Career Forecast for the MI Enlisted Force

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by Sergeant Major Patricia Ann York

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Donald R. Torrence, Jr., Army DCSINT Sergeant Major

Change seems to be a recurring theme throughout the evolution of the United States Army. For example, advances in technology are constantly providing new opportunities for increased efficiency and productivity. Since all aspects of military intelligence rely on the exploitation and incorporation of the latest technological advances, MI may seem to experience the most change of any branch in the Army in its capabilities and missions.

Though perpetual change may be a bit challenging, we must keep the perspective that this is positive growth and necessary progress. The technological advances that allow us to "work smarter, not harder. Relieve the growing pains incurred by "doing more with less".

With the dissolution of the Soviet threat, and the subsequent force drawdown, the Army is also undergoing changes to the structure of its most precious resource, its people. Just as technological advances are allowing us to change the way in which we perform our intelligence missions, the changes to the personnel structure of military intelligence are helping us to slim and trim the MI force to make it leaner and more efficient.

The most recent changes to the MI force structure are the Change in NCO Structure (CINCOS) and the personnel reductions recommended by the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). Both programs have given MI the opportunity to reconfigure unit authorization documents and the structure of the NCO Corps to serve the mission of intelligence units and the careers of individual soldiers better.

However, the current changes are different from reductions and restructuring that have occurred in the past. For the first time, they are affecting a volunteer force - a force of soldiers who chose to serve in the Army instead of a force comprised of draftees. Fortunately, the changes still provide room for professional growth for all MI soldiers.

Sergeant Major York’s article below describes these changes in the MI enlisted force structure. As you read this piece, keep in mind that these changes are good for MI and good for the individual soldier. If soldiers truly are our "credentials," then we are helping to provide our "credentials" with brighter futures and better careers.

Sergeant Major Don Torrence is currently the DA DCSINT Sergeant Major. He has extensive experience in intelligence and special forces operations, which includes serving as the G2 Sergeant Major for the U.S. Army Special Forces Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the Detachment Sergeant for 2d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Management and Technology from the University of Maryland and has nearly completed a master of science degree in Security Management from Webster University. Readers can contact him telephonically at (703) 695-0316, DSN 225-0316, or via E-mail at [email protected]

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We are an Army in the midst of change. Missions, technology, and doctrine are all changing. When the threat was perceived as large, the defense budget was comparable. Now, increasingly limited resources form just one of the many challenges we face as we move toward the next century. The current world political climate assures us that it will be years before another superpower achieves parity with the United States. Yet, while we address a variety of new missions, we must always be prepared to wage a full-scale war.

Military intelligence is changing to meet these challenges. We recently made changes to the MI enlisted force structure. These changes were more in response to events of the past than in anticipation of future events. (See the discussion of the Change in the NCO Structure (CINCOS) in the Proponent Notes section, page 56, in the October-December 1997 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin.)

As the results of the Advanced Warfighting Experiments (AWE) are evaluated, we may need to make additional enlisted force structure changes. It may be premature to visualize those changes, but current events and technology already foreshadow some inevitable changes in the structure of the MI enlisted military occupational specialties (MOSs) and Career Management Fields (CMFs).

The MI Proponent office must ensure that the impact of these changes on soldiers is fully addressed. This article is a subjective assessment of the current status and probable future of our enlisted force. The Army averages are used as a reference point for assessing the health of promotions, accessions, and retention.


General Changes in the Enlisted Force Structure

Five years ago, there were 18 MI enlisted MOSs, excluding the four "capper" (Z) MOSs. Effective 1 October 1998, we will have only 13 MOSs: seven in collection and six in analysis. As technology advances, we will need fewer soldiers to collect intelligence and more soldiers involved in the analysis and processing of intelligence. However, the requirement for collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence will not change.

Previous "lessons learned" demonstrated the need to improve our ability to rapidly assimilate the enormous volume of information our systems are capable of acquiring. As we restructure our force, we will base CMF alignment on function------maintainers, collectors, processors, and analysts------rather than on the current CMF divisions that are based on the types or disciplines of intelligence. This will require a total force review to eliminate redundancies and focus our very limited human resources on those critical intelligence functions, which cannot be replaced by advances in technology.

Using a cradle-to-grave training approach, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca (USAIC&FH) is reviewing training strategies for all of the enlisted MOSs to ensure that they are relevant to current and future mission requirements. This training approach covers------

There will be a reduction in post-AIT training, which requires soldiers to leave their home stations to learn new skills. Instead, more training will be provided via distance-learning protocols, saving both time and money. A by-product of reduced budgets and enhanced technology, distance learning will be an integral part of any future training strategy. The result will be greater emphasis on unit-level technical training and certification, which will allow units to adapt training to meet their unique mission requirements.


MOS-Specific Changes and Promotion Prospects

Promotions for those MOSs which were over-structured prior to CINCOS will continue to be slow for the next two to three years. For most MOSs, promotion prospects to sergeant (SGT) will continue to be good. Promotions to staff sergeant (SSG), sergeant first class (SFC), and master sergeant (MSG) will improve beginning in fiscal year (FY) 00 with all MOSs reaching parity with the rest of the Army by FY 01. The speed at which each MOS returns to healthy promotion levels will depend in part on the number of soldiers who participate in the early retirement program and the number of future force reductions.

As technology advances, we will need fewer soldiers to collect intelligence and more soldiers involved in the analysis and processing of intelligence

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CMF 33, Electronic Warfare/Intercept (EW/I) Systems Maintenance Authorizations for this CMF have decreased significantly over the past few years. They decreased almost 20 percent during the past year alone. Historically, there has been some difficulty retaining soldiers in this CMF. Although senior NCO promotions will slow down along with the rest of MI, junior NCO promotions should continue to be good. The pace of change in this CMF will increase as we improve the way we do business in MI.

The consolidation of CMF 33 into one MOS, effective 1 October 1998, will require soldiers to be proficient in the repair of more EW equipment and systems. Soldiers will also have greater assignment diversity------tactical, strategic, and Miaviation units. The emphasis on computer technology will increase while the focus on component-level systems repair will decline. Soldiers will do more troubleshooting of network problems on systems linked together on one or more intranets. More training will be conducted via the Internet or exported on compact disc. Training is already being improved to include instruction on the repair of cutting-edge technologies, such as fiber optics.

CMF 96, Military Intelligence. MOSs within this CMF are relatively healthy. Some may require minor repair or redesign, however, we do not expect any significant changes in this CMF until after a complete review of the MI force structure.

MOS 96B, Intelligence Analyst, is the largest MOS in the MI Corps. A key objective of the Proponent office is to focus this MOS on analysis and away from installation security-type functions. It will decrease slightly in authorizations over the next three years. The MOS has remained below authorized strength for the last several years due to a steady increase in authorizations. Out-year accessions, retention, and promotions are expected to be good. If authorizations remain steady, we should be able to meet field requirements by FY 00. The success of the MOS hinges, in part, on the use of automated intelligence tools such as the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) to assist in intelligence processing, analysis, and dissemination.

MOS 96D, Imagery Analyst, is expected to decrease slightly in authorizations over the next three years. The MOS is presently below authorized strength. This personnel operating deficit is due to training limitations, a high initial entry training (IET) attrition rate, and an unprogrammed increase in field requirements. The MOS should be at required operating strength by FY 00. Senior NCO promotion prospects, especially to SFC, are expected to improve over the next three years.

MOS 96H, Imagery Ground Station Operator, is projected to increase in authorizations by almost 50 percent once the Common Ground Station (CGS) is fully fielded. With the recently installed training systems, USAIC&FH should be able to train sufficient numbers of soldiers to meet the requirements. Promotion and assignment opportunities for MOS 96H should be good. Soldiers required to reclassify into another MOS might consider MOS 96H a viable option.

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Significant opportunities still exist for entry into the warrant officer program

MOS 96R, Ground Surveillance Systems Operator, is expected to decrease in authorizations over the next few years. It is currently below authorized strength, primarily because of shortfalls in retention. The initial term of service for MOS 96R was recently increased from three to four years and a selective reenlistment bonus was enacted for first-term soldiers. We project the MOS to be at authorized strength by the end of FY 98. The future size of MOS 96R may depend in part on the success of the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The Improved-Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System (I-REMBASS), currently manned by the 96R in the light forces, will remain in the future force regardless of the success of the UAV program.

The future size of MOS 96R may depend in part on the success of the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

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MOS 96U, UAV Operator, will likely be above authorized strength by FY 98. The cancellation of the Hunter UAV program significantly limited the anticipated growth of this MOS. A replacement Tactical UAV (Outrider) is in the design phase. When the replacement system is fielded, this should be a growth MOS. Meanwhile, MOS 96U is an MOS with very limited assignment and promotion opportunities. The MI Proponent office is currently reviewing issues affecting the health of this MOS.

MOS 97B, Counterintelligence (CI) Agent, decreased significantly in authorizations in FY 97. The deactivation of two tactical exploitation (TE) battalions (14th MI Battalion, Fort Lewis, Washington, and 163d MI Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas), resulted in a 22 percent decrease in authorizations. This decrease in authorizations and excellent recruiting efforts will result in the MOS reaching its authorized strength in FY 98.

The CI-human intelligence (HUMINT) Integrated Concept Team (ICT), and a subsequent Council of Colonels conducted in early 1997, recommended the merger of this MOS with MOS 97E, Interrogator. We do not expect this recommendation to move forward until after the completion of an analysis of the AWEs and future CI requirements.

The ongoing Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (DCSINT) language review discussed later in this article may also affect this proposal. MOS 97B has a significant number of positions that require language skills, which will be addressed as part of the DCSINT language review. SSG and SFC promotions will be slow for the next two years. However, significant opportunities still exist for entry into the warrant officer program.

MOS 97E, Interrogator, was also heavily impacted by the deactivation of the two TE battalions, resulting in a 14 percent reduction. Like MOS 97B, the MOS will reach authorized strength in FY 98. The DCSINT language review may have a significant impact on the future structure of this MOS, as well. As technology improves, interactive training devices will enhance USAIC&FH's ability to train basic interrogation skills in the target languages. The outlook for senior NCO promotions will improve by FY 00.

CMF 98, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) /Electronic Warfare Operations. We expect significant changes in the structure of this CMF over the next five-to-ten years. The recent SIGINT Integrated Concept Team proposed realignment of several functions within the CMF. Some of the changes will revolve around the ongoing language initiatives, which may result in a complete redesign of MOS 98G.

MOS 98C, SIGINT Analyst, will decrease slightly in authorizations over the next three years. Despite historical recruiting problems, the strength of the MOS is relatively healthy. It should be at authorized strength by FY 99. Some shortages exist for positions, which require a foreign language. These positions will be addressed as part of the DCSINT language review. Analytical tools such as the ASAS system will become increasingly more important to this MOS. MOS 98C will continue to play a significant role at all echelons of the force. Promotion opportunities will improve by FY 00.

MOS 98G, Voice Interceptor, the largest MOS in the CMF and second largest in MI, is projected to decrease in authorizations over the next three years. The MOS is consistently below authorized strength for some languages. By FY 99, it is projected to be at or near authorized strength with interceptors in some languages, such as Korean, continuing to be a critical shortage. Historically, this MOS has had problems with accessions and retention. Most of the problems associated with MOS 98G will be addressed as part of the DCSINT language review. As technology improves, we can expect some of the collection functions associated with this MOS to be automated. The use of interactive training devices and live training opportunities will increase for MOS 98G.

MOS 98H, Communications Locator/Interceptor, authorizations have declined significantly over the past few years. The reason for the decline is twofold------a decrease in mission requirements and an increase in technological capabilities, which require fewer human resources. In the future, the focus of this MOS will expand to include a broader spectrum of communications modes. Retention is still good for this MOS. Promotions through the grade of SFC will be healthy by FY 00. MSG promotions may be sluggish for an additional year.

MOS 98J, Electronic Intelligence Interceptor/Analyst, will decrease slightly in authorizations over the next three years. By the end of FY 98, the MOS is projected to be at authorized strength. Functions associated with this MOS are likely to be realigned with MOS 98H and 98K over the next 5 to 10 years. Senior NCO promotions are expected to show improvement by FY 99.

MOS 98K, Signals Collection/Identification Analyst, is a relatively small MOS, which is under consideration for realignment. This could very well become the information operations (IO) MOS of the future. As the role and functions associated with this MOS evolve, we can expect this to become a growth MOS. Both recruiting and retention are good.



On 14 August 1997, the DCSINT reported the Army’s Foreign Language posture to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA). The report was based on a six-month comprehensive assessment, which focused on------

The VCSA approved the issues identified in the briefing and assigned specific lead responsibilities for follow-on actions, which collectively will enhance the Army’s future language posture. In December 1997, the VCSA approved the creation of an Army Language General Officer Steering Committee to work in concert with the DCSINT Army Language Committee and the Army commands and staffs. The role of the DCSINT as the Army proponent for languages will also be redefined. The DCSINT will make periodic reports to the VCSA on the progress of these actions.

The briefing to the VCSA has focused senior Army leadership on systemic language problems. The Army is reexamining its language posture and is attempting to fix those problems so we may have a healthy language force as we transition to Force XXI. USAIC&FH has a leading role to resolving several of the issues identified by the DCSINT. We are evaluating the following issues:

The MI Proponent office is designing career maps that will link specific language proficiencies to the NCO Education System. This new career design for linguists relies on the necessary training tools being in place to support linguists reaching the higher proficiency levels. Structuring and managing linguist MOSs by language is also under consideration. This will place the MOS management emphasis on the most critical and perishable part of the MOS.

The DCSINT is working toward placing linguist NCOs with the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) to assist in the recruitment of soldiers with civilian-acquired foreign language skills. Specific details of this program are pending.

No matter which direction this effort to re-tool the MI linguist force takes, it is certain that technology will have a long-term impact on our need for language skills. Technology will not replace our need for linguists but we do expect it to enhance our ability to provide rapid translations. Technology will also impact on our ability to train and maintain these skills.

As we reshape our force, NCOs must also reshape their thinking....


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NCOs at all levels must be prepared to take on expanded leadership functions and technical roles as we grow smaller.


As we reshape our force, NCOs must also reshape their thinking as well. Previously, terms such as computer "nerd," "geek," and "techno-geek" were used to identify soldiers who spent enormous amounts of time working on computers. If the preliminary indications from the AWEs are accurate, operating in an automated environment must become second nature to all MI soldiers and leaders. This does not mean that we will throw out the core leadership competencies that are the cornerstone of the NCO Corps. On the contrary, they will become even more important.

NCOs at all levels must be prepared to take on expanded leadership functions and technical roles as we grow smaller and more technologically based. We must not only be tactically proficient, but we must also remain technically proficient. NCOs at all levels must be prepared for greater involvement in mission planning and assessment, as well. Senior collectors must be more involved with collection planning and senior analysts must be more involved with mission planning and predictive analysis. The preparation for tomorrow must begin today.

Sergeant Major York is currently assigned as Chief Career Management NCO, Office of the Chief of Military Intelligence. She has experience in intelligence at the division level, echelons above corps, and joint level. Her assignments include First Sergeant, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) and 470th MI Brigade, And Operations Sergeant, J2, U.S. Southern Command. She holds a bachelor of arts Degree from Indiana University. She can be contacted at [email protected] and telephonically at (520) 533-1174 and DSN 821-1174.