Force XXI

MI Officer Professional Development

by Major Timothy P. Kiely and Captain Duane A. Dannewitz

Military Intelligence (MI) is in the midst of a technological and organizational revolution that will lead the Army into Force XXI. However, as intelligence systems progress and existing organizations evolve, we must ask if the MI officer is in a professional development cycle that is standing still. If this is true, will MI be able to send highly skilled officers to support commands from maneuver battalions all the way up through national agency levels? Will these officers be intelligence experts or jacks of all intelligence trades"? The MI revolution must balance changes in traditional professional development models with the seemingly boundless potential of MI's new technology. Just as the organizations of today must change to adapt to new systems, we must reevaluate and modify MI officer professional development to meet the intelligence needs of the 21st century warfighters.

MI Revolution

As we enter the information age, the MI Corps and the way that it does business will change. The Corps, which is already more technically advanced than most Army branches, is widening the automation gap on the battlefield as it continues to field new intelligence systems. The Corps is meeting, and in some cases exceeding, its own expectations in demonstrating the incredible power and potential these systems have. Many senior Army combat arms officers support the use of new MI systems immediately in the force. They expect to be the recipients of the timely, high-quality intelligence products that these systems have the potential to produce.
The Army is currently fielding systems such as the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), Commander's Tactical Terminal (CTT), Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS), and TROJAN Special Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal (SPIRIT). These systems provide multiple windows into Army, joint, and national databases, and an improved means through which to pass vital information. The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and an improved family of intelligence and electronic warfare common sensors can more clearly depict the battlefield situation than ever before.
New systems require new organizations, doctrine, and training methodologies. The MI Corps is keeping pace with the fielding of the new technologies and systems. We are accomplishing this by effecting changes in force structure and developing new organizations (direct and general support companies in the MI battalion, the analysis control element, and the Regional Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Operations Centers). Revision of the 34-series field manual and better ways to train the force while staying cost-effective are some of the challenges the MI Corps has been working to meet.

Professional Develop- ment The Weak Link

To complement all of these terrific changes to the MI Corps, we must also change the way we approach the professional development of our officers. MI officers must know and do so many things, we run the risk of becoming Jacks of all MI skills, and masters of none. An MI officer whose career is a variety or smorgasbord of assignments, may perform well in the right jobs and get promoted. However, that same officer runs the risk of developing into a "generalist" that cannot be the subject matter expert at any level because concentrated experience is not available from which to draw. While this was not necessarily true in the past, the ever-increasing technical complexity of our branch will ensure this in the future.
This risk becomes more evident as the Army moves toward the technical arena proposed for Force XXI. MI officers serve in perhaps the most diverse branch in the Army, with six areas of concentration, and have the overarching responsibility to be an expert all-source intelligence officer. MI officers serve at echelons above corps (EAC) and echelons corps and below (ECB) in pure Army and joint assignments. In Force XXI, technical competence coupled with the ability to conceptualize and build intelligence support architectures will be more important than ever.
Today, few MI officers have identical career patterns. In many cases, this is unavoidable, but it creates a weak link in guiding MI officers toward mastery of all-source and specialized intelligence skills that serve to make them more effective. The variety of locations, commands, and echelons where MI officers are key staff members is increasing, even in a time of cutbacks and closures. If MI is to adequately serve and support across the vast spectrum of assignments, the Corps must closely manage officers' careers and their professional development in order to assure their success.

A Short-Term Solution

Department of the Army (DA) Pamphlet 600-3, Commissioned Officer Development and Career Management, contains a comprehensive guide to MI branch qualifications for MI officers. (For more detail on this guidance, see the "Proponent Notes" in the January-March 1996 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin.)
For junior officers, the procedure is straightforward. Following these criteria rounds out their careers so they are ready to serve in nominative assignments, pursue special schooling, or serve in their functional areas. Officers who meet the criteria and demonstrate solid performance will have an excellent chance of selection for promotion through company grades and to major. Selection boards often perceive officers who do not pursue the assignments necessary to meet these criteria (even with outstanding performance files) as being unqualified or less qualified for promotions.
Establishing the branch qualification for field-grade level officers is much more difficult. Currently, Joint, Department of Defense (DOD), and table of distribution and allowances (TDA) assignments take up more than two-thirds of all of the assignments requirements for MI majors. Joint assignments are 36 months long. This makes it difficult for MI majors to complete positions that will make them more competitive for promotion, command and schooling, S3, deputy G2 or G2.
The MI proponent has proposed an initiative that would include MI in the joint critical operational specialties. This inclusion would make most joint and DOD MI positions 24-month tours, allowing majors to have at least 12 months in troop assignments prior to or after serving in a joint or DOD billet. Overall, this change will get MI majors back to troop units and allow better MI support to corps-, division-, and brigade-level units while allowing MI majors to serve in key professional development positions.

21st Century Solutions

The MI Corps realized the necessity for change at the end of the Cold War and moved quickly to adjust its mission focus to fit what has become the hallmark concept called Force XXI. This process has caused the MI Corps to revalidate and restructure officer positions in both table of organization and equipment (TOE) and TDA units. If the MI Corps will continue serving ECB and EAC echelons, from maneuver battalion S2 positions through the National Security Agency Director, then MI must enhance our professional development opportunities and make career management more restrictive.
Currently, the Army assigns the majority of new MI Officer Basic and Advanced Course graduates to troop units. As most MI officers approach the seven- to eight-year mark in their careers, they have spent three to six years in troop assignments developing a sound Army base. Most have already commanded and are considered MI branch qualified. At this point of MI officers' careers, they must choose from several career paths. MI has six areas of concentration serving at various echelons. We propose three "career tracks" to allow officers to specialize in one area, while remaining familiar with all aspects of the inteligence battlefield operating system (IBOS).
Tactical MI Career Track. Most officers, in conjunction with Army or personal choice, will remain in main stream assignments. The Army will offer some functional area (FA) designations and they will then serve in one or more assignments in their FAs. The majority of MI officers will work in ECB units, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) assignments, and joint and DOD assignments, on the DA staff, and in other nominative assignments. This group forms the pool of future division, corps and Army G2s, and ECB MI battalion and brigade commanders.
Strategic MI Career Track. During the same period of their careers, other officers can make choices to attend specialty schooling that will train them to serve predominately at EAC. Some officers in this track will earn assignment to the Post Graduate Intelligence Program (PGIP), the National Systems Development Program (NSDP), and the Junior Officer Career Cryptologic Program (JOCCP). These officers will serve in utilization assignments and at EAC, TRADOC, and in joint, DOD and Army staff positions. This group will produce our future leadership for Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) battalion and brigade commanders, Regional SIGINT Operations Center (RSOC) commanders, TRADOC system managers, and senior EAC intelligence staff officers. Because of their specialty training, these officers will not serve in functional areas or nominative assignments, and most likely will not return to ECB units.
Technical MI Career Track. Finally, some MI officers will compete for selection to attend advanced civilian schooling (ACS). These officers will acquire their ACS degree through a variety of means, either at accepted public institutions or at such military colleges as the Naval Post Graduate School. Officers in the ACS program will receive primarily hard science degrees to fill MI requirements at EAC, joint and DOD levels, the DA staff, and TRADOC. This group would produce MI EAC battalion and brigade commanders, TRADOC systems managers, combat developers, EAC intelligence staff officers, instructors at the U.S. Military Academy, and the scientists who will develop and field new MI systems leading us into the information age. Because of their specialization, these officers will not return to ECB units. MI must continue to stress the need to send its officers for advanced technical degrees that will continue to benefit the Corps long after their initial utilization tours.
The MI Corps must get the most bang for the buck out of our specialty trained officers (strategic and technical tracks) through repetitive assignments in their specialty areas. We groom the majority of this group of officers to operate predominately in the EAC, joint, and DOD arena. Our goal is to develop officers who can better compete for these assignments with sister-Service intelligence officers (who have no requirement to serve in ECB-type units), and thereby become more experienced and adept at EAC operations. At the same time, it is important for us to develop a cadre of officers focused on ECB that will support the combat arms commander.

The Future for the MI Corps

Today's MI Corps is serving effectively at all echelons. Increasing joint, DOD, and nominative requirements; poor field-grade selection rates; voluntary exit programs; early retirement programs; and increased new-system fielding all continue to stress the system. MI will continue to fill all of our joint, DOD, and nominative positions and we continue to send fully qualified officers to ACS and specialty programs such as PGIP and JOCCP. However, the stress on the system is beginning to show. The increased operations tempo and need to do more with less is taking its toll. The MI Corps must refocus the current officer career management and professional development system to get the best return on our training investment.
Even with minor changes to the system, the MI Corps still needs to take a hard look at its requirements. In these days of drawing down the Army, it is difficult for many senior officers in other branches to understand how the ninth largest Army competitive category branch can be the second largest officer branch (behind infantry). This perception is intensified when fewer than 50 percent of the manuever brigade S2s are majors, and captains fill many of the major grade-level positions on division and corps staffs.

Conclusion

The Army drawdown originally scheduled to end in 1995 has been officially extended to 1997. The current target of ten divisions and four corps may become even smaller if the Army incrementally extends the drawdown to 1999 or beyond. In Force XXI, the force model may change even more with the development of the Mobile Strike Force. MI must evaluate all future change possibilities and be ready to refine our requirements to match the evolving Army. Until then, the professional development life-cycle model MI currently uses will remain in effect.
The future is uncertain but some type of change is inevitable to both the Army and MI. Our branch needs an aggressive, logical, proactive approach to the realignment of officer professional development. MI is staking much of its reputation on Force XXI and the supporting Intel XXI. If MI officers are not absolute masters of the intelligence battlefield operating system at their level of assignment, they cannot make significant and unique contributions to their units. Focusing the career paths and choices that MI officers make will be more important than ever. The MI proponent is researching and analyzing all aspects of a successful MI officer's career so that officers can apply these principles to their own paths in the MI Corps.
Many combat arms officers want new MI systems such as the UAV included in their TOEs so that they can direct the system to conduct sensor to shooter operations. In an ever-shrinking Army, branches attempting to save billets will look for bill payers from other branches. Because the new MI systems are very good, many have begun to think that perhaps the systems doing the work and satisfying intelligence requirements do not require MI officers. We in the MI Corps know that nothing could be further from the truth. However, if we send Jacks of all trades to support commanders instead of intelligence experts who make unique contributions to their organizations, we run the risk of making MI officers expendable at various levels of command. We must develop competent, focused MI officers who, in Force XXI, will take the MI mission to new levels of excellence and will sustain the vital contributions MI already makes to the force.
Major "Tim" Kiely is currently attending the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in History from The Citadel in South Carolina and a master of arts degree in Public Administration from Troy State University.
Captain "Dewey" Dannewitz is currently in Headquarters Company, 306th MI Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions in MI, PATRIOT, and signal units. Captain Dannewitz has a bachelor of science degree in Biological Sciences from Mankato State University. Readers can reach him at (520) 533-1180, DSN 821-1180, or via E-mail [email protected]