directly to a commander's decision; one PIR in fact may be linked to multiple decisions, actions, or future planning efforts. Also, PIRs must not be so restrictive that they force rigid and singular enemy/threat based collection requirements. Additionally, despite these guidelines, it is sometimes acceptable to ask more than one question. For example, if you want to know where an enemy force might attack, it is almost automatic to ask when they might attack. So, instead of writing two PIRs where the answers are interrelated, it should be acceptable to create a PIR such as "Where and when will Threat Group X attack U.S. forces in our operational environment?" Finally, PIRs can be solely about nonlethal aspects of the full spectrum of operations such as focusing on understanding the capacity of a community's essential services it provides or the effectiveness of its local security forces and local governance.

ISR assets include: infantry and armor scout platoons; cavalry units; battlefield surveillance brigades; all human intelligence; geospatial intelligence; signals intelligence; measurement and signature intelligence; counterintelligence coun·ter·in·tel·li·gence  
n.
The branch of an intelligence service charged with keeping sensitive information from an enemy, deceiving that enemy, preventing subversion and sabotage, and collecting political and military information.
 assets; unmanned aerial system units; fires target acquisition sections; long-range surveillance units; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear squads; reconnaissance squadrons; and attack and/or reconnaissance aircraft. ISR capable units are units that do not have surveillance and/or reconnaissance as their primary mission but can be directed to perform ISR functions. The units include combat engineer battalions; engineer reconnaissance sections; infantry battalions; military police; and brigade combat teams. Other units that can collect and disseminate PIR information include unit leaders that meet with local leaders; civil affairs Designated Active and Reserve component forces and units organized, trained, and equipped specifically to conduct civil affairs activities and to support civil-military operations. Also called CA. See also civil affairs activities; civil-military operations.  teams; and transportation or sustainment units.

Since a unit's collection assets or capabilities are all its ISR and non-ISR assets, the operations officer synchronizes intelligence collection throughout the organization. "The operations officer (in coordination with the intelligence officer and other staff members) tasks available ISR assets to best satisfy each requirement." (28) PIRs are answered by multiple echelons of units and staff sections across a unit. The collection manager synchronizes intelligence collection assets and ensures, in conjunction with the operations officer, that other non intelligence collectors are worked into an overall synchronization plan.

Irregular Warfare (COIN)

The 2008 FM 3-0 states that a PIR is a requirement that the commander and staff need to understand the adversary or the operational environment and can identify information about the enemy, terrain and weather, and civil considerations. (29) All major operations combine offensive, defensive, and stability elements. PIRs that support COIN operations are often different than conventional operations' PIR. This is not to suggest that creating PIR for conventional offensive and defensive operations is not difficult or complex. PIRs for these types of operations are simply understood better by our senior officers and are more often tied to decisions or situations they have been trained to make by the Army's training and education centers before 9/11. Stability operations, particularly ones with an irregular war fare (e.g., COIN) operational theme, differ distinctly from offensive and defensive operations. (30)

Successful COIN operations rely heavily on good intelligence and a thorough understanding of the enemy. "Counterinsurgents have to understand that [every situation is different] in as nuanced a manner as possible, and then with that kind of understanding try to craft a comprehensive approach to the problems." (31) Insurgencies are struggles for control over contested political space, between a state (or group of states or occupying powers), and one or more popularly based, non-state challengers. (32) Insurgencies are fought in a complex environment consisting of government; physical terrain; information, propaganda, and the 24 hour news cycle; insurgent INSURGENT. One who is concerned in an insurrection. He differs from a rebel in this, that rebel is always understood in a bad sense, or one who unjustly opposes the constituted authorities; insurgent may be one who justly opposes the tyranny of constituted authorities.  ideology; refugees, displaced persons, and mass migration; ethnic, tribal, clan or community groups; nongovernmental and private volunteer organizations; armed private contractors; porous borders; external funding; social classes; local and foreign armed groups; urban and rural populations; economic and political institutions; unemployment; crime; bandits; narcotics traffickers; smugglers; couriers; black marketers; and religious parties. (33) Many independent and interlinked individuals and groups contribute to the complexity.

Because COIN operations are dispersed, a counterinsurgent's own actions are a key generator A key generator is used in many cryptographic protocols to generate a sequence with many pseudo-random characteristics. This sequence is used as an encryption key at one end of communication, and as a decryption key at the other.  of intelligence. Operations produce intelligence that drives subsequent operations. (34) "Reporting by units, members of the country team, and associated civilian agencies is often of greater importance than reporting by specialized intelligence assets. These factors, along with the need to generate a favorable tempo (rate of military operations), drive the requirement to produce and disseminate intelligence at the lowest practical level." (35) Collection with ISR and non-ISR assets occurs at all echelons. (36) Additionally, effective COIN operations are decentralized; local commanders have the best grasp of their situations. (37)

As previously discussed, it is important to observe the linkage between PIRs and collection management since PIRs should drive all future collection and analytical priorities. In today's current COIN environments, divisions and corps are not maneuvering combat formations as in conventional "high intensity" offensive or defensive operations. There are few, if any, decision points and immediate decisions a division or corps commander need to make. Combat operations are executed in a decentralized manner by "empowered" BCTs who are responsible as the battle space owner for a denned area of operation. BCTs drive daily collection requirements based upon broadly denned guidance to include PIR and SIR and Commander's Intent which is usually summarized in a written or verbal division fragmentary order An abbreviated form of an operation order (verbal, written or digital) usually issued on a day-to-day basis that eliminates the need for restating information contained in a basic operation order. It may be issued in sections.  to subordinate units. BCTs must translate this broad collection guidance and division ISR objectives and priorities into operational plans with clearly defined collection tasks and purposes.

To ensure that intelligence collection is synchronized, the overall intelligence synchronization plan ensures that PIRs are nested at all echelons; they can be tailored to local or regional circumstances but tactical and operational collection efforts should support one another. Additionally, a headquarters monitors requests for information from lower echelons and taskings from higher which assists to validate the synchronization effort. Also, operational and some tactical ISR synchronization assists host nation, inter-agency, inter-service, and multinational efforts. These in turn can provide valuable information that assists in answering a unit's PIR. (38) Finally, because every Soldier is a potential collector, the intelligence synchronization plan addresses day to day tactical operations; every patrol or mission should be given intelligence collection requirements as well as operations requirements. (39)

Because COIN operations by their very nature are decentralized and lower level commanders have a better understanding of the operational environment, higher level commanders have different and, in many cases, less decisions to make. Directly related, transformation has removed the traditional tools of influence, particularly for division level commanders, altering or removing decisions that a pre-Transformation division commander may have had to make. Thus, the synchronization plan should be less restrictive and constraining the higher a headquarters given the fewer decisions required and/or the larger degree of time to decide. This facilitates the flexibility, nimbleness, and decentralization de·cen·tral·ize  
v. de·cen·tral·ized, de·cen·tral·iz·ing, de·cen·tral·iz·es

v.tr.
1. To distribute the administrative functions or powers of (a central authority) among several local authorities.
 required during COIN operations.

Conclusion

PIRs are an important part of understanding the threat we face, the operational environment as a whole, and what decisions a commander may have to make. PIRs help commanders to both visualize the operational environment and facilitate both planning and decisionmaking. PIRs have changed and are no longer rigid and inflexible with the intent of providing answers to a checklist of questions. Operations and intelligence doctrine have evolved to fully appreciate the complexity of today's battlefield. Today's senior leaders and military intelligence professionals must be educated on these changes.

Today's complex operational environment requires less prescriptive processes and thinking and more commanders' coup d'oeil or intuition (40) based on information, intelligence, and experience. As our doctrine has evolved along with our strategic requirements, our processes for asking the right questions have changed. Senior field grade and general officers today must have the mental agility to acknowledge that the processes and doctrine of the 1980s and 1990s do not meet all challenges we face today. Simply put, all operations are contextually and operationally dependent; PIRs based on conventional offensive or defensive operations differ from COIN. Also, transformation has changed the methods and scope of influencing the battle space. BCTs today have as much combat power, technology, and situational awareness as divisions of the past. Brigade and lower and division and higher commander's roles have changed and with it, the type of intelligence required and the type and timeliness of decisions these commanders have to make. Today's commanders must put away their antiquated understanding of PIRs they grew up with during their formative years and recognize that PIRs will vary for offensive, defensive, and stability operations and are not solely tied to immediate decisions or decision points.

Endnotes

(1.) Major Frank A. Smith, "Intelligence Transformation: Using Threat Characteristics to Define Division Capabilities" (Fort Leavenworth Fort Leavenworth (lĕv`ənwûrth'), U.S. military post, 6,000 acres (2,430 hectares), on the Missouri River, NE Kans., NW of Leavenworth; est. 1827 by Col. Henry Leavenworth to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The oldest U.S. , Kansas: Command and General Staff College The Command and General Staff College (C&GSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a United States Army facility that functions as a graduate school for U.S. military leaders. It was originally established in 1881 as a school for infantry and cavalry. , 25 May 2006), 56, at http:// www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA4506308&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf.

(2.) For the purposes of this article, operational commanders refer to tactical BCT, division, and corps Commanders, and the G3, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Commanders in divisions and corps organizations; officers primarily from the Infantry but also from the Armor, Artillery, and Aviation branches. These are the key leaders leading transformed BCTs and today's tactical and operational organizations or running the staffs of these organizations.

(3.) David Jablonsky, "US Military Doctrine Military doctrine is the concise expression of how military forces contribute to campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. It is a guide to action, not hard and fast rules. Doctrine provides a common frame of reference across the military.  and the Revolution in Military Affairs The military concept of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is a theory about the future of warfare, often connected to technological and organizational recommendations for change in the United States military and others. ", Parameters, Autumn 1994, 21-22 at http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/parameters/1994/jablonsk.htm.

(4.) FM 100-5, Operations, 20 August 1982, 8-4.

(5.) FM 100-5, Operations, 5 May 1986, i.

(6.) John L. Romjue, American Army Doctrine for the Post-Cold War (Fort Monroe Fort Monroe, SE Va., commanding the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads; named for President James Monroe. The fortress (80 acres/32 hectares) was built (1819–34) by the U.S. government on the site of English fortifications erected in 1609 and 1727. , Virginia: TRADOC TRADOC Training & Doctrine Command (US Army)  Historical Monograph Services, 1996), 132 at http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA317654&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf.

(7.) FM 3-0, Operations, 27 February 2008, Forward, at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/service_pubs/fm3_0a.pdf.

(8.) Lieutenant Colonel Joseph P. DeAntona, Transforming the Operational Career Field Officer Path: Preparing Leaders for Today's Contemporary Operating Environment In computing, an operating environment is the environment in which users run programs, whether in a command line interface, such as in MS-DOS or the Unix shell, or in a graphical user interface, such as in the Macintosh operating system.  and to Lead the Army into the 21st Century" (Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania: U.S. Army War College, 18 March 2005), 2 at http://www.strategicstudies institute.army.mil/pdffiles/ksil29.pdf.

(9.) Julian E. Barnes, "Hard-Learned Lessons", U.S. News & World Report, 19 March 2006 at http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/060327/27 military.htm.

(10.) FM 34-2, Collection Management and Synchronization Planning, 8 March 1994), 3-6 at http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-2/toc.htm.

(11.) Ibid., 3-14.

(12.) FM 2-0, Intelligence. 17 May 2004, 1-11 at www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm2-0.pdf.

(13.) FM 3-0, 27 February 2008, 5-8.

(14.) Ibid., 5-9.

(15.) FMI 2-01, ISR Synchronisation, 1 November 2008, 1-6.

(16.) Smith, 60.

(17.) John J. Magrath, "An Army at War: Change in the Midst Adv. 1. in the midst - the middle or central part or point; "in the midst of the forest"; "could he walk out in the midst of his piece?"
midmost
 of Conflict: The Proceedings of the Combat Studies Institute 2005 Military History Symposium" (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2-4 August 2005), 356 at http://www.cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/content.asp#army.

(18.) Joe Burlas "Actionable Intelligence Relies on Every Soldier". Army News Service, April 13, 2004 at http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=5847.

(19.) Headquarters, Department of the Army, United States Army United States Army

Major branch of the U.S. military forces, charged with preserving peace and security and defending the nation. The first regular U.S. fighting force, the Continental Army, was organized by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, to supplement local
 2004 Transformation Roadmap (Washington, D.C.: Army Transformation Office, July 2004), 5-15 at http://www.dtic.mil/futurejointwarfare/strategic/army_trans_roadmap.pdf.

(20.) Ibid.

(21.) FM 34-2, D-1; FMI 2-01, 1-12; FM 3-0, 27 February 2008, 5-9.

(22.) FM 34-2, 3-7; FMI 2-01, 2-4.

(23.) FM 5-0, Army Planning and Orders Production, 20 January 2005, Chapter 3, and FMI 2-01, Chapter 1.

(24.) FM 34-2, Dl to D2.

(25.) FM 34-8-2, Intelligence Officer's Handbook, 1 May 199S, D-2 at http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm34-S-2.pdf.

(26.) ST 2-50.4 (FM 34-8), Combat Commanders Handbook on Intelligence (Fort Huachuca, AZ: United States Army Intelligence Center The United States Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) is the US Army's school for professional training of military intelligence personnel. It conducts resident courses for enlisted, warrant officer, and commissioned officer personnel, as well as for international military students in  and Fort Huachuca, AZ, 6 September 2001), B-2. https://rdl.tram.army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/8684-l/st/2-50.4/st2-50.4.htm

(27.) FMI 2-01, 2-5.

(28.) Ibid, 4-2.

(29.) FM 3-0, 27 February 2008, 5-9.

(30.) Ibid, 2-3 to 2-4.

(31.) Carlotta Gall, "Insurgents in Afghanistan Are Gaining, Petraeus Says", The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times, 30 September 2008 at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/world/asia/01petraeus.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss.

(32.) Dr. David J. Kilcullen, "Three Pillars of Counterinsurgency: Remarks Delivered at the U.S. Government Counterinsurgency Conference", Washington D.C., 28 September 2006 at www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/uscoin/3pillars_of_counterinsurgency.pdf.

(33.) FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, 15 December 2006, 3-3 to 3-4, 3-13 at https://rdl.train.army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/23285-1/FM/3-24/FM3_24.PDF.

(34.) Ibid., 3-1.

(35.) Ibid., 1-23.

(36.) Ibid., 3-24.

(37.) Ibid., 1-26.

(38.) Ibid., 3-25.

(39.) FM 3-24, 3-27.

(40.) Carl von Clausewitz Carl Philipp Gottlieb von Clausewitz (IPA: [ˈklaʊzəvɪts]) (July 1, 1780[1] – November 16, 1831) was a Prussian soldier, military historian and influential military theorist. , On War. Edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, New Jersey
See also: Princeton Township, New Jersey

Princeton, New Jersey is located in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. Princeton University has been sited in the town since 1756.
: Princeton University Press, 1976), 112.

Lieutenant Colonel William G. McDonough, U.S. Army, has served for the past 25 years in a variety of assignments from the platoon to corps level as an Infantry and MI Soldier to include deployments in support of Operations Hurricane Andrew, Restore Hope, Uphold Democracy, Joint Endeavor, and Enduring Freedom IV and VII. He is currently the G2 Analysis and Control Element Chief for the 10th Mountain Division (LI) supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom VI. He holds a BA and MA in History from the California State University, Sacramento California State University, Sacramento, more commonly referred to as Sacramento State or Sac State, is a public university located in the city of Sacramento, California, USA. It is part of the California State University system. ; an MS in Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command and Staff College The Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) is located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and is the United States Air Force's intermediate professional military education (PME) school. ; and a MS in Airpower air·pow·er or air power  
n.
1. The organized, integrated use of aircraft and missiles for purposes of foreign policy, strategy, operations, and tactics.

2. The tactical and strategic strength of a country's air force.
 Arts and Science from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.

Lieutenant Colonel John A. (Jake) Conway. U.S. Army, has served for the past 20 years in a variety of artillery and military intelligence positions to include Infantry Battalion S2 in support of Operation Uphold/Maintain Democracy and BCT S2 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV. He is currently the G2 for the 10th Mountain Division (LI) supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom VI. He holds a BA in Pre Law from Penn State University, an MA in Management from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, and is a graduate of the Post-Graduate Intelligence Program, Washington D.C.

by Lieutenant Colonel William G. McDonough and Lieutenant Colonel John A. Conway
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Author:McDonough, William G.; Conway, John A.
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