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Collaborative engagement: best practices for army reserve TSB integration with the Active Component MIB(T).


In the complex operating environment that defines every theater, developing a flexible force is a critical element to achieving operational intelligence success. This flexibility requires access to a broad array of capacities, the full scope of the intelligence community (IC), and an engaged, relevant relationship between the Active Component (AC) Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade (Theater) (MIB(T)) and the regionally and operationally aligned Army Reserve MI Theater Support Battalions (TSB). This fundamental relationship must be founded on a collaborative team building model, collective planning, and an interconnected fabric of leaders and experts down to the subordinate teams that collect, produce, and exploit intelligence within both the MIB(T) and TSB. This article dives into this collaborative relationship, examines the key foundations of current and future success, and previews this path through the lens of the current engagement between the 66th MIB(T) and the 323rd MI Battalion (USAR) TSB. To be sure, the way ahead will require a fully aligned Total Amy MI Corps: Active, Reserve, National Guard, and DA Civilian MI Professionals.

The Value of Operational Alignment

The anachronistic model of employing reserve intelligence personnel and units as a ready pool to fill individual and randomized mobilization needs in a "plug and play" manner ignores the inherent value of the skilled teams offered by the Army Reserve through the TSB. While there will always be a need for individual augmentation to larger missions, a paradigm shift toward operational alignment and employment of intelligence units promises to deliver increased capability to all. This new paradigm requires the TSB to be seen as a holistic unit capable of delivering products, as well as tailored teams and select individuals, to increase MIB(T) capacity to meet theater requirements through integrated operations. MI Reserve forces should be strategically managed for application to the right mission at the lowest level possible: the MIB(T)/TSB relationship and their subordinate units. This alignment and strategic commitment promises an opportunity to deliver assured capacity to the intelligence enterprise well into our dynamic future.

A Collaborative and Integrated Team

The single most critical element to the development of the MIB(T)/TSB relationship is a collaborative leadership mindset anchored by a commitment to developing sustainable, predictable, and scalable plans for current and future intelligence operations. This new paradigm focuses on developing flexibly adaptive and collaborative leaders and teams across the total force. No longer is the purpose of the Reserve Component (RC) to only fill gaps in emergency scenarios. Now the intelligence capacity of the Army Reserve, nested within the TSBs of the MI Readiness Command (MIRC) must be leveraged and integrated as part of current operations. Each of these Battalions, operationally aligned to a MIB(T) within a geographic command can, and should, provide ongoing and surge support for real world missions across the intelligence spectrum while remaining in their Reserve status. In accordance with this vision, the TSB should be able to provide the following capabilities to the MIB(T):

Analysis. Each TSB has an internal Analysis and Control Element (ACE) located near a SCIF with capacity for research, analysis, and production. Currently in support of the 66th MIB(T) and U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), the 323rd MI BN provides intelligence support for key European regional intelligence topics while also simultaneously providing intelligence for the Sub-Saharan African Region and U.S. Army Africa (USARAF). The ability of the TSB to provide this enables the MIB(T) increased intelligence coverage of their area of responsibility (AOR) as well as the opportunity to expand production at minimal monetary cost to the MIB(T) (Battle Assembly weekends are funded by the USAR).

Collection. Each TSB within the MIRC has the broad capacity to offer collections across the intelligence spectrum: Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Counterintelligence (CI), Human Intelligence (HUMINT), etc. These capacities are developed at the team level, making them capable of supporting the MIB(T) as a team, in small sections, or as individuals that are deployed on orders or working in Battle Assembly windows on uniquely designed products. While missions and mission timelines must be intentionally crafted in such a way as to interconnect with the Reservist Battle Assembly weekend, creative project management can net outstanding results and increased productivity.

As part of the collaborative team approach, the 66th MIB(T) and the 323rd MI BN recently executed an annual training event at Fort Meade, Maryland, that incorporated a Leadership Conference involving the MIB(T) Commander, his staff, a team of observer/trainers, and key leadership of the 323rd mi bn. Planning identified an assigned AOR in support of USAREUR, coordinated potential future lines of funding, and began the process of matching requirements to personnel within the 323rd mi bn, while also developing a list of needs and opportunities for future growth of the relationship and interaction with the broader IC. Additionally, the 66th mIB(T) observer/trainers were able to interact with, train, and observe the 323rd mi bn ACE, CI/HUMINT, and GEOINT sections in a collective training event that brought in trainers from across the IC. At the conclusion of the event, quality feedback and an understanding of unit capacities, allowed the 66th mib(T) and 323rd mi bn to develop a way ahead for further integration.

Developing an Enduring Mission

A critical requirement to successful integration of the TSB into the MIB(T) mission set is the development of an enduring mission that the TSB can completely own and develop over the long term (ideally five + years). Currently the 323rd MI BN, as the TSB, owns the ACE mission for several Sub-Saharan African nations for USARAF and is shifting to take analytic responsibility for a key region of USAREUR. These enduring missions involve a small core of USAR Soldiers on orders who manage intelligence and briefing requirements for those regions on a daily basis from their home-station mission facility. They also provide an enormous return on investment by enabling the troop program unit (TPU) mission set to be more fully developed and managed with well planned, connected requirements that support the MIB(T). The MIB(T) is provided a valuable reach-back capacity that allows for expanded mission sets and planned surge moments from home station in Maryland. This process effectively increases the TSB's total value to the MIB(T) and allows for a greatly increased return on investment for mobilization/deployment dollars.

Collaborative Planning

The enduring mission must be sustainable, predictable, and scalable in order to become the envisioned ideal. This requires planning and interconnectedness as the leadership of the MIB(T) and TSB collaborate to recommend requirements to the G2 for funding and filling intelligence gaps. Using the core group of USAR Soldiers (on orders) conducting reach-back support keeps the total number of mobilized/deployed Soldiers limited, while expanding capability and reach of the MIB(T) into not only the USAR, but the diverse civilian capacities of the TSB force, and even the broader IC for an expanded network of experts, solutions, and ideas. The ultimate benefit of this planning is that the enduring mission can be sustained for years at a time, providing a strong understanding of mission, threats, and context.

While the operational world is very complex and unpredictable in many ways, allowing a habitual integration of the TSB into the MIB(T) planning cycle allows understanding of the many reoccurring exercises, training events, and habitual practices that are part of the culture of every organization. Examples of this type of culture include intelligence architecture, communications, computer programs, battle rhythm of required meetings, etc.

Finally, the last concept, scalability, allows the model of reserve involvement to be expanded, or contracted over time based on demand. By working habitually within the same TSB, the MIB(T) reaps the benefits of a group of Soldiers and teams that can be employed effectively with a higher degree of confidence into mission requirements because the MIB(T)/TSB relationship allows the Soldiers to be more known, understood, and selected for best mission fit to the Soldier.

The Total Army Benefit

Operational alignment and incorporation of the Army Reserve TSB with the AC MIB(T) is a strategy that benefits the entire force. The TSB brings personnel and teams with highly diverse skills from many facets of civilian life, levels of maturity, and experiences that rival or even surpass many AC units. Additionally, many Reserve Intelligence TSB's units are geographically aligned with critical intelligence nodes across the country, allowing these units to house, train, and inject personnel with deep connections and experiences within the IC. This connectivity offers a unique opportunity for the MIB(T) to deepen and expand its network across the broader IC, increasing operational reach and mission success. As an example of this application, consider some of the effects of the recent two week collaborative annual training event between the 66th mib(T) and the 323rd mi BN:

ACE Mission Shift: The 323rd mi bn ACE began the process of transitioning the current mission set from USARAF to USAREUR, connecting directly with experts in Germany to assume new mission over a major theater mission area while simultaneously beginning to transition USARAF mission to the 207th mib(T) and 337th mi BN (TSB). The ACE began developing the current operating picture for the 323rd's USAREUR Area of Operations (AO) through creation of the Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment product for the 66th MI BDE's USAREUR ACE team, with a final brief of all projected production requirements to the ACE and 323rd leadership during the second week of annual training.

Connectivity: DCGS-A connectivity was historically developed and resourced by the MIRC. With the additional support and expertise of 66th mib(T) Soldiers, the 323rd ace was able to take DCGS-A connectivity to the next level by synching with the 66th network. Using this capability, the 323rd USARAF team dynamically expanded their product quality and volume into the Theater Entity Database for their USARAF AO, finalized the 90-day update to AO, completed one Intelligence Summary, and gave a situational update brief on their AO to the 66th mi BDE's USARAF G2 and ACE leadership using the established reach-back capability in the first week of annual training alone.

GEOINT Capacity Enhancement: GEOINT personnel, partnered with 66th trainers and began the process of answering USAREUR, Special Operations Command Europe, USARAF, and Special Operations Command Africa requests for information (RFIs) for the first time, following full system connectivity with the 66th ace. Over the course of the first week of annual training, active RFIs were answered, and significantly more All-Source and Single Source products were completed in support of the 66th mi BDE mission than ever previously achieved.

CI/HUMINT: In addition to valuable cross-training with the 902"d MI Group and the Army Operations Group, the 323rd CI/HUMINT teams, working with 66th mi BDE Operations and Training Soldiers and NCOs, completed the CI and HUMINT Analysis portion of their Foreign Intelligence Services/ Counterterrorism (FISS/CT) Country Focused Threat Brief and further refined the analytical portion of a FISS product collaboratively produced with the 66th mi BDE.

While the benefit to both the TSB personnel and the MIB(T) is quite obvious in this relationship, there are other stakeholders enjoying deeper benefits of our approach. The first of these is U.S. Forces Command, which is required to maintain a pool of ready forces. Implementing this model of TSB integration with the MIB(T) improves readiness by delivering a higher level of training and development opportunity to the RC force.

A second beneficiary of this relationship is the broader MI community in the Army Reserve, which falls under the MIRC. With the availability of missions through these operationally aligned TSBs, the MIRC is able to effectively tap into more events that can be employed to train the broader MI force through Foundry funding. Additionally, no TSB will ever be able to service the entire requirements list of the MIB(T). This opens numerous possibilities for live environment training and other unique opportunities to the broader MI force across the USAR and National Guard.

The Road Ahead for the MIB(T)/TSB Relationship

The future of Total Army Intelligence Integration is now, and one of the most critical pieces of that future is the MIB(T)/TSB relationship. MIB(T)s continue to face increasing requirements in a complex and uncertain operating environment. Leaving the Army Reserve TSB assets underutilized or viewing them as available solely to provide individualized mobilization decreases their net value to the broader IC and the MIB(T)s. Regionally aligned TSBs, such as the 323rd mi Battalion, must assume mission and effectively provide intelligence support through a layered program of highly predictable rotating tours/mobilization orders, annual training, and TPU unit training on a routine and surge capacity. This will benefit ongoing mission fulfillment, enhance training and readiness, and provide a higher caliber of ready individuals, teams, and units to the entire force in the years to come,

COL Pendall is the Commander, 66th MIB(T).

LTC Allen is the Commander, 323rd MI Battalion (USAR).

ATP 2-22.82 Biometrics-Enabled Intelligence, dated 2 November 2015, has been published. ATP 2-22.82 provides guidance concerning the use of biometric information by intelligence professionals, protection operations personnel, personnel involved in detainee screening or operations, and personnel involved in targeting operations. It addresses biometrics-enabled intelligence, the fundamentals of biometrics, and biometric systems, as well as biometric tools used in current operations. The manual discusses the biometric processes in support of the intelligence process, roles and responsibilities of intelligence units and individuals using biometrics, and intelligence considerations for the use of biometrically enabled watch lists. ATP 2-22.82 contains information protected as For Official Use Only. It supersedes TC 2-22.82, dated 21 March 2011.

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by Colonel David W. Pendall and Lieutenant Colonel Brent W. Allen
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Author:Pendall, David W.; Allen, Brent W.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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