Naval Intelligence Training:
Some Thoughts on the Future
by Captain Frank P. Notz, USN (Retired)
During the past decade we have created a modern,
high-technology military with the ability to envision, establish
and convert programs (force multipliers) into battlefield
successes. One of the force multipliers we have worked hard to
achieve is superior training. This commitment to training has been
truly evident in our recent conflicts, including the winning of the
Cold War. Old warriors know, however, that any future endeavors
will demand the same results. The edge we have created in training
is a continuing responsibility, something we must protect from
being hollowed out. While it is possible for "pop-up"
technological surprises to happen, "pop-up" training surprises are
the result of a breakdown in the system. So the challenge in the
future will be to keep providing our people high levels of
competence and confidence (to excel) while simultaneously ensuring
we are getting the highest return on our shrinking investment in
As the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps continue on the present
drawdown road to meet the budgetary realities of the future, the
onus on the training establishment will be to become more effective
and efficient with fewer resources. Training organizations must
continue to provide superior battle-winning training in a more
complex, but less resource-rich, environment. While this will take
some imagination and resource realignments, the exploding world of
communications and information exchange methods will allow this
transition to take place. Here in Dam Neck, Virginia, at the Navy
and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (NMITC), we are
preparing for the information age.
Future Training Support
During the next several years, the training environment will change
at NMITC. We will be taking advantage of several technological
innovations in information management to transition toward
modernized training methods. We will still offer initial
skill-level training at the schoolhouse. Using the new information
technology, NMITC will also provide specialized and advanced
training at the intelligence work center or unit training center,
afloat or ashore. Accordingly, we are laying the groundwork for
NMITC to become an organization comprised of a schoolhouse that
What should the NMITC of the future look like? One can envision an
in-residence facility equipped to teach initial skills, advanced
abilities, and specialized systems training, coupled with high
technology facilities to transmit intelligence training to the
consumers. More specifically, the facility will revolve around the
following three concepts.
- Classroom instruction for basic skill-level training.
- Some specialized training.
- Several television studios to "beam out" intermediate and
advanced training to fleet and joint intelligence organizations.
Basic Skills Training
NMITC will always be a basic skills training center that instills
the methods of our tradecraft into the new Navy and Marine Corps
officer and enlisted intelligence specialists of the future. Basic
skills training will remain a Service requirement. This center will
get them started in the intelligence business and ensure they
absorb the Navy and Marine Corps intelligence "culture" support to
the operating forces. The NMITC will always have a requirement to
teach Navy and Marine Corps operations intelligence to ensure we
are supporting the vision of "From the Sea" strategy and the
maritime expeditionary environment.
The biggest changes for basic skills training will be--
Because of the unique demands of the maritime environment, we will
continue to instruct our Service intelligence officers and enlisted
personnel in basic skills to meet the basic requirements of the
fleet and fleet marine forces.
- Keeping up with the changing operational environment.
- Inculcating an awareness of joint intelligence precepts.
- Providing more systems training as the Services continue
to transition to advanced technology systems for handling and
manipulating intelligence data.
Specialized System Training
The NMITC facility will also include several advanced technology
systems labs. They will teach officers and "C" school students the
use of specialized intelligence data-handling systems. This
training will be system-specific to support the technological
weapons of the future.
Editor's Note: "C" schools are similar to follow-on
courses like the Electronic Warfare Operators Course at Fort
Intermediate and Advanced Skills Training
The real revolution will come in how we conduct intermediate level
and advanced skill training. This revolution will occur by
employing the intelligence video tele-training (VTT) capabilities
we hope to establish. The VTT facilities will develop and transmit
intelligence courses to the fleets and joint arena via the Joint
Worldwide Intelligence Communications System or Defense Message
System communications VTT systems. At NMITC, we are just entering
the world of tele-training.
Editor's Note: "The Information Age and the Coming
Training Revolution" by Brigadier General Charles W. Thomas in the
July-September 1995 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional
Bulletin discusses the Intelligence Center's "distance learning"
and "school without walls" concepts.
Conceptually, this kind of interactive training lends itself well
to the many non-technical training courses we presently offer.
Eventually, we will be able to sit in a studio and instruct
students on certain aspects of functional intelligence or instruct
them on a system, whether it be the Navy Tactical Command
System-Afloat, Tactical Aircraft Mission Planning System, the
EMERALD counternarcotics database, or the Joint Deployable
Intelligence Support System.
We are looking at supporting this effort with an interactive gaming
and training facility. That will allow certain facilities here at
NMITC and at other training commands or facilities, units or
elements to hook-up to live training practical exercises. The age
of interactive video will eventually allow us to interact with
intelligence schoolhouses of the other Services. We could take
advantage of their expertise in teaching their basic intelligence
(joint to us) principles to our personnel. We will also have a
supporting interactive library research system. We can use the
system to train future intelligence professionals about all the
data resources available to them, not just the classified ones.
Joint Operations Training
Another aspect of the future training environment will be the
continuing incorporation of joint intelligence training into our
training routine at the NMITC. Our people will have to be smart
about the operational environment and requirements of the Navy and
Marine Corps. They will also need to have a basic understanding of
the warfare requirements of the other Services and how these come
together in the joint environment. We must instruct our people in
the concepts of how "jointness" comes into play and the systems the
other Services are using to manage and manipulate data. Someday,
these systems might have enough commonality to enable training on
common hardware and software applications. Meanwhile, we are
entering this joint field by establishing specific joint training
courses for operational intelligence systems, and joint task force
intelligence management. The current NMITC mid- career course is
also moving toward the joint environment. We continue to call on
the national and joint leadership to lecture at this course and are
slowly expanding the participation of the other Services.
Reserve Unit Training
One can readily see the applications the above training will have
on our intelligence forces. We envision being able to tele-train
entire reserve units from a common studio at the NMITC. Besides
saving training resources, this will allow us to keep the reserve
intelligence force current on many operational and training issues.
This is particularly important for joint items which the reserves
are routinely taking on in support of the active Services.
Where will all this take us down the long road? We plan to
eventually have a training system where the customer could tune in
to training sessions taught in a schoolhouse and transmitted via a
VTT signal. Intelligence center managers could assess their
organizational strengths and weaknesses. Using that assessment,
they could, for the first time, be able to develop a time-shared
training plan to reinforce or correct any deficiencies. We could
use some of this same technology to teach our in-residence basic
In summary, these are exciting times in the training world. We
need to integrate conventional training wisdom and practices, still
the solid foundation for professionalism, with some of the new and
exciting training techniques. At the NMITC, I think we have devised
a pathway into the future that incorporates these advances while
ensuring we remain committed to our basic training requirements for
future Navy and Marine Corps intelligence professionals.
Prior to his retirement in August 1995, Captain Notz
served three years as Commander, NMITC. He is a 1995 recipient of
the National Military Intelligence Association Rufus L. Taylor
Award for Naval Intelligence Professional Excellence. Captain Notz
graduated from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. He has
held numerous staff and command positions in intelligence elements
ashore and afloat, including Deputy Director for Intelligence at
U.S. European Command.