Deploying the G2's Piece of the Assault Command Post
by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen P. Perkins
The nature of the United States' interests around the world, and its coalition-based strategy, will require that US forces be globally deployable, often with little or no warning, from the United States or from forward bases....the Army must have forces prepared to execute either option.---White Paper, A Strategic Force for the 1990s and Beyond
The Army's ability to project combat power rapidly around the world has been exercised more and more during the last decade. In October 1994, Saddam Hussein moved elements of his Republican Guard into Southern Iraq to threaten once again the security of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As elements of the Kuwaiti Army positioned themselves along the frontier, III (US) Corps readied its contingency force, the 1st Cavalry Division, for rapid deployment via strategic airlift as a response to Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR, the American response. Although a task force from the division was already preparing for a combined exercise (Intrinsic Action) to be held in December, the corps was performing only minimal battle tracking on the region.
As part of the Corps Assault Command Post (ACP), the G2 operations section was the proponent for intelligence support to the commanding general and the Corps G3. The operations battalion from the MI brigade augmented the Corps G2. Although the G2 had a standard intelligence package for the ACP in place prior to VIGILANT WARRIOR, the personnel in this configuration had never been trained as a group or practiced deployment. However, the G2 ACP section did have some experience in functioning as a corps tactical command post (TAC). The TAC is a more robust organization with sufficient representation from the battlefield operating systems (BOSs) to ensure 24-hour operations and expertise.
A close examination by the Corps G2 of the "standard" intelligence package for the ACP resulted in a total reorganization of the intelligence team. The Corps ACP was significantly restricted in size due to a requirement to transport it via only six C-141 aircraft (or the equivalent airframe). As the command and control puzzle (Figure 1) came together, it became apparent that a new system would be needed within the Intelligence BOS. As we looked at matching skills to requirements within the "team," it also became apparent that we would need to reevaluate the equipment that we would take and the configuration of the team. In short, we were looking to get the most "bang for the buck." Although we felt it was important to deploy whole teams that had trained together, we knew that we needed personnel with "value-added" potential. There was no room for nice-to-have items or personnel.
Figure 1. Corps Assault Command Post Puzzle.
The global nature of America's interests, coupled with a force projection doctrine, requires the development of a system of deployable options. For the Intelligence BOS, this means developing and maintaining a number of special teams, including counterintelligence (CI), interrogators of prisoners of war (IPW), linguists, long-range surveillance (LRS), and liaisons. To prepare for future readiness, we must examine how we evaluated our deployability, how intelligence teams must be developed, and how the senior intelligence officer (SIO) can piece together the intelligence puzzle for success within the overall ACP puzzle (see Figure 2). I have divided the puzzle into four parts: battle tracking, echelon connectivity, processing and analysis, and human intelligence and liaison. However, my intention is to focus attention on the flexibility of force tailoring and to highlight the types of human intelligence (HUMINT) teams available to the SIO.
Figure 2. Corps ACP DISE Puzzle.
The ACP is a command post capable of tracking the battle to help the commander and his staff make battle command decisions with adequate situational awareness. On the whole, the ACP is still a low-technology operation. Although the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) and the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS)------including the Maneuver Control System, the Combat Service Support Control System, and the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS)---increasingly automate the ACP, you will still find mapboards with "paste-on" graphics. Forward elements send and receive spot reports on current operations and intelligence. The ACP Deployable Intelligence Support Element (DISE) has operations officers and noncommissioned officers who provide situational awareness and adjust intelligence assets and priorities as directed by the Corps G2.
Intelligence doctrine states, "Connectivity for intelligence between echelons must be planned and maintained continuously to ensure the commander receives timely information and interfaces daily."1 While the corps is always focused on its contingency areas, it must also maintain connectivity with its counterparts at echelons above corps (EAC), theater, and echelons corps and below (ECB). To do this, the ACP DISE uses two systems--the TROJAN Special Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal (SPIRIT) and the Forward Area Support Terminal (FAST), a Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Program system. Their applicable gateways and protocols are exchanged and practiced.
Intelligence connectivity is the responsibility of the corps collection manager, who ensures that the architecture includes EAC, theater, and ECB units. The Corps Military Intelligence Support Element (CMISE) is attached to the corps to serve as the link to EAC units. The CMISE is a reinforcing piece of the overall structure. In III Corps, the CMISE works next to the Analysis and Control Element (ACE) and can supplement the DISE's shortfalls. The CMISE also maintains the Sanctuary Command Post (SCP) and provides reinforcement to the deploying ACP. The SCP can also work the issues the ACP DISE is not able to support. For Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR, the ACP DISE would have deployed with a significant number of CMISE soldiers and leaders. Why? They had the experience with Iraqi databases and with intelligence automated systems.
Processing and Analysis
III Corps learned early that the key to rapid battle command decisions lies in the G2's ability to process information quickly and to analyze that data for the commander and his staff. The best system for this task, and the one preferred by III Corps, is the ASAS-All Source (ASAS-AS) workstation. Its strength lies in its automation functions--those that the system performs without human intervention (once the analyst sets the appropriate criteria). The major automatic feature of the ASAS-AS is its ability to correlate data, like combining multiple reports on the same entity.
Although the ASAS-AS was the preferred option, it was not deployable due to the strict space and manpower requirements. The Warrior (ASAS-W) system proved a better platform for processing and disseminating intelligence. The ASAS-W was originally designed as an analyst's tool for displaying the current situation from incoming messages. Unlike the ASAS-AS, however, the ASAS-W cannot correlate multiple reports. On the other hand, the ACP DISE was able to receive and transmit digital imagery, templates, graphics, and terrain products with ASAS-W, through the TROJAN SPIRIT.Human Intelligence and Liaison
A valuable part of any ACP DISE package is its ability to get HUMINT assets into the theater as early as possible and to receive HUMINT reports from those assets. HUMINT teams can provide--
- Early warning.
- Force protection.
- Linguistic and surveillance capabilities.
- Local population liaison
A major concern for the ACP DISE was that HUMINT assets would be misused by the command post or have unrealistic limits placed on them. Although it is recommended that a HUMINT capability (CI, IPW, or LRS) bring all of its own equipment, the HUMINT teams might be forced to deploy without some of its bulkier equipment. For example, the high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) may be a luxury.
The ACP should remember, however, that the HUMINT teams can carry another means of communications that may not be otherwise available: high-frequency amplitude-modification (HF/AM) radios. These systems can be used as an alternative or back-up for the primary systems. HUMINT connectivity often relies on HF/AM communications, because HF/AM provides a long-range, secure communications capability that can serve multiple clients.
HUMINT teams are fairly mobile and easy to deploy. At the same time, they tend to contribute a significant "value-added" to the efforts of the ACP. For that reason, I have detailed the manpower and equipment requirements that III Corps established for the ACP's CI, IPW, and LRS teams (see Figure 3). Keep in mind that the LRS element will also require a liaison officer team and a base station, neither of which are depicted here.
Figure 3. Configuration of the ACP's HUMINT Teams.
We have examined the need to piece together the Intelligence BOS puzzle to facilitate deployability and outstanding intelligence support to the maneuver commander and his assault command post. While the "standard" package is not obsolete, it has become more of a base piece of the puzzle upon which to build. Our training and readiness posture must fully embrace the principles of tactical tailoring and split-based operations while providing the information and products that the commander and his staff require.
In the end, we should heed the words of General George S. Patton, Jr., "Practice in peacetime that you would use in war." This priniciple should encourage MI units to train regularly to proficiency under realistic conditions. We must be 'Ready Now!' to provide effective, integrated, synchronized, non-lethal combat power and support to the maneuver commander and the entire warfighting team across the full spectrum of Joint Vision 2010 missions, operations, and intelligence.
I wish to acknowledge the helpful advice and guidance I received from Colonel Seth Nottingham (deceased).Lieutenant Colonel Steve Perkins is currently the Combating Terrorism Support Team Leader in the J2 Office, The Joint Staff. He has been selected for command of the 103d MI Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia. His previous positions include: Brigade S3 and S2; Battalion executive officer; Chief, G2 Operations, III Corps; Chief, G2 Plans, 101st Airborne Division; and Assistant Professor of Military Science, Southeastern Louisiana University. LTC Perkins' military schooling includes the Joint and Combined Staff Officers Course (Armed Forces Staff College) and the Air Command and Staff College (Distinguished Graduate). He has a bachelor of science degree from Cameron University, Oklahoma, and an M.P.A. from Auburn University at Montgomery. Readers can contact him via E-mail at [email protected], and telephonically at (703) 695-8095 and DSN 225-8095.