Leading the Light Infantry Brigade Combat Team's Military Intelligence Company.
No leader ever managed a unit to take a hill ... they were lead there.
--General Nathan Forrest, U.S. Confederate Army
Under the current Modified Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE) of a Light Infantry BCT, we have witnessed an incredible growth in the number of MI officers assigned to the BCT $2 shop. We are now authorized six officers within the $2 Section with expertise in multiple disciplines to include Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and All-Source Intelligence (ASI). When coupled with the noncommissioned officers and enlisted soldier numbers, the team grows to twenty knowledge hungry intelligence professionals. This group, which now includes the Analysis and Control Team-Enclave (ACT-E) (in the MI company under the previous MTOE), more than meets the maneuver commander's requirement for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of the BCT's tactical intelligence.
Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it.
--General Omar Bradley
Having recently completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) reinforced the importance of the "Out Front" placement of the MI company leadership on today's non-linear battlefield. Any MI team that conducts deliberate mission planning and preparation must be afforded the adequate time and diligent oversight by their respective leaders. Without this direct leadership involvement in the mission planning cycle, disastrous results are predictable that could well mean loss of life or a compromise in our intelligence mission. MI company leaders are obligated to ensure all tactical intelligence team members of the MI company are conducting comprehensive Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs) and Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs). While the PCCs are the business of team leaders, the PCIs are clearly the duty and responsibility of the MI company commander and the first sergeant. An objective look at the currently employed contemporary operating environment highlights the importance of mission rehearsals and back-briefs, the conduct of battle drills, the development of a contingency plan, and so forth.
When in war, men must die, they can't be managed to their deaths, they must be led.
--Colonel Dandridge "Mike" Malone, U.S. Army, Infantry
A workable balance must be found between the brigade S2's understanding of the MI company current level of readiness, as well as the separate intelligence discipline collector's unique capabilities and limitations. It is the responsibility of the MI company commander to inform the brigade commander and his staff of the company's current status. He must also assist the battalion level commanders, and their respective staff by recommending employment of what is often the BCT's single collection platform within a specific intelligence discipline. Experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan has proven to me that many missions are doomed from the start due to the simple lack of leader involvement in the critical tasks of rehearsals and inspections; all of which take place before the MI company soldier has even left the Forward Operating Base (FOB) front gates.
People cannot be managed. Inventories can be managed, but people must be led.
Given the current mission profile of the BCT's MI company, company level leadership is a critical component to successful execution of the BCT's intelligence requirements. In concert with the brigade staff, the MI company leaders must be able to plan, rehearse, collect, and report information of value, often all at the same time. As an example: While a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) is flying in support of an Infantry Company's cordon and search just south of the Yarmock Circle, a Tactical HUMINT Team (THT) prepares to depart the FOB, with the nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance Platoon providing security. They are in search of a key piece of information needed in order to verify a fellow intelligence collector's single-source information. All the while, the SIGINT Platoon is scanning and searching increasing numbers of ever-changing targets in an effort to guarantee both the assured destruction of enemy forces, as well as assist in the "no-fair' mission of protecting our forces. While all of these missions are in various states of operational planning, one thread knits all of these loose ends together--Leadership. It is leadership alone that ensures the MI company is "firing on all cylinders" and that the company is properly trained, equipped, manned and rehearsed during the various critical stages of each of these complex and diverse intelligence missions.
The fact is that younger leaders [not generals] are the ones who really make history. They earn medals for valor and achievement. They are the ones who get things done and make the Army great.
--General John A. Wickham, Jr. Army Chief of Staff, 1983-1987
If we look to develop today's MI officers for positions of increased leadership responsibility within the new BCT's Brigade Troops Battalion (BTB), we must begin this much needed development at the MI company level with our platoon leaders, company executive officers and, of course, our MI company commanders. If we fail to do this, the critical pool of officers qualified to be future battalion commanders will dwindle precipitously and our competitive edge will be lost.
Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!!!
Captain Jerry Moon is the commander of Bravo Company (MI), 311th BTB, 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He earned a BS degree from Western Illinois University and an MS from Murray State University. He has served as a SIGINT Platoon Leader, an HHSC Executive Officer, a Support Platoon Leader, a Battalion S3, a Division Collection Manager, and a Battalion $2 in both the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (ABN).
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|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2005|
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