Collection Management Lessons Learned

During the Division AWE

by Captain Brian R. Dunmire 

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

--Sun Tzu, 4th Century B.C.E.

The Division XXI Advanced Warfighting Experiment (DAWE) was a milestone event in the Army's history. The 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (4ID(M), the Army's Experimental Force (EXFOR) tested dozens of new initiatives, focusing primarily on information management and dissemination technologies. While advanced systems like the RAH-66 Commanche helicopter and the Outrider unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were also tested in simulation, the focus of 4ID(M) and the Army was on how the Army Tactical Command and Control Systems (ATCCS) enhanced the command and control functions of the division. Some of the most important lessons learned during the DAWE in the Intelligence battlefield functional area (BFA) concerned collection management (CM).

Information management is a great challenge that military professionals face in both Force XXI and the Army After Next. Determining what information we need, how to get it, how to manipulate it, and then quickly putting that information to use is rapidly becoming a most important command decision a leader must make on the Force XXI battlefield. During our experiences in the DAWE, vast quantities of combat information poured in from all echelons, requiring direction, analysis, and dissemination. A significant lesson learned was that how this information was gained is just as important as how it was manipulated. Given the collection capabilities that a digitized division has, commanders can now, more than ever, truly see the battlefield in nearly real time.


CM is about determining intelligence information requirements to support the division commander's decisions and intent in gaining information dominance, shaping the battlefield, conducting dominant maneuver, and in protecting the force. It also pertains to directing the collection effort to answer those requirements. FM 34-2, Collection Management and Synchronization Planning, provides the doctrinal basis.

CM determines the intelligence requirements, and tasks or requests the appropriate assets to conduct intelligence or reconnaissance operations to obtain the necessary information in time for the commander's decisionmaking. The information is analyzed and evaluated for completeness and reliability, and is then displayed for the commander. Based on the new information, the commander continues to direct the collection effort, through the G2, to focus on answering new information requirements.

EXFOR Advances

During a regular Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) exercise for a heavy division, the division often initially fights a depleted division in the defense, another mechanized division during a movement to contact, and up to two enemy divisions during the friendly or "Blue" force defensive. In the DAWE, the 4ID(M) destroyed or defeated 4 armies, 13 enemy divisions (6 mechanized divisions and 7 tank divisions), 4 independent mechanized brigades, and 25 supporting artillery brigades during the nine-day experiment. Five more enemy divisions were converging to stop the 4ID(M) from penetrating the Rhine River defenses at the end of the experiment, but were unsuccessful. What contributed to this amazing feat? Advanced sensors, coupled with brilliant munitions and bold actions, enabled the command to achieve this military feat of arms.

Changes in the EXFOR

What was new in the DAWE? There were tremendous advances. The division's organic reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities were easily tripled, if not more. Fifty-one platoon equivalents of reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition assets supported 81 maneuver platoons. The challenge for the division was to be able to effectively direct these assets and assimilate the quantity of information they produced.

Wide-area surveillance (WAS) systems--such as the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS), Guardrail, the Intelligence Electronic Warfare Common Sensor (IEWCS) systems, AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radar, and Sentinel air defense radar--provided all levels of command with near-real-time situational awareness of battlefield movements. Steerable systems, such as UAVs, Comanche helicopters, and ground reconnaissance and cavalry troops with future scout vehicles (FSVs) were the major reconnaissance platforms. The model we used for the FSV was an M114-size vehicle armed with a 30-millimeter cannon and fitted with a mast-mounted sensor package that featured a second-generation forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The FSV (or "future scout combat system" in some literature) has a four-soldier crew.

Collection Management Lessons Learned

What were the major lessons learned for CM? Several important issues were confirmed in the DAWE, including the--

Digital tools are vital to the success of the CM effort, both in planning and in the execution of the effort. The collection manager needs the resources of all the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS) systems to successfully complete the mission. Currently, the All-Source Analysis System-Remote Workstation (ASAS-RWS) has limited intelligence synchronization tools, promising for providing guidance for intelligence analysis, but insufficient for tasking or synchronizing the wide array of sensors and organizations operating in the division. For planning purposes, we primarily used MS Office1 products. We used MS Word for writing Annex B and the collection plan, employing both the Maneuver Control System-Windows (MCS-WIN) in the planning stage and ASAS-RWS during the execution stage. We maintained the Intelligence Synchronization Matrix with Excel. The command group saw the collection strategy, collection focus, and priority intelligence requirements (PIR) presented in PowerPoint graphics. See Figure 1 for an example of our DAWE collection coverage.

Figure 1. Collection Coverage During the AWE.

We employed the ASAS-RWS for maintaining the homepage, developing NAI overlays, UAV operations overlays, for conducting database searches to answer requests for information (RFIs), and for maintaining current enemy situational awareness by pulling the distributed digital overlay (DDO) at the division's tactical command post (CP), TAC1. This led to a challenge to the CM section to evaluate reporting in a timely manner: the division no longer kept a central database, but now maintained databases at each CP. There was no automated method to evaluate reporting from the division main CP (D-MAIN) during the DAWE. Use of "infobot" or "knowbot" technologies would greatly enhance the capacity of the section to actively search all the CPs' databases to rapidly obtain the information required to answer the commander's PIR.

We initially had problems in maintaining the current locations and status of the division's sensors. This was partially solved by obtaining an MCS-WIN to provide the section with friendly unit locations. However, the MCS-WIN had a more limited capability than that required by the collection manager.

The collection manager must know the current location and status of all major division sensors, both land-based and air-based, and must know the capabilities of those systems, and the areas they are covering. This information requirement extends far beyond just military intelligence systems. Knowledge to the entity level for ground-based systems (such as the TPQ-36/37 Firefinder and Sentinel radars, IEWCS ground-based systems) and all airborne platforms (like UAVs, Comanches, Guardrail, Joint STARS, and IEWCS Advanced QUICKFIX systems) are essential to mission management success. Platoon-level information is required for all cavalry, scout, and chemical and engineer reconnaissance units. Knowing the location of sensor strings such as the Improved-Remotely Monitored Battlefield Sensor System (I-REMBASS) and Raptor antitank mined system is also vital information for the collection manager. During the DAWE, the tools for determining this information were inadequate. The tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) developed to overcome this shortfall was a constant verbal dialogue between the G2, the MI battalion operations center (BOC), the division and corps collection managers, and the command group. While this was effective, the digital tools were insufficient.

The multidiscipline sensor array of the division was successful in providing commanders at all levels with the information necessary to prosecute the fight successfully. Decentralized execution of the centrally developed collection plan was the effect of the lack of tools to digitally direct the collection effort from the D-MAIN. However, the combination of broadcast dissemination of information by sensors like Joint STARS and the DDO process enabled the division and brigades to answer most of their own internal PIR and targeting needs. The brigades and the cavalry squadron received Joint STARS and SIGINT data through the Common Ground Station-Prototype (CGS-P) surrogates, enabling these units to cue their own organic resources (such as UAVs, RAH-66 Comanches, and FSVs) to the location of the enemy forces moving into their areas of operations (AOs). This information created a synergy of collection effort, because all CPs knew at the same time when enemy forces began movement.

Intelligence handover during the DAWE was a challenge, but we developed a number of very useful TTP to help handle this issue. Historically, there has been a challenge here due to the limited number of sensors. The doctrinal intelligence handover line was sufficient here. In 4ID(M), the brigades had significantly increased capabilities and awareness. Intelligence handover was more an issue of assigning brigades, the division, and requesting corps to track specific units, using something like a "force-oriented" named area of interest rather than a terrain-based NAI. It was unnecessary to continually direct brigades or the cavalry squadron to vector their Outriders, Comanches, or FSVs to the Joint STARS moving target indicators (MTIs) from the division level, because commanders at that level were already directing their own systems to the MTIs.

The TTP that we used involved dividing the battlefield by target set, thereby deconflicting collection. For example, the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) tracks the 10th Motorized Rifle Division, 2BCT tracks the 11th MRD, 1-10 Cavalry tracks the 14th Tank Division, and the Division would focus on the 1st Combined Arms Army's (CAA) Army Artillery Group, Group of Rockets and Artillery (AGRA), and the 15th Tank Division. There was a danger in this, because sometimes if a major enemy force came into the division AO, the division, brigades, and the cavalry squadron would all send their ground and air assets to the target set. Having access to the feed from the Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (FAADC3I) is critical to airspace deconfliction for airborne sensors, because if that information would have been available, we could have known immediately that there were already multiple airborne platforms working a given target set. This tracking of friendly forces would have enabled the commander and G2 to more efficiently direct the collection effort. Access to FAADC3I would have also given us a better picture of the air threat against our airborne platforms. Due to the limitations of the simulation, Comanches could not conduct air-to-air engagements as they were designed to do, nor could the opposing force's fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft engage our UAVs. With the addition of the air-to-air operations emerging in the division, this bears more intensive scrutiny by the Army intelligence community at corps level and below. Figure 2 lists some of the new sensors and organizations 4ID(M) tested during the DAWE.

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Figure 2. Sensors and Organizations Tested.

Collaborative tools are a necessity for the collection effort to determine requirements, conduct target handoff, and to maintain the unity of the collection effort. For the DAWE, the ASAS-RWS only had a chat function that operated between two points, thereby limiting the collaborative planning and operational opportunities. Due to the rapid changes in the battlefield situation, the focus of the collection effort changed rapidly, even hourly. This was caused by the speed of the operations of the division, and the division's fire support capabilities. I recommend that a CM representative would be stationed at the TAC1 to process changes in requirements from the TAC1 and to coordinate with the CM at D-MAIN to support the targeting effort in the dynamic environment. We had a representative at TAC1 during the ramp-up exercise, but not during the DAWE.

This requirement is a lesson learned for the DAWE. For example, in a single night, nearly five maneuver regiments worth of enemy combat power was destroyed by fires directed by TAC1 using the division-level UAVs and multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). This massing of fires, coupled with the efforts of the three ground maneuver brigades, the cavalry squadron, and the aviation brigade caused the defeat of an entire CAA in less than 24 hours. The collection effort followed the commander's direction, with the guidance rapidly flowing from TAC1. During that night, the combined efforts of the division, using a rapid moving targeting sequence of decide-detect-deliver, 4ID(M) destroyed or defeated elements of an entire CAA.

The targeting effort in the division was significantly different from that of a standard division. Normally, the deep fight is run from D-MAIN, and the close fight fought from the division tactical CP, the DTAC. In 4ID(M), long-range planning for both operations and targeting was conducted at the D-MAIN. From a temporal perspective, D-MAIN focused on the battle 12 to 72 hours out, with the majority of planning focusing on the 24- to 48-hour time block. Our TAC1 was responsible for conducting all current operations, including what used to be called deep and close operations. Collaborative tools are essential to coordinate between the planning operations occurring at the operations planning cell, the targeting cell, and current operations element operating at TAC1. For the DAWE, the CM section was located at D-MAIN with the G2 as part of the Analysis and Control Element (ACE), while the MI BOC with the brigade commander and the S3 were at the TAC1. This was done because--for the DAWE--the division was emulating having the D-MAIN in a sanctuary area up to 300 kilometers behind the forward line of troops, while the TAC1 was operating close to the FLOT. Although we were able to overcome many of the challenges of split based operations, the need for collaborative tools was again highlighted. Dissemination, in the classic sense, has been virtually eliminated from the section through the use of the dynamically distributed overlays (DDOs), the homepage on ASAS-RWS, and through broadcast dissemination of the echelons-above-division collection systems like Joint STARS. The DDO was used in the ASAS-RWS to share information to all users at each of the CPs. Using this TTP, the CPs at every echelon were able to "pull" the current enemy situation from any unit at will, thereby creating great efficiencies in information distribution. TAC1 maintained the "relevant common picture" for the division by combining the DDOs from all the brigades and from the D-MAIN, thereby creating a common basis for intelligence analysis in the division.

The homepage function returned to the ASAS-RWS prior to the DAWE, and has yet again proven to be a valuable tool. We used it to distribute information about all intelligence-derived information requirements other than the current enemy situation. The 4ID(M) intelligence homepage was linked to the III Corps Homepage, which also gave S2s at all levels access to information from the Corps. An important feature of the homepage was that any computer system on the tactical internet that had a browser could access the homepage. Thus, any ATCCS machine (MCS, ASAS, Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), Combat Service Support Control System (CSSCS), and FAADC3I) or computer on the tactical local area network (TACLAN) could get to the homepage, thereby dramatically increasing the number of places from which intelligence information could be accessed. This was very important because we had units that did not have ATCCS systems attached to those at the division, so the homepage became an important conduit for information dissemination.

All intelligence sections, such as CM, G2 Plans, the battle damage assessment (BDA) section, and the All-Source Intelligence Section (ASIS) were prime users of the homepage. The CM section posted all divisional units' current PIR, answered and received RFIs, the collection plan and intelligence synchronization matrix, targeting products, and collection emphasis messages to the home page. National-level imagery was also posted. The G2 Planner would have the current planning objectives of the day, presentations he gave to the Commander, and animated Battlefield Planning and Visualization (BPV) scenarios of potential enemy courses of action posted to the homepage. The BDA section would post updated BDA, focusing on the enemy maneuver and artillery systems. The ASIT posted divisional intelligence summaries, orders of battle, and intelligence reports to the homepage. In the future, we will have more "write permissions" built into the homepage, so that the subordinate units can write changes to their own PIR, as well as enabling them to help answer RFIs.

Collection is a Command Issue

The DAWE also taught us that the employment of sensors and the collection strategy is a command issue. During the Division XXI AWE, the employment of sensors and the focus of intelligence collection and analysis was truly a command issue. The Commander and Assistant Division Commander (Maneuver) frequently provided direction to the G2 and 104th MI Battalion Commander. At no time did the collection effort stray from the Commander's focus. However, the use of certain collection systems, such as the UAV, rapidly became a command issue. Commanders often personally directed the operations of the UAV, both in support of the collection effort and in support of the targeting effort. If in a time of necessity, a brigade needed to be tasked to fly a division mission, it was a decision made at the general officer and brigade commander level. Commanders at all levels were very involved in the employment of sensors to answer their requirements.


The trends seen in collection management showed intelligence synchronization and orchestration challenges are increasing, not decreasing. Some essential intelligence lessons learned were that digital and collaborative tools are vital to the success of the CM effort, both in planning and in the execution of the effort. The multidiscipline sensor array of the division successfully provided commanders at all levels with the information necessary to prosecute the fight successfully. The dissemination function has been significantly changed based on the combination of the DDO and broadcast dissemination. Finally, the employment of sensors and the collection strategy is truly a command issue, not just an intelligence issue. The greatest success in the DAWE collection management was the ability to rapidly direct operations and respond to continually changing battlefield conditions and requirements due to the highly capable sensor suite that the division had or to which it had access.


1. Microsoft Office 97 MS WordTM, and MS PowerPoint TM are trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation. Several companies have trademarks on portions of Excel.

Captain Dunmire is currently attending the MI Officer Advanced Course. During the DAWE, he was the 4ID(M) Collection Manager. He was previously the 1-10 Cavalry S2 during the Task Force XXI AWE and the initial DAWE command post exercises. He has also served as a company executive officer, 104th MI Battalion during the transition to the General Support Company (see the July-September 1996 MIPB for a related article); Platoon Leader, D Company 522 MI Battalion; and Assistant S2, 1st Tiger Brigade, 2d Armored Division. He has a master of arts degree in International Relations from Saint Mary's University, and a bachelor of arts degree in History from Pennsylvania State University. You can contact him via E-mail at [email protected]