The ACT Concept: Intelligence Analysis for the Air Assault Task Force
by Sergeant Valmer Taylor
This article will explain the Analysis and Control Team (ACT) concept as it is resourced and implemented by Alpha Company, 311th Military Intelligence Battalion. I will explain how the ACT concept supports a light infantry (air assault) task force (TF) brigade and, ultimately, the modern combat arms division.
The ACT is a relatively new concept in MI. It is an attempt to enable the Direct Support MI Company to better meet the dynamic intelligence needs of the TF commander while, at the same time, remaining relevant in the more technologically driven battlefield of the 21st century.
Separate Sources and DisciplinesAs the acronym implies, the main purpose of the ACT is to empower the company assets to "act" by analyzing the information it receives at the team level and by producing timely and predictive intelligence. The ACT has access to the company's assets in the signals intelligence (SIGINT), measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), and human intelligence (HUMINT) disciplines.
The fusion of the company's assets into a workable and viable team that shares information and forms assumptions becomes the foundation for the company's predictive analysis. In theory, providing a greater amount of synchronization among company assets results in an improvement in the company's ability to better provide all-source analysis, thus breaching the single-source mentality that traditionally has prevailed at this level.
When limited to single-source analysis in the past, the company was simply a processor of information. It would collect, track, and pass raw intelligence it received to the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Support Element (IEWSE) located in the brigade tactical operations center (TOC). Under this system, each of the disciplines acted separately and independently, concerned only with their particular aspect of the mission.
In a sense, the role of the company was one of service support: to provide each team with food and water, to ensure that they were able to communicate, to ensure that their equipment was mission capable, and, most importantly, to track the teams' locations on the battlefield. Accordingly, analysis and management of intelligence was the responsibility of the IEWSE at the brigade. The ACT gives the DS MI Company an analytical presence in with the TOC. While a DS MI Company asset, the ACT essentially "lives" in the brigade TOC.
The ACT concept is an attempt to analyze intelligence at the source------the level at which it is produced------and thus complement the efforts of the brigade S2. It is the responsibility of each discipline to monitor the intelligence information collected by its section, provide analysis, and then pass on the information to the hub of the ACT, the Analytical Cell. For example, the SIGINT assets (the low-level voice intercept, TLQ-17A TRAFFICJAM, and general support TRQ-32 TEAMMATE) produce tactical reports (TACREPs). The TACREPs are then sent via a special intelligence net to a Transcription and Analysis (TA) cell where they are broken down and analyzed. The TACREPs provide written summaries of enemy forces' communications and movements on the battlefield. The ACT is then able to apply the SIGINT intercepts to its doctrinal and situational templates to provide the commander with a better understanding of enemy intentions and a more complete picture of the battlefield.
When considered separately, the SIGINT assets provide an excellent picture of the enemy's intentions. However, if you add the movement indicators provided from MASINT assets, like the Improved-Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System and ground surveillance radars, plus the HUMINT data from interrogations and counterintelligence reports, you have a more-complete, all-source picture and a good foundation for predictive analysis.Designed to fuse intelligence products within the TOC, the act allows the DS MI company to become an active player in the intelligence process. (U.S. Army Photo)
Fusion of IntelligenceThe ACT fuses each section's intelligence into a broader picture, representing the company's perspective of the battlefield. Moreover, as each of the company's sections share information with the others, the analysis becomes fuller and ends up bridging the gaps in the overall intelligence picture. This picture is given to the brigade S2 in the form of a written intelligence report (INTREP) every 12 hours. The INTREP is an amalgamation of significant activities that occurred in each section during the last reporting period. By providing written representation of each section's activities, the ACT gives the S2 the ability to cross-reference information. Ultimately, the DS MI company and the ACT------due to their abilities to provide predictive analysis to the TF commander------become well-suited to complement a future operations cell for the brigade S2.
The ACT concept challenges the traditional mission of the DS MI Company as simply a processor of information. Instead, the DS MI company is actively involved in analyzing intelligence at its level and, based on the types of information available to it, can provide predictive analysis when appropriate.
Figure 1. Analysis and Control Team Connectivity Chart
Avoiding Information OverloadAs I alluded to earlier, today's battlefield is increasingly driven by technology. The collection assets available to a TF commander are numerous and varied. While U.S. military forces enjoy a superior advantage in technology, this advantage also creates unique problems for the TF commander and the S2------mainly information overload.
Technology can produce a glut of information. For the intelligence officer who is responsible for managing this information and trying to make sense of it, the overload can literally become a nightmare. In this instance, the S2 is barraged with information, creating a situation in which a plethora of information is just as bad as a paucity of information. The DS MI Company can alleviate this situation by reviewing its raw intelligence and culling out that which is not relevant to the TF's mission or the commander's priority intelligence requirements (PIR).
ConclusionThe ACT not only provides the S2 with the most up-to-date mission essential intelligence, but it also collects information and forms assumptions about the enemy forces and their intentions that will ultimately drive future operations. The ACT allows the DS MI Company to become an active player in the intelligence process. It enables all the levels involved, from brigade to company, to cross-reference the intelligence they receive. Moreover, it helps to sharpen the focus of the Company by actively involving it in the collection and targeting decisions and, ultimately, in answering the commander's PIR. The ACT allows the Company to become a proactive rather than a passive conduit of information. Sergeant Taylor is an ACT Intelligence Analyst assigned to Alpha Company, 311th MI Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. He has both a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University. Readers can contact him via E-mail at [email protected] and telephonically at (502) 798-4810/6610 or DSN 635-4810/6610.