Training the reserve component HUMINT force.
One of the greatest challenges facing reserve component MI professionals today is training development. As leaders, how can we provide relevant, engaging, and challenging training to Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Soldiers? One National Guard unit developed and executed an innovative training plan in Fiscal Year 2015 that may help to solve this problem for other units.
The Illinois Army National Guard incorporated four training exercises linked by a common notional operation based on current events in the real world into their 2015 training calendar. Soldiers received training in Military Source Operations, screening, report writing, key leader engagement, interrogation, and debriefing techniques. This article highlights some of the lessons learned throughout the year as these training events were conducted.
Key Aspects of Successful Training
Due to the extremely limited amount of available training time during Inactive Duty Training (IDT) drill weekends, it is imperative to minimize exercise setup, lead-in, and other duplication of effort. By developing a notional road to war used across all training events throughout the fiscal year, C Company, 341st MI Battalion (BN) was able to make the most of Soldiers' time during IDT weekends. This strategy also helps to simplify the operation from the Soldiers' perspective-they aren't forced to re-familiarize themselves with the area of operations, key personalities, and other mission information each month. Rather, they can focus on the tasks being trained for maximum training value.
One of the most important lessons has been the incredible value added by including other units, agencies, and specialties to the training plan and exercise iterations. Tapping into the experience that resides in other agencies and specialties was highly beneficial to the Soldiers who were able to contrast and learn from diverse experiences and approaches. A great aspect of the reserve component is that many Soldiers have full time employment in fields that are beneficial to the unit mission, and can share that knowledge in appropriate venues. The ILARNG was able to tap into Soldiers' experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, undercover police work, and other national agencies. Additionally, coordination with the Defense Intelligence Agency and Special Forces provided subject matter expertise for certain blocks of instruction. These training events were not only highly beneficial to the Soldiers, but also exciting and effective since it approached the material from a different perspective.
Beyond using outside resources to enhance training, other units should be incorporated into the training event as well. This improves the realism of each exercise iteration and has been a consistent positive after action review (AAR) comment from Soldiers of every participating unit. For example, the March 2015 MSO exercise included ILARNG Soldiers from C Co, 341st MI BN; D Co, 766th BEB; HHC, 232nd CSSB, and HHC, 1-178 IN. Troops from outside the ILARNG came from D Co, 173rd BEB (WI ARNG); D Co,776th BEB (IN ARNG); G2X, HHB, 35th ID (MO ARNG), and HHC, 378th MI BN (USAR). Working with unfamiliar faces greatly improves role player interaction with collectors and better replicates real world operations where Soldiers will not know everyone they will be working with.
Bringing different units together at the same location can be a challenge in the reserve component as usually there will not be more than one or two units stationed together for many miles, let alone MI assets. Funding travel, food, and lodging can be quite a challenge but is worth the work. Regional training is far more cost effective than sending large numbers of troops beyond driving distance and increases the number of times different units can get together to train. Oftentimes Soldiers will happily pack into a small GSA vehicle for a long drive, eat MREs, and sleep on a cot on the drill floor for a good training opportunity. Present Soldiers with the opportunity and most will gladly go for it.
HUMINT training during FY 2015 was also enhanced by varying the training environment, adding realism and maintaining Soldiers' interest. MI Soldiers took advantage of widely varying environments available within Illinois, from highly populated urban areas in the Chicago region to the tactical training area at Marseilles Training Center. This strategy best prepared Soldiers to deploy in support of contingency operations worldwide.
The final--and, arguably most important--takeaway from C Co's training year was the importance of aggressively seeking opportunities in each month's training schedule to integrate HUMINT training. "White space" exists in every training schedule. The key to successfully executing a training plan such as this is the ability to positively identify such periods and have a plan at the ready to capitalize on them.
For example, C Co leadership was able to accurately predict large amounts of downtime during the unit's annual Periodic Health Assessment. While enduring the inevitable pauses that accompany large scale administrative events, role players were scripted so that collectors could practice debriefing skills to set the stage for the yearlong scenario. Other areas that proved successful were incorporating SHARP principles and scenarios into role player scripts. These topics are generally uncomfortable and difficult to navigate, thereby adding further complexity and challenge to encounters with sources while reinforcing an Army priority. When possible, these exchanges were conducted in Soldiers' target languages. Warrior tasks and battle drills were incorporated into field interrogation training to similarly combine and train multiple skills during the same exercise iteration. Collectors would not simply occupy an interrogation facility and begin running approaches, that doesn't maximize a training opportunity. Rather, Soldiers would have to gain intelligence from a source or detainee, use that to determine their next objective, tactically move to that location mounted or by foot (while reacting to any threat along the route), and locate their next subject for further action.
Designing the Training
For the National Guard these activities and plans must be created at least 12-18 months in advance to stay in line with Battalion and Brigade training planning timelines. It also means that most of the exercise design and development work needs to be completed by Soldiers in the participating units since in most states there is no higher MI headquarters element to do it for them. Beginning in 2014, the ILARNG assigned MI Soldiers to an Exercise Coordination Team to meet this demanding challenge.
The Exercise Coordination Team committed hundreds of man hours and personal time developing the necessary products for these exercise training events. The Soldiers were handpicked for their experience performing HUMINT operations overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for their high work ethic and motivation. These Soldiers created an overall training scenario based on potential real-world contingency operations and on likely scenarios where Illinois Soldiers and units could be involved. The team then prepared support materials including Road to War briefs, monthly INTSUMs, background social media products, print and video media, voice recordings in target languages, cell phone data for notional CELLEX, data injects, notional friendly orders, and more than 50 character scripts for use across the training scenario. Soldiers rotated through the team after every other exercise iteration to spread the burden and the knowledge required for future training.
These Soldiers played a critical role not only in coordination, but in the execution of each exercise iteration. The Soldiers involved served as members of the "White Cell" Higher Headquarters, delivering injects to the various HUMINT teams and the S2 fusion cell throughout each training event. They coordinated role players for use in the training, including participants serving as refugees, foreign military officers, civilian sources, members of foreign governments, and enemy conventional forces and insurgents. They then ensured the role players tasked with the scripts understood the training goals and methods in order to deliver the most benefit to HUMINT Soldiers involved in the exercise. They also ensured that AARs were conducted and recorded for the improvement of future exercises, and that Soldiers received follow up information prior to each drill period for the continuity of the exercise. Team members also served as notional Higher Headquarters staff, receiving briefs from HUMINT teams and S2 fusion cells.
Illinois' ambitious training plans would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of this team of Soldiers. For their hard work, dedication, and excellent results, the ILARNG submitted the Exercise Coordination Team for DIA's 2014 HUMINT Training and Education Award.
As leaders, we owe it to our Military Intelligence Soldiers to provide challenging, engaging, and relevant training. An outstanding training plan yields Soldiers ready to support the missions of their state and federal commands, anywhere on earth. Additionally, a challenging and well-executed training plan aids in unit retention. Since embracing these ambitious training plans, retention rates for MI Soldiers in both Illinois and Wisconsin have increased drastically. Soldiers desire and expect to be challenged, and it is our responsibility to ensure that expectation is met.
By taking the time to develop a coherent and relevant training plan that is portable across IDT weekends and then carefully inspecting our training schedules for opportunities to inject MOS training, coordinating with partner agencies and neighboring forces, and continuously seeking ways to improve upon our training, we can maintain a professional, highly-trained, and competent force of HUMINT professionals ready to support the Army's mission.
by First Lieutenant Joseph Hardin, First Lieutenant David Wachtveitl, and Major Brian McGarry
1LT Hardin is currently a Platoon Leader for C Co 341st MI BN. His past assignments include Tactical Intelligence Officer, C Co, 341st MI BN and IT Specialist (25B). His military education includes the MI Officers Basic Course, Information Technology Specialist AIT, CEH, and Network+. 1LT Hardin deployed to Iraq in 2005, 2006, and 2008.
1LT Wachtveitl is currently the S2 for the 33rd MP BN. His past assignments include Platoon Leader, C Co, 341st MI BN and Tactical Intelligence Officer, C Co, 341st MI BN. He has completed the MI Officers Basic Course.
MAJ Brian McGarry is currently the ILARNG G2. His past assignments include Reserve Forces Office Training Officer, U.S. Intelligence Center of Excellence; MI Readiness Assistance Team Chief, ARNG-G2; Current Intelligence Analyst, NGB-J2, and Watch Team Chief. His military education includes ILE; the Signals Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Officers Course; Army Cyberspace Operations Planners Course; Defense Support to Civil Authorities Course; the MI Captains Career Course, and the Armor Officer Basic Course. He holds an MS from the National Intelligence University in Strategic Intelligence. MAJ McGarry was deployed to Iraq in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.
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|Author:||Hardin, Joseph; Wachtveitl, David; McGarry, Brian|
|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2015|
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|Next Article:||Living the ARNG culture of "no cold starts".|