Printer Friendly

The 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Deployable Intelligence Support Element (DISE) in operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

The Afghanistan...campaign is not over, but analysts and senior military officials are hailing it as the first conflict in which intelligence was the primary U.S. weapon. Key factors in their assessment were persistence (the ability to maintain round-the-clock surveillance), integration at the tactical and operational levels of intelligence from many sources, and the ability to control data collection.

David A. Fuighum, "Intel Emerging as Key Weapon in Afghanistan," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 11 March 2002

The Commander of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) had a brigade combat team (BCT) deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. They had to cover an area of interest (see Figure 1) that is half the size of Texas with a series of combat and stability and support operations missions to accomplish and a command and control relationship that was not exactly standard.

The Commander dispatched a deployable intelligence support element (DISE) (see Figure 2) to augment the BCT's organic intelligence capabilities. The DISE joined the Division's 3d Brigade--the famed "Rakkasans" of the 187th Infantry Regiment--at Kandahar Airfield on 1 February 2002. It consisted of 16 soldiers and 3 civilian contractors from the U.S. Army Communications Electronics-Command (CECOM) and the U.S. Army Space Program Office (ASPO).

The DISE had the mission and organic systems shown in Figure 3. It joined other intelligence assets already deployed including a four-man National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) Customer Support Response Team (CSRT) and three individual augmentees from the Division Analysis and Control Element (ACE) who reinforced the Brigade's Analysis and Control Team (ACT).

Other intelligence units would link up with the DISE at Kandahar. An electronic warfare (EW) section from Canada joined the 3d BCT later that month. It combined with 3d BCT's direct support (DS) military intelligence (MI) company assets to form an EW cell with its sole focus on force protection (FP) for Kandahar Airfield (KAF). A JWICS (Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System) Mobile Intelligence Communications System (JMICS) from XVIII Airborne Corps' 525th MI Brigade arrived on 2 March 2002. The JMICS provided support to the 3d BCT with sensitive compartmented information (SCI) video teleconference (VTC) and other capabilities.

Support to Combat Operations

The DISE fully participated in Operation ANACONDA, the largest ground offensive to date in the Global War on Terrorism. Here the 101st DISE played a significant role in situation development and support to targeting. The DISE also assisted the Brigade S2 in his intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB) effort. Analyzed imagery and communications intelligence (COMINT) were the mainstays of this effort, to include the fused products.

Support to Tenant Units

Engineers, special forces, civil affairs, and theater-level MI battalions all have one thing in common--they require high-quality maps and geospatial products (see Figure 4) to operate efficiently in a foreign land. This is especially true in a location like Afghanistan, where those who deployed early had to rely on Soviet-era maps with differing and sometimes incompatible data. Kandahar was not only the base camp for the Rakkasans, but it was also home to several other U.S. and at least eight foreign military units. The 101st DISE also supported these units with special mission-focused intelligence products that the NIMA CSRT, imagery intelligence (IMINT), and terrain teams provided.

Lessons (Re)Learned

Systems are rifles; data makes bullets. The value-added a DISE provides to the warfighter are its mission-relevant products developed from information not accessible by organic assets. The DISE deployed with a robust suite of systems that provided the 3d BCT Commander with access to theater- and national-level intelligence systems and products. Despite this tremendous capability, without trained soldiers knowledgeable of air assault and light infantry operations and the unit's current mission, that data would remain "information," and not relevant tactical intelligence, that is rounds on target." I also believe the analysts need to accompany the unit and commander in the area of operations (AO) and live under the same conditions as the soldiers they support. Doing so provides them with the same situational awareness and sense of urgency that the other soldiers experience.

Trained Personnel + Systems + Connectivity = Capabilities. Warfighting is about capabilities, and the Intelligence battlefield operating system (BOS) is no different. What is different about the Intelligence BOS is its critical requirement for connectivity to higher echelons, as opposed, for example, to a deployed forces' mobility, countermobility, and survivability capability, which is most likely inherent in its colocated engineer unit(s). Experienced MI soldiers, armed with the hardware, software, and connectivity to reach back to theater and national assets, provide the commander and his staff with the terrain, imagery, and signals intelligence (SIGINT) information needed to make a difference on the objective.

Lanes-in-the-Road. While "competing analysis" is good for strategic intelligence problems where time is available, at the tactical level where time is precious, the Intelligence BOS must focus on what is relevant, with a "deliverable" as the end state. The Brigade Commander, S2, Company Commander, and DISE Chief established these "lanes in the road." Establishing "lanes" is important (see Figures 5 and 6).

Contractors on the Battlefield (COB). Contractor support is an effective force multiplier and can be an invaluable tool for supporting deployed forces. Contractors have always accompanied our military overseas. However, the increase in contingency operations and technology that mandates their use in today's FP Army is unprecedented (see Figure 7). (1)

The DISE in direct support to Task Force Rakkasan had 20 pieces of hardware using 3 or 4 different operating systems (UNIX[R] Solaris 2.6 and 2.51, Windows[R], and Open VMS 7.1-2) and ten software packages. Keeping these systems running was not a task for amateurs, especially when the information the systems provided support decisions with lives hanging in the balance. The DISE deployed with three civilian contractors (officially called Tactical Automation Support Field Software Engineers) who were instrumental in making the DISE a successful venture; while DISE soldiers are trained operators of these systems and software, they have neither the technical training nor experience to troubleshoot major problems. Additionally, they do not possess the skills necessary to resolve connectivity or compatibility problems between the different systems required to function together. Finally, the contractors, many of whom are veterans themselves, provide on-the-spot training to operators, increasing their individual capa bilities and greatly improving intelligence support to the warfighter. Figure 7 shows a list of tasks the contractors performed on this mission.


The Screaming Eagle DISE validated its capabilities during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM by proving its value-added to a maneuver commander during combat and stability and support operations. National-level data combined with mission-focused soldiers produced relevant tactical intelligence that supported targeting and situational awareness. A flexible, adaptable unit, the DISE was ready and able to integrate with elements from other intelligence organizations and thus increase its capabilities by an order of magnitude. Backed up with some critical skill sets from a few contractors, the DISE was able to assist the commander in "seeing the enemy and the battlespace" in a manner that past commanders could scarcely have imagined. The knowledge and experience gained from this operation will help prepare all military intelligence soldiers of the 101st for their next "rendezvous with destiny."
Figure 2

DISE Organization.


Single-Source Terrain IMINT NIMA
Section Team Team CSRT

All-Source Collection Fusion JMCS
Section Manager Team Team

Section Team Team

Note: The National Imagery and Mapping Agency Customer Support Response
Team was already at Kandahar when the DISE arrived. The JWICS Mobile
Integrated Communications System joined the DISE in early March.


COMINT - Communications intelligence
CSRT - Customer Support Response Team
IMINT - Imagery intelligence
JMICS - JWICS Mobile Intelligence Communications System
JWICS - Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System
NCOIC - National Imagery and Mapping Agency
NIMA - National Imagery and Mapping Agency
SIGINT - Signals intelligence

Figure 3

The DISE's Mission and Systems.


The 101st DISE provides direct intelligence support to 3d
BCT, and to tenant and adjacent units at Kandahar Airport.


* Digital Topo Support System (DTSS)
* Quick-Reaction System (NIMA)
* Integrated Intelligence System (I2S)
* All-Source Analysis System (ASAS)
* Remote Workstations (RWSs)
* Eagle-I (ELINT)
* JWICS Mobile Integrated Communications System (JMICS)


ELINT - Electronic intelligence
TROJAN SPIRIT II - TROJAN Special-Purpose Integrated Remote
Intelligence Terminal II
Topo - Topographic

Figure 4

Geospatial Products

* Imagery analysis
* Photomaps
* Gridded reference graphics
* Mosaics
* Perspective views
* 3D anaglyphs
* Operational fly-throughs
* LOS analysis
* Lines-of-communication analysis
* Map enlargement

Figure 5

Responsibilities of the 101st Airborne Division's Intelligence


* Support brigade S2 with all tactical MI tasks (except BDA)
* Link to corps and above assets/sources
* Support tenant units on KAF

Brigade S2

* No change to standard responsibilities

DS MI Company

* Tactical SIGINT support focused on FP
* Counterintelligence support
* JSTARS CGS support
* Supports DISE with standard company functions


BDA - Battle damage assessment
CGS - Common Ground Station
JSTARs - Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar
System (Joint STARS)

Figure 6

Tactical MI Tasks.

* Provide indications and warnings (I&W)
* Perform PB
* Perform situation development
* Perform target development and support to targeting
* Support FP
* Perform battlefield damage assessment

Figure 7

Tactical Contractor Tasks.

* Assist users with Solaris administration of national systems.
* Create high-side web pages on the Single-Source ASAS system
 and low-side web pages on the Remote Workstation (RWS) Block
* Create a query support package (QSP) on the single Source.
 QSP is a program that allows the user to perform queries on
 the single-source databases and plot them to Oilstock.
* Create custom scripts for plotting, with predefined queries,
 to Oilstock.
* Perform network and LAN administration.
* Assist with TROJAN SPIRIT II troubleshooting.
* Perform administration of non-ASAS Windows[R] systems because
 of lack of [C.sup.4]l support.
* Assist in troubleshooting of generator and power problems.
* Provide guidance to Canadian counterparts on the administration
 of their systems, primarily UNIX and Oilstock administration
 and configuration.
* Provide assistance to counterparts and unit personnel within
 the 10th Mountain Division (Light).
* Assist with hardware troubleshooting of the DTSS and RWS Block
 II systems.
* Provide high-side and low-side E-mail capabilities and assist
 users in setting up E-mail client software.
* Fill sandbags as the need arises.

Key: [C.sup.4]I - Command, control, communications, computers, and

LAN - Local area network


(1.) FM 100-21, Contractors on the Battlefield, 26 March 2000, Chapter 1.

Major Drew Moores was the DISE Chief for this mission. He has served in a variety of intelligence positions at all echelons, and is a graduate of the Postgraduate Intelligence Program (PGIP) and the Command and General Staff Course (CGSC). He is currently the Deputy G2, 101st Airborne Division (AA). Readers can reach the author at (270) 798-4802 or via E-mail at
COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Major Moores, Drew
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Oct 1, 2002
Previous Article:Generating one-meter terrain data for tactical simulations.
Next Article:The UAV Exploitation Team, 297th MI Battalion.

Related Articles
Always out front.
101st in Iraq: chasing the terrorists.
Intelligence battlefield operating system lessons learned: stability operations and support operations during operation Iraqi Freedom.
SDDC makes historic equipment moves.
101st Military Police Company supports Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From the editor.
The commando perspective: DISE operations in support of OIF II.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters