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ICoE lessons learned branch.

Changes to the Intelligence Lessons Learned Enterprise

The U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence (ICoE) Lessons Learned (LL) Team is the Army's only LL collection and reporting element focused on Intelligence Warfighting Function (IWfF) information requirements. ICoE LL Team personnel are often confused with, but do not belong to, the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The ICoE LL Team is currently comprised of two government and four contractor personnel.

While ICoE's LL Team focuses on intelligence-related lessons, CALL is the center of gravity for all of the Army's lessons learned. Until recently CALL fielded its own IWfF LL Team at Fort Leavenworth and a contracted Lessons Learned Integration (L2I) liaison officer (LNO) positioned at ICoE. The ICoE LL Team, the CALL L2I LNO, and CALL's IWfF Team complemented each other's efforts. Each element was able to devote attention to differing areas of emphasis in support of the overall intelligence LL enterprise. CALL instituted major organizational changes in the latter part of 2013 which resulted in disbanding the IWfF LL Team and eliminating the L2I LNO position at ICoE. CALL's contracted L2I LNO positions at each of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) CoEs were also eliminated. This resulted in the ICoE LL Team's government personnel absorbing some of the functions lost with the L2I LNO's departure.

The reassignment of the CALL IWfF Team personnel to other CALL sections immediately increased the importance of having an enduring MI-proponent LL capability at ICoE. The team is funded, resourced and organizationally aligned under ICoE Capabilities Development Integration (CDI); Doctrine, Concepts, Experimentation and Lessons Learned (DCELL) Directorate. ICoE's LL team continues to provide IWfF subject matter expertise to CALL in a variety of forms. The primary role the ICoE LL Team performs is representing the military intelligence proponent at CALL's collaborative Army LL Forums and at the TRADOC managed Rapid Infusion Process (RIP) (forum). The ICoE LL team also represents Army IWfF LL at varied joint, interagency, and multinational LL events.


The LL team's current mission statement: "The ICoE Lessons Learned Division manages and applies recently captured observations, insights and lessons from worldwide intelligence operations and training to ensure the continued adaptation of IWfF training and capabilities development integration."

The ICoE Commanding General's intent for the team remains as revised in 2012, "As the MI branch proponent ICoE establishes, and serves as the central coordinating element in, a collaborative structure which represents and protects the equities of all IWfF elements to improve LL collection, analysis, production and dissemination capabilities in order to better integrate doctrine, organization, training, organization, materiel, leadership development and education, personnel and facility (DOTMLPF) improvements and reduce the LL burden on others."

The LL Team implements the CG's intent by functioning as the designated primary LL collection asset for all of ICoE. This intent is designed to reduce duplication of effort, personnel requirements, and travel costs. The CG also wanted to eliminate the impact on Army units caused by multiple ICoE elements conducting unilateral collection missions in support of their respective singular efforts. Additional benefits of a dedicated ICoE LL capability are manifested in the team's professional collection/interview skills, formation of strong partnering relationships with units based on ICoE LL Team performance and trust, objective reporting and agility in identifying and responding to emerging or dynamic collection requirements.


LL information requirements drive the team's collection operations. Customer knowledge demands are either specified to (or developed in collaboration with) the team. Specified requirements include the ICoE CG LL collection priorities, ICoE organization requirements and selected Request for Information submissions that cannot be answered with existing LL holdings. If the team is unable to answer an RFI using on-hand information or sources the team converts the RFI into an LL collection requirement in coordination with the requester. Requirements are consolidated and available online for continual reference, maintenance, or revision at the ICoE LL SharePoint site within the Intelligence Knowledge Network (IKN).

At the end of 2013, the team's operations were addressing 304 requirements on behalf of 20 organizations. The team also answered over 90 RFIs in 2013; most were answered within 48 hours of receipt.

LL Collection

During 2013 the LL Team completed 13 collection missions resulting in 114 separate actionable LL information items. The team refers to these items as Item Observation Reports (IORs). While ICoE LL collection focused on interviewing brigade combat team personnel whose experiences had a high probability of answering the ICoE CG's LL collection priorities the team also engaged personnel of units involved in Decisive Action Combat Training Center rotations, Security Force Advise and Assist missions, Global and Theater Response Force deployments and major training exercises such as XVIII Airborne Corps' Joint Operational Access Exercise.

Selecting specific Army elements with which to request LL collection visits requires substantial coordination and planning. Planning begins with identifying which units possess the most potential for providing information which may satisfy the ICoE CG collection priorities, other collection items of high interest, and those requirements which remain unsatisfied as their respective latest time information is of value approaches. However, tips from higher and lateral leaders and colleagues provide great insight as to which units may possess the most relevant information for LL collection. Often the team joins a LL collection effort being coordinated under an "umbrella week" by CALL or another organization. Umbrella weeks are not as well suited for thorough IWfF-specific collection as that coordinated by the ICoE LL team directly. ICoE LL designed collection usually results in more comprehensive, detailed and efficient interview sessions.

Collection Result Trends

The collection trends (see next column) were identified through LL collection performed in 2013. The trends provide evidence supporting some the best practices, challenges, or lessons identified in U.S. Army operations over the past decade. Current trends are not a statistically valid representational sample. LL interviews are inherently anecdotal and reflect the specific experiences of the personnel within, or information contained in reports provided by, the units engaged by the ICoE LL Team.

Collection Product Dissemination

LL team products are both pushed and posted. Email is the primary LL Team push dissemination method. The current LL email distribution list includes 140 recipients, who in turn forward LL products to their superiors, subordinates or colleagues. LL products are posted on the NIPRNET, SIPRNET and (by exception) to JWICS.

NIPRNET. By regulation, policy, and to facilitate accessibility LL products are posted to three separate NIPRNET locations: ICoE LL SharePoint site, Combat Development's (CD) Wiki, and the Army Lessons Learned Information System. ICoE LL Team personnel use the LL SharePoint site as its primary posting location. This site allows ready and unfettered access to any authorized user of the LL Team's products to include any active-duty, reserve component (U.S. Army Reserve or National Guard), or Department of the Army civilian Common Access Card (CAC) holder. Contractors with CACs must request access to IKN. The IKN SharePoint site also provides multiple LL-related functions (calendar, library, information requests, submit an observation, etc.) as well as links to ICoE's CD Wiki (look for the CD Wiki Newsletter at the end of this article) and other useful sites.

SIPRNET. The SIPRNET LL SharePoint site was established in 2013 as a mirror of the NIPRNET site. Internal LL Team business rules maintain the mirror image. Some users may notice minor temporary delays in the NIPR content on the SIPR page.

JWICS. JWICS posting is accomplished in partnership with the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command personnel on an ICoE LL SharePoint site established and maintained on the Department of the Army-Intelligence Information System portal.


While the LL team is requirements driven, its operations are collaboratively enabled. Collaboration occurs in two categories: events the team conducts and those in which the team participates. Every collaboration event is an opportunity to perform LL collection, dissemination, or situational awareness.

MI LL Forum

The team's primary collaboration event is the MI LL Forum conducted over DCO on the third Thursday of each month from 1700Z to 1800Z (1000 to 1100 MST). All sessions held in 2013 were conducted on the SIPRNET; however, feedback received from key leaders resulted in moving the MI LL Forum to NIPRNET in January 2014. Moving to an unclassified venue allows us to reach a larger audience which results in wider dissemination of LL information to those in the operating force. Any classified subjects will be discussed during supplemental sessions on the appropriate network. The forum is conducted as a collaborative session facilitated by the ICoE LL Team. Issues requiring formal action at ICoE or potential injection into the Army's Lessons Learned processes are presented to the Director, DCELL for evaluation and guidance. The MI LL Forum provides an enduring collaborative IWfF LL capability, acts as a single point of entry to the various Army LL forums, and provides a coordinated voice for the IWfF LL enterprise.

The enduring agenda for the MI LL Forum is composed of seven parts, described in sequence.

Purpose. The session opens with a review of the forum's purpose to serve as the participants' advocate regarding LL issues, to compile and act on the participant's collection requirements, and to identify and develop LL-related issues. This provides basic information to those who may be participating for the first time and to provide the proper context to guide any subsequent discussions.

Collection Review. The ICoE LL Team presents a calendar of recent past, current, and potential future LL collection opportunities. This review covers: the specific unit (with attention to OPSEC); the operation or event in which the unit participated to help determine any associated LL collection requirements that may be satisfied; the location of the collection event to elicit opportunities for others to collect LL, and the estimated/coordinated dates of the LL collection event. It is usually at this point that the participant discussion will identify specific collection requests or items of interest.

Collection Overview. The next item is a review of the most recently completed collection mission(s). The overview lists the unit or CTC rotation and the observation topics compiled from the collection mission's IORs. Forum participants who may have collected their own lessons are able to present their results or information here as well.

Current Collection Topics. The current collection topics, formed from the existing collection requirements list, are presented to generate discussion and to prompt participants to identify items of interest. In this way we hope to identify additional items which may be addressed by LL collection or information.

ICoE LL SharePoint Site. Depending upon the audience composition or request, the team may conduct a very short tutorial demonstrating how to navigate to the team's collaboration portal. All products presented or discussed during the session are made available for immediate download during the forum session through the DCO document download window.

Topical Presentation. This portion of the forum is set aside for formal presentations by forum members.

Discussion. The discussion fosters exchanges between the participants to cover items which may not have been addressed during the session. The ICoE LL Team facilitates a free-flow discussion to emphasize the ICoE CG's intent for the forum to represent and protect the equities of all IWfF elements and avoid the forum only serving ICoE. The session concludes with a graphic identifying the LL team members and their respective contact information.

Additional Collaboration

In addition to the monthly MI LL Forum sessions the team engaged in over 203 collaboration events over the past year. Simply attending a meeting does not count as a collaborative engagement. LL personnel involvement in the various collaboration venues drives the integration of LL products or information into the full range of IWfF DOTMLPF efforts without being encumbered by a separate LL integration forcing function. The lack of a formal LL integration process forces, and thus strengthens, the direct personal interaction between ICoE LL Team personnel and those conducting the many lines of effort underway in order to share and fully develop relevant LL information.

The Way Ahead for LL

As this issue of MIPB goes to press there are more changes coming to the LL enterprise. The Army is staffing a major revision draft of the current Army Regulation covering LL (AR 11-33, Army Lessons Learned Program) accompanied by a new DA Pamphlet Army Lessons Learned Program Handbook. We hope to cover the changes these products implement in the next issue of MIPB.

Twenty-five percent of the collection was performed virtually; meaning the LL collector relied on telecommunication applications such as video-teleconference (VTC), Defense Connect Online (DCO), Tandberg, telephone or voice over internet protocol. Virtual collection reduces the personnel time and monetary travel costs.

LL Collection Trends

* Regionally Aligned Forces.

* Combined Arms Maneuver (CAM) Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.

* Company Intelligence Support Team Operations in CAM.

* Distributed Common Ground System-Army use in CAM.

* Analog operations in the Decisive Action Training Environment.

* Effective communication-briefing and writing skills.

* Human Intelligence Soldier experiences.

* Signals Intelligence Soldier experiences.

* Counterintelligence Soldier experiences.

* Information Collection planning and operations.

* Information sharing.

* Contractor maintenance support.

* Understanding MI architecture and planning requirements.

* Collective/Unit training development and management.

by Chet Brown, Chief, Lessons Learned
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Author:Brown, Chet
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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