Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
by Command Sergeant Major Randolph S. Hollingsworth
After visiting the many commands and talking with
lots of soldiers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and their
leaders, I have seen the tremendous capabilities and initiative
inherent in our military intelligence (MI) NCOs. At the same time,
I have noticed that the challenges our soldiers face are increasing
in frequency and complexity. This is complemented by organizational
and technological changes that bring into focus the need
for raising their levels of technical knowledge and skills.
NCOs need these increased levels of knowledge and skills to
integrate a new generation of sophisticated systems and doctrine
into the Intelligence Battlefield Operating System. Our
jobs as NCOs is to make the systems work!
To meet these challenges successfully, the NCO has a major role to
play. First, for NCOs to be effective, they must be technically and
tactically competent. Second, they must be leaders and trainers at
all times. With this in mind, I want to emphasize the importance of
NCOs in making the steady transition to the new systems and
Technical and tactical competence is the bread and butter of all
NCOs. You cannot effectively lead or train if you do not Be, Know,
Do. In particular, I challenge all MI NCOs to focus on their
proficiency in the major system that they operate or supervise,
whether a collection device, interrogation team, motor vehicle, or
the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS). Plan to integrate the
systems into your routine and make it happen. The price of this
integration will be a great deal of effort and naturally a few
mistakes. Make the mistakes and learn from them now, rather than on
some future battlefield where the price is blood. The direct
benefit derived now will be the discovery of new capabilities and
limitations in ourselves, our soldiers, and our systems.
One concern I have is for the soldiers who operate our powerful
information systems. I know that in order to maintain a unit as
fully mission capable, it will require solid and strong leadership
from the command sergeants major, first sergeants, and senior NCOs.
Effectively employing the ASAS, for example, will require a true
positive commitment, leadership, and a can do attitude to make it
work. This new system is a real challenge because the skills and
knowledge that enable us to succeed require a high degree of
familiarity and experience with it. I have seen some outstanding
leaders emerge as a result of their dedication and professionalism
to obtain this familiarity. The point is that once these systems
are given to us, our mission is to make them work! Just emphasize
what you can do, not on how hard it is or what it cannot do.
All NCOs at each level need to ask themselves some basic questions
about their focus. Do they have the right amount of realistic
hands-on training? Do they understand the necessary context and
doctrine? Have they planned for cross-training, practiced
interoperability, and performed crew drills? These are the
fundamental elements of any plan to develop and maintain a team's
proficiency. This proficiency is the cornerstone of technically and
tactically competent NCOs.
The officer will concentrate on the planning and resourcing of a
mission; the NCO will direct the team and soldiers in the tasks.
The soldier will concentrate on operating the tools of the trade.
This means that the NCO's primary duty is to integrate, take on
board, and focus the new tools of the trade. This is the concept on
which our Army has been based a focus on getting the mission
There are many techniques and procedures for leading and training.
Each option has its pluses and minuses. But the bottom line is,
Build your team, train your team, and care for your team. It is
the best guidance we can give our professional NCO for today and
I would like to acknowledge Master Sergeant Michael F.
Fallon for assisting me in writing this column. Thank you for a job
ALWAYS OUT FRONT!