Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Tailoring the MI Basic Load
by Captain Jeremy M. Dick
The U.S. Forces Haiti (USFH) Joint Intelligence
Center (JIC) supports the commander by providing indications and
warnings, monitoring and reporting threat capabilities and
intentions, and producing intelligence. There is a variety of
equipment both table of distribution and allowances (TDA) and
non-TDA that the JIC uses to accomplish these missions. This
article focuses on some of the non-TDA equipment that can
significantly enhance collection, production, and
dissemination of intelligence in operational environments
similar to those in Haiti.
In a war, intelligence operations follow basic doctrine. The
equipment used is, for the most part, standard. For operations in
areas such as Haiti and Somalia, there is some basic off-the-shelf
equipment that can aid in collecting and processing intelligence.
Because 80 percent of usable intelligence in these environments is
derived from open sources, most of the equipment is geared toward
Television and Radio
In Haiti, people are key terrain. The JIC uses a television set for
watching Cable News Network (CNN), local Haitian news, and special
events. Because Haitians tend to be opinionated, television is
extremely useful for getting the general public's interest,
attitudes and feelings about our military presence and operations
in Haiti. Television also lets Haitians give their perceptions of
the status of their economic and social situation. By using a video
cassette recorder and player, the JIC can record items such as news
events and speeches for playback, translation, and
Monitoring daily radio broadcasts is also important because many
news items are not covered daily on television stations. Also, the
radio is the medium of choice in Haiti for influencing public
opinion. It is "near-real time" and enables the JIC to get another
The JIC uses an off-the-shelf Bearcat scanner to monitor U.S.
and United Nations (U.N.) and police communications, and to
cross-queue patrols. This gives the J2 access to a wider range of
information sources. It can also help to confirm or deny initial
A computer video-capture card allows the JIC to print quality
pictures from videotape for planning purposes. For example, the JIC
can convert a television clip to a picture for use in a biographic
A camera's utility cannot be overstated. The majority of imagery in
Haiti is pre-invasion (such as significant military facilities like
airfields, command and control facilities, and power stations).
Although the imagery is useful, it is classified secret and not
authorized for foreign dissemination in many cases because of the
source. It therefore cannot be distributed to our U.N.
Several handheld cameras are essential. Hand receipting a camera to
force protection (counterintelligence and human
intelligence teams, Special Operations Task Force
teams, or helicopter passengers, can provide much needed
information. Soldiers not experienced in using 35-mm cameras should
use fully automatic cameras. This helps the novice photographer
take fewer over- or under-exposed pictures from poor lighting.
One of the most important cameras the J2 should have is a 35-mm
digital camera with a telephoto lens of at least 70 mm x 200 mm. A
digital camera is preferable over a regular camera because the
operator can quickly download its electronic images to a computer
for immediate use.
For standard photography, a photolab on site to develop
film ensures quick turnaround times. Where no military photographic
support exists, the use of color film will simplify getting quick
prints when necessary. It is easier and quicker to get color film
developed on the Haitian economy than black-and-white. Also,
most scanners can easily convert to gray scale with
little loss in resolution.
Video cameras are extremely useful for terrain walk familiarization
when it is not feasible to visit an area. For example, the
Bangladeshi contingent used a video camera for planning during a
U.N. operation. Additionally, in many cases, the presence of a
video camera deters crowds from conducting hostile acts. Haitian
crowds have refrained from violence for fear of being identified
and possible retaliation.
Software and Modems
Microsoft Access is a relational database software program that
enables the JIC to keep track of intelligence reports. The software
is extremely useful for several reasons.It is off-the-shelf
technology; is economical, user-friendly, almost
universally known; and can be placed on a local area network
system for everyone's use.
Force protection teams use software extensively. Operators and
analysts can make keyword searches on all spot reports back
to September 1991 (the earliest reportsgenerated from
the U.S. intervention.) They can instantly retrieve
personality profiles and biographies.
A future JIC project is to catalog spot reports into various
categories, such as assassinations, murders, demonstrations,
locations, etc. The commander may ask "which incidents have
occurred at location x, y, z within the last two years" or "give me
everything you have on political assassinations."
A computer modem with access to the Internet is a necessity. We can
download satellite weather images, stateside forecasts, and storm
warnings on a daily basis to provide current forecasts. Updates
from the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service
are directly available on the Internet for instantaneous updates.
Information on Haiti's history, geography, culture, political
leaders, holidays, and so forth, is also readily available. The
Federal Broadcast Information Service, Reuters, Haitian local
papers, CNN, even access to the Library of Congress and Defense
Information Technological Service (for example, War College Papers)
are all accessible through the Internet.
Scanners and Printers
Using a high quality scanner, the JIC scanned photographs taken by
handheld cameras from helicopters into a Joint Deployable
Intelligence Support System (JDISS). Using JDISS, the JIC was able
to manipulate shading, add annotations, and transmit the images to
subordinate units. In some cases, we used a scanner and a
high-resolution printer to produce quality images for planning
purposes. This enables multiple reproduction with minimal loss of
Laser printers (resolutions of 600 x 600 dots per inch
preferred) proved invaluable for producing quality, legible images
for planning purposes. A color laser printer for printing JDISS
images would also be useful.
To significantly enhance a JIC's capabilities, bring a television
set, videocassette recorders, radio, Bearcat scanner, cameras
(digital and single lens reflex, photolab equipment, color film),
scanner, video camera, computer video capture card, laser printers,
relational database software program, and access to the Internet.
These items are available as off-the-shelf technology and require
minimal training to operate. By being innovative, the JIC in Haiti
is able to increase its capabilities and continues to be "Always
Captain Dick is the S3 Operations Officer, 525th MI
Brigade (Corps) (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He
served as the J2 Operations Officer, Joint Task Force Haiti, from
September to November 1995. Readers can reach him at (910)
396-6574, DSN 236-6574, or E-mail [email protected]