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Brigade S-2: It's a Team, Not a Person

If you have heard MG Berrier speak, you have walked away with his acronym RPMI: Relationships, Partnerships, Mentorship, and Integration. He has condensed his 30 plus years of experience, the majority of which was as a "2" at every echelon from battalion to combatant command, down to RPMI--a recipe for success. None of this however, is about what he accomplished as an individual, but instead as a leader and integrator of a team. Our Army fights with brigade combat teams (BCTs). A BCT S-2 succeeds or fails as a team and that is how you need to train.

Whether you are the junior analyst in the S-2 or the ranking major in the brigade, no one individual can provide situational understanding to the commander 24/7 for a combat training center (CTC) rotation, let alone a nine-month deployment. Therefore, you need to build your team, hone your skills through sets and reps, and know the strengths and weaknesses of everyone around you. For the remainder of this article, when I refer to the S-2 I'm talking about the entire team, not an individual.

It is not enough for you to have a relationship with your brigade S-3 and the commander. Yes, they are important relationships, but beyond that, you need to build the brigade team. The S-2 needs to be a catalyst for integrating the staff to support the commander. The brigade S-2 needs to understand what the fires, engineer, and aviation liaisons need based on the types of operations the S-3 is providing the commander for courses of action. The liaisons as well as the rest of the staff need to understand what and how intelligence is there to support them.

You need to help the S-6 not only plan the best network based on terrain and weather, but help defend that network and tie into cyber electromagnetic activities to support the brigade commander's intent. When was the last time you discussed with the S-6 how the brigade is going to defend the network? During your military decision-making and intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) processes, the S-2 needs to work with the S-6 and S-3 to propose non-kinetic interruption of the enemy's activities using electronic warfare and cyberspace to further the commander's intent.

Brigade S-2s need to develop partnerships with the expeditionary military intelligence brigade and military intelligence brigade--(theater) for projected regionally aligned force (RAF) missions. These partnerships should be exercised when possible to understand all of the dependencies. Partnerships also need to extend to other government agencies depending upon the brigade's mission. Don't wait until you are deployed to reach out and establish working relationships, build partnerships early, and maintain them.

Mentorship needs to include seeking mentors and mentoring others. Brigade S-2s, should mentor military intelligence companies (MICOs) and subordinate battalion S-2s. They are the elements that will continue the battle if you are eliminated. They need to know why you are tasking in specific ways to support your commander. You also need to recognize that there may be expertise in the MICO that can mentor you. For example, learning about the latest Prophet system capabilities or upgrades to an unmanned aircraft system. You should be reaching up to the division or corps G-2 and looking for mentorship to understand how your brigade ties into sister brigades to support a division or corps in decisive action training environments, and finding out what assets may be pushed down to your brigade depending upon the mission.

Integration at the BCT S-2 is focused at the tactical and operational level. However, you need to think joint and multinational. If you have a RAF mission or deployment, are you integrated with special operations forces and coalition/NATO/host nation forces with whom you will be training and fighting? Do you understand their capabilities and limitations? Have you integrated that into your IPB process and built an understanding of dependencies you and they will have to meet commander's needs and support mission requirements? Integration needs to become the norm.

Relationships, Partnerships, Mentorship, and Integration (RPMI) are the elements of success for a "2" at any level, but are critical at the BCT. As the military intelligence professionals advising commanders within our BCTs, you need to be constantly learning more about your profession and passing on what you know. You need to know everything about friendly forces and enemy capabilities. That subject matter expertise needs to be available 24/7; therefore, more than one Soldier in the S-2 needs to be a subject matter expert. Never be a single point of failure, remember you are a team.

"Always Out Front and Army Strong!"

by Command Sergeant Major Thomas J. Latter

U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence
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Author:Latter, Thomas J.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Apr 1, 2017
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