First Team Intelligence Support

to the 1st Cavalry Division

by Major General Leon J. LaPorte and

Lieutenant Colonel Gus E. Greene, Sr. 

As a result of force modernization efforts and extensive training opportunities, the 1st Cavalry Division has become the most lethal, deployable, heavy combat force in the world. It is critical to our success for our commanders to visualize the battlespace in which we will fight. Seeing the enemy and the terrain while being able to see ourselves sets the conditions for applying overwhelming combat power against enemy weaknesses. Real-world deployments, National Training Center rotations, and training exercises have provided the intelligence team with many opportunities to accomplish this difficult and complex mission. And, on all occasions, they have set new standards for intelligence gathering, analysis, and dissemination.

Real-World Deployments

Last September, the "FIRST TEAM" deployed the 3d Brigade to Kuwait to demonstrate the United States' resolve to counter Iraqi aggression. Because the G2 section previously extended the Analysis and Control Element's (ACE) collateral communications network into the Division Emergency Operations Center (DEOC), they were able to provide twice-daily briefings on the situation in Iraq and Kuwait. Analysts provided softcopy updates and All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) briefing slides detailing information on locations and intent over the network into the DEOC. Supported by national-level imagery, this capability gave the Brigade Commander complete situational awareness and created tremendous confidence in our intelligence collection efforts. As a result, we fully believe that the G2 and the ACE can accomplish their wartime mission.

This no-notice deployment marked the first time the division had executed a real-world, split-based operation. The ACE supported the Brigade with a Deployable Intelligence Support Element (DISE) consisting of four personnel and a TROJAN Special Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal (SPIRIT). This team became a vital link to the ACE. The ACE provided daily intelligence updates from sanctuary (the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)) and made them available to the Brigade as it trained in the Kuwaiti desert, a mere 8,000 miles away. I was also able to talk with the Brigade Commander from the SCIF using video teleconferencing. Each of these capabilities reinforced our confidence in the intelligence team's ability to support the division anywhere in the world.

Training and New Initiatives

During the numerous training exercises over the past year, the intelligence team has provided unprecedented battlefield visualization. Our recently completed Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) Warfighter Exercise offered a glimpse of their latest initiatives. During the deliberate planning process, the G2 Plans team instituted the intelligence wargame as a formal part of mission analysis. All battlefield operating system (BOS) representatives contributed their expertise to enemy course of action (COA) development. By wargaming against a G2-developed friendly plan, the detail in the event template significantly improved. The G2 then briefed the enemy event template as a part of the formal mission analysis briefing. The briefing gave us the ability to see the enemy commander's key decisions and his potential weaknesses. It provided a basis for guidance to the remaining planning staff on developing friendly COAs.

Critical to the intelligence wargame were the topographic engineering section and the Staff Weather Officer (SWO). Topographic engineers brought the terrain to life with the Multispectral Imagery Processor (MSIP). Using this computer to rapidly build digital terrain products eliminated countless hours of manual labor with map pens and acetate. For example, the operators manipulated the digital terrain data on the computer to create an artillery slope analysis, highlighting the areas where the slope of the terrain was too great to establish enemy artillery firing positions. Consequently, we could rapidly narrow the focus of our collection efforts and maximize our limited collection capability.

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1st Cavalry Division Bradleys and troops in Kuwait.

By providing detailed analysis of weather effects on our weapons systems, the SWO also assisted in battlefield visualization. His matrices identified potential enemy weaknesses to exploit and possible hazards to minimize for our forces.

For each exercise, I reminded the staff of three simple rules. They are--

  • Rule #1: Focus on the enemy.
  • Rule #2: Fight the enemy and not the plan.
  • Rule #3: When in doubt, follow Rule #1.

Current Army doctrine dictates that priority intelligence requirements (PIR) should focus on decisions to be made during the fight. I have modified this to focus on the rules above. More specifically, I have tied my PIR to key decisions and events for the enemy commander. Consequently, I can counter his options before he can execute. Recent innovations in virtual simulation have significantly improved the G2 and ACE's abilities to present the enemy, answer PIR, and conduct targeting. Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) virtual simulations now offer close replications of real capabilities.

During our recent BCTP Warfighter Exercise, these simulations revolutionized the way we operated. Joint STARS simulation, coupled with other collectors, became a wide-area search tool that tipped off the narrower collection capability of the UAV simulation. As a result, we confirmed enemy locations to direct precision deep attacks and proactive counterfire. These simulations not only improved my situational awareness but also allowed the G2 and the ACE to train using wartime tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Like the rest of the Army, the Division is awaiting the fielding of the ASAS remote workstations. In the interim, the G2 developed a "homepage" to support the subordinate commanders' battlefield visualization. Our critical time-sensitive information was still transmitted over the radio; however, the FIRST TEAM Intelligence Homepage afforded commanders access to a significant amount of intelligence information. Maintained on a computer in the SCIF, the homepage included the base order, order of battle, current intelligence summaries, current battle damage assessments, current division and subordinate PIR, current collection plan, and more. Additionally, the homepage was a conduit to send and receive responses to information requests. Just prior to the BCTP Warfighter Exercise, we upgraded the home-page by adding the ability to query the current ASAS database, and provide a printout of the current enemy location. Subordinate S2s could now assist commanders in battlefield visualization.

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MG La Porte holds a press conference to announce decisions made by the "Warring factions" during the Partnership for Peace exercises. He is flanked by unknown officers who played the role of senior military officials of the warring factions.

Partnership for Peace Exercise

In May of this year, the 1st Cavalry Division participated in a Partnership For Peace Exercise at the Bergen training area in Germany. While not a routine division mission, the exercise provided an excellent opportunity to learn and share experiences with 24 different nations in a peacekeeping operation. For the G2, the focus shifted from tracking enemy forces and providing targets for destruction to confirming compliance with the peace agreement. Visualization of the operational area and identifying unauthorized military equipment and forces in the selected buffer zone was vital to the effort.

For example, during the course of the exercise, I met periodically with the leadership of the "former warring factions." The meetings, called Joint Military Commissions (JMCs), were used to enforce compliance between the former warring parties. During the JMC, the G2 simulated the use of UAVs and other sensors to provide near-real-time imagery and information confirming violations of the agreement. Throughout the exercise, the intelligence team demonstrated its flexibility by providing timely and accurate "military information" that facilitated our great success.


As Sun Tzu has said--

Know the enemy, know yourself; your victory will never be endangered. Know the ground, know the weather; your victory will then be total.

The 1st Cavalry Division intelligence team demonstrated it can set the conditions for "total" victory. The division's success in real-world deployments, training exercises and, most recently, the Partnership for Peace exercise is in no small measure directly attributable to our ability to make battlefield visualization a reality.

Major General LaPorte's follow-on assignment is Assistant to the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. He commanded the 1st Cavalry Division for two years through July 1997. His previous assignments include Commander of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin; Commander, 3d Brigade (Greywolf), 1st Cavalry Division; and, during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, Chief of Staff for the 1st Cavalry Divison. MG LaPorte has a bachelors degree from the University of Rhode Island and a master of science degree in Administration from the University of California at Irvine. Readers can contact the author at E-mail [email protected]

Lieutenant Colonel Greene is currently Commander, 104th MI Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas. His previous assignments include G2 of the 1st Cavalry Division, Deputy G2 for III Corps, S3 of the 522d MI Battalion, and G2 Plans Officer for the 2d Armored Division. He has a bachelor of science degree from Louisiana State University and a masters degree in Management from Webster University. Readers can contact him via E-mail at [email protected] and telephonically at (817) 288-3910 and DSN 738-3910.