Ground Surveillance Systems Operations in Kosovo.
Stopping the Mad Mortarman
During KFOR-1B, the TF 101 MI GSR teams continued the counter-mortar operations begun by their predecessors in KFOR-1A. TF 2-2 IN measurably improved the effectiveness of the countermortar operations tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) employed in KFOR-1A units. This section provides a short overview of TF 2-2 IN's successful countermortar operation and the role of the GSR team.
TF 2-2 IN refined its countermortar operations as practiced during their Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRE) at the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) in Hohenfels, Germany. The TF S2, conducting pattern analysis, produced collection requirements for all available assets including the GSR teams. A countermortar operation stood up during each period that indicated an increased chance of mortar activity. The operation focused on potential mortar and likely kills locations. Using all available assets, the TF 2-2 IN S2 produced viable named areas of interest (NAIs) for all reconnaissance and surveillance elements in addition to integrating the TTP of the previous unit whose NAIs focused on firing locations and infiltration and exfiltration routes. TF 2-2 IN tasked subordinate units to conduct the mission either covertly or overtly. For the purpose of these countermortar missions, "overt" units moved about their locations with service driving lights and generally made their presence known. "Covert" units moved i nto and out of collection positions without detection. The combination of overt and covert elements left the general populace and potential attackers unable to determine when there were extra forces collecting information on the battlefield.
All TF 101 MI GSR teams were equipped with either the AN/PPS-5B or AN/PPS-15 radar sets. The majority of the radar missions in support of the countermortar operation used the AN/PPS-5B and an M1114 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) mounted with a .50-caliber machine gun. The GSR teams worked overtly in support of TF 2-2 IN in an environment of unexploded ordnance and undetected minefields. The presence of GSR teams served as a deterrent to any force that sought to disrupt the uneasy peace between Kosovar Serbs and Albanians. Team leaders reported in a manner similar to the method used during KFOR-1A, where combat information went directly to the platoon or company command post (CP) rather than the TF headquarters. The teams set up where they could acquire targets in probable areas of infiltration or exfiltration. Weather conditions such as heavy winter fog allowed the GSR teams to maximize their capabilities by allowing them to move undetected.
The countermortar operations within the TF 2-2 IN sector proved extremely successful. After the initial countermortar operation in December 1999, mortar activity within the RAMROD sector ceased. The ability to focus all available combat power deterred mortar activity and allowed for peaceful resettlement within the TF 2-2 IN sector.
Transition to REMBASS Operations
As a mechanized infantry divisional MI battalion, the 101st MI battalion was not equipped with any Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System (REMBASS) or Improved Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System (I-REMBASS) equipment. Although the 96Rs have REMBASS tasks listed in their respective Soldier Training Publications (STPs), we had none of this equipment to use during our MRE. DS companies do not use REMBASS at the CMTC. There was no REMBASS equipment in KFOR when the four GSR teams consolidated at Camp Monteith in January 2000. It was a similar situation to the experience of the 101st MI Battalion when entering Bosnia-Herzegovina. GSR teams in the DS Company trained primarily on the PPS-5 and PPS-15 radar sets, but would soon be using REMBASS to assist in keeping the uneasy peace.
KFOR MI leaders recognized the requirements for REMBASS systems and sent the request for validation from TF 101 MI through U.S. Army--Europe to the U.S. Army Communications--Electronic Command (CECOM) and Department of the Army in May 1999. We received our initial outlay of approximately 30 sensor systems from TF Eagle in Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-March 2000. Subsequently, we received REMBASS sensors, programmers, and monitors in a piecemeal fashion from CECOM and Special Operations Forces (SOF) units in the continental United States. Training the soldiers and teams in the midst of an operational deployment proved a great challenge.
Immediately, TF 101 MI brought almost all 96Rs remaining at our home base in Wuerzburg, Germany, to support REMBASS operations in Kosovo. Requirements from TF Falcon dictated that TF 101 MI maintain the four GSR teams and field two REMBASS teams. Soldiers that deployed with KFOR-1A volunteered for a second deployment in order to work with this equipment not normally used by the 96R soldiers stationed in Europe. (These volunteers greatly assisted in bringing experience not only in REMBASS operations but also in GSR missions).
The TF Falcon G2 and Collection Management Officer selected initial NAIs for REMBASS operations during the weekly TF Falcon targeting meetings. The TF Falcon Commander approved the NAIs with the task and purpose of providing early warning of boundary incursions. Likely cross-boundary movement that concerned TF Falcon included the smuggling of weapons and equipment by Kosovar Albanians or incursions from Serbian patrols. The rugged terrain of the Kosovar--Serbian boundary served as the backdrop to several REMBASS operations.
The TF 2-2 IN S2, GS MI Company Commander, and the local maneuver Commander conducted a refinement of the NAIs. Now task-organized into two five-soldier REMBASS teams, the 96Rs of TF 101 MI conducted planning in conjunction with the local maneuver reconnaissance, TF 101 MI briefed the TF S2 and S3 and TF Falcon G2 and G3 on the emplacement, monitoring, and reporting of each REMBASS string. We conducted each string emplacement, battery change, and reconnaissance as a deliberate operation, ensuring that the REMBASS teams had adequate security, quick-reaction forces, and communications.
We co-located the REMBASS monitoring team at the company command post (CP). The REMBASS monitoring team consisted of three soldiers--a 96R20 and two 96R10s. The 96R20 was on call as the situation dictated while the two 96R10s maintained 12-hour shifts. Rotation of the monitoring team into GSR missions ensured an attentive operator.
Initially, the monitoring site used an ANIPSQ-7 Monitor/Programmer until the Sensor Monitoring Set (SMS) replaced it. Visual displays for the monitor included a 1:50,000 map, REMBASS overlay, and digital imagery products from the TF Falcon terrain team sketch maps and digital pictures of all emplacement locations. As we developed the NAIs, a special 1:25,000 map displayed all the NAIs and the deployed REMBASS. The TF S2 and GS Company Commander determined the reporting chain for the REMBASS monitoring team. Reporting REMBASS acquisitions went concurrently through the TF Battle Captain and the Analysis and Control Team (ACT) with SALTS-T (size, activity, location time type sensor) reports. The TF Battle Captain determined if any possible friendly elements were in the sector and started the response cycle of placing "eyes on" the NAI. The ACT informed the TF 101 MI tactical operations center (TOC) and TF Falcon G2 to ensure that if needed, TF Falcon assets would be available to react to boundary activities.
After receiving the SMS and additional PSQ-7s, we had ample systems to use in other areas within TF 2-2 IN. With hands-on training conducted by the 96Rs, we established two forward monitoring locations at remote company CPs. The CP personnel now had immediate knowledge of the acquisition of possible enemy personnel within their sector and the ability to move about their area of responsibility (AOR) with the monitor. The use of forward-emplaced PSQ-7s greatly enhanced the force protection and reaction time for the maneuver units.
The Coyote Comes to KFOR
A review of ground surveillance operations in KFOR-1B would not be complete without mention of the Coyote system. An acclaimed surveillance system- the Coyote- arrived with the Royal Canadian Dragoon Reconnaissance Troop from Petawawa, Ontario, during the KFOR-1B rotation. Attached to TF 2-2 IN, the Coyote monitored insurgent activities along and across the Kosovo-Serbia boundary and the region adjacent to the Presevo Valley. The Coyote proved to be a valuable asset for TF Falcon during the build up of an insurgent Kosovar-Albanian force known as the UCPMB and Serbian response.
Mounted on a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) chassis, the Coyote provided a thermal-imaging capability, radar, laser rangefinder, and a daylight television camera to monitor elements across the boundary. The surveillance equipment, mounted on a mast that extends above the LAV, raises ten meters from the ground. Its GSR can range some targets more than 12 kilometers (km) away. The daylight camera ranges targets up to 20 km and the thermal-imaging device provides passive observation during reduced visibility. Scouts are able to dismount all of the surveillance equipment from the vehicle for use in an observation post or for training. Dismounts can emplace the system more than 100 meters from the vehicle to reduce its signature. The system can record all images it produces on an internal VHS recorder.
The Coyote proved to be a remarkable ground surveillance system for TF 2-2 IN and TF Falcon. The ability of the Canadian forces to provide quality and "hard copy" surveillance from a well-protected system impressed most U.S. intelligence personnel. Additionally, it reminded us that intelligence operators need to remain familiar with what multinational intelligence units bring to the fight.
The 1st Infantry Division (lID) Commander, Major General John Abizaid, commented, "There is no one in this Division more important than the soldier on patrol in Kosovo in the middle of the night." The 96R in TF 101 MI was often that soldier. Although Kosovo is a human intelligence(HUMINT) rich environment, the measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) soldier operating as a GSR team leader or REMBASS team leader, often found himself with his team "on the front line" during countermortar or boundary operations. We must not underestimate the difficulty of operating in an unfamiliar, nonsecure environment laden with mines. The 96Rs in TF 101 MI were continuously, and truly, called upon to be the most forward "Eyes of the Falcon."*
Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of North Dakota, as an Armor officer, Captain Frank Tank's first duty assignment was as a M1IP Tank Platoon Leader in 172 AR, in Camp Casey, Korea, He served as a M1A1 Tank Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, and Batallion S4 in 1-40 AR at Fort Hunter Liggett, California. CPT Tank then transitioned to Military Intelligence, serving as the S2, 1st Infantry Division Artillery in Bamberg, Germany. His most recent assignment was as S4, and then as Company Commander, 101st MI Battalion. CPT Tank is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course, Scout Platoon Leader Course, Battalion Maintenance Officer Course, and the Military Intelligence Officer Transition and Advanced Courses. He earned a Bachelor of science degree in Psychology from the University of North Dakota.
Figure 1. Lessons Learned on Ground Surveillance Operations in Kosovo.
* Train all 96Rs on REMBASS operations--all peace support operations (PSOs) need and use them.
* Imbed GSR training into habitually supported units early to prepare. the units for future operations.
* Develop a standing operating procedures (SOP) headquarters to quickly accept and integrate non-organic modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE) MI equipment.
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|Author:||Tank, Frank F.|
|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2001|
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