Modernization: The Path to XXI and Beyond The Iew Battlefield

by Colonel Alfred H. Elliott, III

The intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) organizations that contributed to the overwhelming victory in Operation DESERT STORM were envisioned and built during the 1980s. Through enlightened efforts like the Army Intelligence Master Plan, the Army designed, developed, integrated, tested, and fielded these MI organizations and systems. After the war, the Military Intelligence Relook (MI Relook)—a comprehensive assessment of the lessons learned from DESERT STORM—validated the majority of our planned and programmed materiel solutions, but made significant changes to our organizational structure. Additionally, the MI Relook cast our doctrine for the end of the 20th century and laid the doctrinal foundation for our entry into the 21st century.

Although it is conceivable that some of these same systems and organizations may take us into the next century, we clearly understand that many of the systems are materially and technically reaching their retirement points and will require either replacement or major overhaul. Likewise, planned and implemented reductions in the MI force over the intervening years are causing us to relook our organizational structures. The Intel XXI Study is accomplishing this look forward. It is a Department of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence-sponsored and Chief of Staff, Army-approved study. The Intel XXI Task Force, under the leadership of Brigadier General Mike Hall, is chartered to take a stem-to-stern look at Army intelligence and recommend changes to ensure that Army XXI commanders receive force protection and timely, accurate intelligence. The objective of Intel XXI is not to work in the margins, but to recommend radical change where required.

FM 100-11, Force Integration, defines force modernization as the “process of improving the Army’s force effectiveness and opera- tional capabilities through force development and integration.” It encompasses all of the aspects of doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, materiel, and soldiers (DTLOMS). Unfortunately, hearing the term “force modern- ization” often conjures up a vision of systems or a materiel solution. However, we cannot stress enough that materiel solutions are only a small part of the force modernization process. Doctrinal solutions or changes in leader development or training are the answer more often than are organizational change or materiel acquisition. Revisions in training, leader development, and doctrine can take effect much faster than major organizational restructure or materiel acquisition, and these changes are frequently much less costly. Organizational changes and materiel solutions are usually the last choice due to the time required to implement them and the significant cost involved.

Having said all that, the articles assembled for this edition of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin by design focus primarily on materiel solutions. This is because—within the Intelligence and Electronic Warfare/ Command and Control Countermeasures Division of the Department of the Army (DA) Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Planning (DCSOPS)—our expertise and mission are centered on materiel and organizational solutions. For an organizational perspective, I refer you to the article by Lieutenant Colonel Bob Gutjahr in this issue of the MIPB.

Why Do We Modernize?

The Army Modernization Plan states, “The overarching reason to modernize is to maintain greater combat capability than a potential enemy’s.”1 While it is inconceivable that any army can or would challenge the U.S. Army directly, the availability of modern technology on the open market, the continued existence of rogue states who will sell the means of war to any buyer, and the existence of asymmetrical threats are among the many reasons we must continuously modernize. For the Intelligence discipline and others, we can expand this reasoning to include the impact of the information technology explosion. On the positive side, this explosion provides exponential improve- ments in our capability to gather, store, and manipulate data and information. On the negative side, the pervasiveness of information technology introduces new operational challenges and new vulnerabilities. Technology- related problems, like information assurance and the year 2000 (Y2K) problem, will consume much of the time and effort of our greatest minds. If we are not able to solve them, our ability to achieve information dominance is in serious jeopardy. In this respect, Army modernization, in particular intelligence modernization, is a captive of future capabilities against future threats.

Equally as important as the technological challenges of the “information generation” are the evolving geopolitical realignment brought on by the technology- information growth dynamic. The ability to share information in near-real time has highlighted the differences between “have” and “have-not” nations. For many have-not nations, this heightened awareness has identified areas of shared natural interest and, consequently, forged new alliances, some of which potentially may not be in our best interest. It is essential that we better understand this dynamic and act to shape it in our national interest.

What Guides Our  Modernization Efforts?

The framework for identifying modernization goals and objectives comprises Joint Vision 2010, Army Vision 2010, and Intel XXI. Together they define the multidimensional, decisive nature of full dimensional operations.

Joint Vision 2010 and Army Vision 2010 set the operational context for full-spectrum dominance. We will achieve full-spectrum dominance through six patterns of operation (project the force, protect the force, shape the battlespace, conduct decisive operations, sustain the force, and gain information dominance).2 These patterns describe the missions our combat forces must accomplish to gain battlespace dom- inance. While there is not space to describe each pattern of operation fully, a brief look at each one and its intelligence implications is important.

First, the Army can no longer afford to keep large numbers of forces outside the Continental United States and, therefore, must be able to project the force anywhere in the world. Intelligence will play an important part in the preparatory stages by providing decision-makers the information required to determine if, and when, U.S. forces should be committed. In addition, while they are enroute, the deploying units will require intelligence support for force protection and to help them better understand the operational environment upon arrival in the crisis area. Additionally, intelligence must provide a tailored organization to accompany the projecting or deploying force and a collection and analysis capability that supports it from sanctuary.

Protecting the force is always a priority and occurs throughout the operation, from predeployment to redeployment. It involves information security (INFOSEC), information assurance (IA), operational security (OPSEC), and physical and electronic protection. Intelligence is not primarily responsible for all of these mission categories; timely, accurate intelligence is crucial to the success of each. MI must assess the collection capabilities of the adversary and understand how the adversary sees us. MI must also assist in assessing the vulnerabilities of our command and control (C2) structure and recommending appropriate courses of action to correct them. Most importantly, intelligence analysts need the tools to portray the situation clearly and concisely to the commanders, so they can make informed and intelligent decisions on how to protect their forces.

Shaping the battlespace is the process whereby the commander sets the conditions for friendly success in decisive operations. To assist the commander in shaping the battlespace, the intelligence architecture must support deep operations and targeting with dynamic, continuous, and precise collection and battle damage assessment (BDA). This includes the capability to see deep using organic collection assets, as well as the ability to leverage the capabilities of theater and national assets.

During decisive operations, the intelligence system must provide the same kind of support it provides for shaping the battlespace but in a potentially more dynamic and fluid operational environment. Due to the dispersed nature of decisive operations, friendly and adversary target tracking and situational awareness become more important. While timeliness is always a major consideration, in decisive operations timeliness becomes much more critical. Success is dependent upon the ability to get the right information to the right commander at the right time. Assured communications are critical.

 Intel XXI is the…stepping stone to intelligence support for the Army   After Next

All the patterns of operation include sustainment operations designed to help commanders maintain their operational tempo (OPTEMPO) while transitioning from one operation to another. During these transitions, one of the principle focuses of intelligence is force protection. Design of intelligence activities supporting sustainment operations must avoid surprise and protect forces as they conduct these actions. Intelligence forces must also employ systems they can maintain, resupply, and redeploy with the same speed and agility as their supported forces.

Information dominance is the difference between friendly and adversary battlespace visualization and their understanding of the information environment. It is hard to achieve and is not constant. Intelligence operations must assist our commanders in creating windows of information advantage and enhance their abilities to exploit that advantage at the decisive time and place.

The final guiding document is Intel XXI. More specific to the subject of this article, Intel XXI is the Army’s concept for Army XXI intelligence operations and the stepping stone to intelligence support for the Army After Next (AAN). We are building the Intelligence Vision for Army XXI intelligence operations on the foundation of current intelligence imperatives. Commanders will still need answers to the same basic questions. There will still be a requirement for a seamless architecture that provides a common view of the battlefield, across all echelons, from all Service sensors. Commanders will still need target- able intelligence to support simultaneous and precision attacks. There will continue to be requirements for sensor-to-shooter links so that the commander can rapidly exploit perishable information through independent decision making and accelerated OPTEMPO. Thus, the core operational principles for Intel XXI will not differ significantly from those of today. The tenets of our military and tactical intelligence doctrine embody those objectives.

These fundamental similarities, do not mean that there are not important changes. As is illustrated in Figure 1, some of the more significant differences will be—

The design of the future intelligence system will provide an accurate and consistent picture of the battlespace at all echelons. When integrated with the overall friendly situation, this dynamically updated picture conveys an immediate understanding of the current and future situation to the commander.



The Army XXI intelligence system supports the use of lethal and non-lethal weapons to attack an adversary’s decision process, as well as targeting efforts against other high-priority targets (HPTs). At the same time, intelligence must support the commanders’ efforts to protect their forces. These consist of both offensive and defensive protection activities. Offensive protection activities include those actions to reduce the adversary’s ability to attack friendly C2. Defensive protection activities focus on reducing friendly units’ vulnerabilities to adversary attack by dispersing friendly forces and other physical and electronic protection techniques.

Figure 2 depicts our Intelligence Vision 2010, with the Intel XXI functions, tenets, and tasks supporting our drive toward battle- space dominance. The tasks identified in Figure 2 illustrate four of the challenges intelligence must meet to provide combat forces with dynamic and responsive intelligence support.

First, intelligence operators must be able to focus and leverage intelligence assets to include organic, joint, national, and multinational systems. Intelligence must correlate and fuse input from all battlefield sensors—whether soldiers or computers operate them—to provide a dynamic, accurate picture of the battlespace.

Intelligence XXI collection systems must enable commanders to see their extended battle- spaces with greater fidelity. They must provide commanders with the intelligence needed to understand their battlespaces and to locate, identify, and track critical targets.

Intelligence systems at all echelons must be interoperable to support rapid processing, analysis, and throughput of intelligence. This includes interoperability with systems of the other Services, theater and national intelligence organizations, and other coalition or allied intelligence organizations.

Fourth, as operational forces disperse and conduct distributed operations, a robust and flexible disemination means becomes a critical requirement. Without it, intelligence organizations will not be able to provide commanders with timely visualization of their battlespaces.

The seven tasks shown in Figure 2 (Direct, Collect, Analyze, Disseminate, Present, Protect, and Attack) are neither linear nor cyclic. In Intel XXI, they must be continuously and dynamically performed in support of the traditional doctrinal intelligence functions: indications and warning, intelligence preparation of the battlefield, situation development, target development, support to force protection, and BDA.

How Do We Modernize?

The Army Modernization Plan is one of the tools we use to manage the challenges of modernization. It provides an overarching modernization strategy that synchronizes the development and procurement of new systems while simultaneously accounting for recapitalization and the insertion of new, “leap ahead” technologies into current systems. In this manner, we are able to maintain combat overmatch while, at the same time, making the most efficient use of our research and development (R&D) and acquisition dollars. The cornerstones of this strategy are the digitization of the Army and other efforts to achieve dominant battlefield awareness. Investments in R&D are operationally evaluated in Advanced Warfighting Experiments (AWEs), Advanced Technology Demonstrations (ATDs), Advanced Concept and Technology Demon- strations (ACTDs), and the Army’s Battle Labs to minimize risk in shaping Army XXI and the AAN. We can then incrementally integrate proven technologies into the force through spiral development.3 This orderly and disciplined approach postures Army XXI to advance to the AAN and fulfill its goal of full-spectrum dominance in the 21st century. Figure 3 shows some of the factors that are driving force modernization.



In the near term (fiscal years 1998 through 2003), modernization is driven by the requirements to equip the First Digitized Division (FDD) by FY00 and field the First Digitized Corps (FDC) by FY04. The objective is to harness the power of digital information to provide U.S. commanders with dominant battlefield awareness—a decisive operational advantage over the adversary because they know much more about the adversary than the adversary knows about them.

The challenges for the near term will include—

Achieving information dominance will also require improve- ments in the manner in which we use and move graphical info- rmation. The objective must be achieving a more collaborative environment—a new twist to the “push-pull intelligence” philosophy enabled by the tactical internet. We often refer to this requirement  as a tactical extension of the ongoing Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Joint Intelligence Virtual Architecture (JIVA).

In the mid-term (FY04 through FY10), the increased volume of data and speed of transmission will demand the use of automated target recognition (ATR) capabilities to assist in the detection, classification, recognition, and identification of HPTs. The mid-term will also see a trend to integrate IEW systems further into one integrated intercept system, one integrated sensor system, one distributed common ground station, and one distributed fusion system that together incorporate all current systems. By 2010, the Army will exploit the Force XXI effort to achieve a complete technological and cultural transformation (see Figure 4). The IEW force will have more than a decade of experience, field exercises, and experimentation validating this information. This, coupled with continuing R&D programs, will create a knowledge-based force—Army XXI—which operates with a clarity of observation, degree of decentralization, and pace of decision making unparalleled in the history of warfare. To ensure the maintenance of this mental agility for the AAN, we will evaluate all intelligence- related programs in terms of how they meet the virtual operational intelligence collaborative environment (VOICE) criteria.


VOICE is the lens through which we evaluate all initiatives considered for implementation for integration into the IEW operating system. The acronym represents the functions listed below:


The long term (FY11 through FY25) focuses on the integration of IEW systems with command, control, and communications (C3) systems into one C3-IEW “system of systems.” This system will carry out the presentation, management, collection, processing, dissemination, transport, and denial of battlespace information. These capabilities will come from current and planned technology-based initiatives.


America’s Army is the world standard for military excellence and joint warfighting and will remain so into the 21st century. We acknowledge that current overmatch allows us to accept prudent risk in the near term. It is critical that we seize this opportunity to prepare for the next century, just as intelligence visionaries in the 1970s and 1980s prepared us for operations in the desert. We must further strengthen our capabilities by taking advantage of improved technology and the innovation of our people to prepare our forces.

The Army’s IEW modernization efforts will continue to guide the transformation of new concepts and new technologies into warfighting capabilities and allow Army commanders to achieve dominant battlefield awareness. By 2010, Army intelligence will achieve an order of magnitude increase in overall capability as it fields objective collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination systems. In the long term, we will provide the IEW force for the Army After Next.


1. Department of the Army, Army Modernization Plan, 1998, page 3.

2. Editor’s Note: A more comprehensive discussion of the patterns of operation and the seven tasks mentioned later in this article can be found in a serialized article by Captain Neal Wegner. It appeared in the April-June 1996, July-September 1996, and January-March 1997 issues of MIPB. Those issues are on our Internet web site at /welcome.htm or just,  then select MIPB.  

3. The idea of spiral development is to design-a-little, build-a-little, test-a-little. It describes a development process which has risk identification, assessment, and resolution as the basis for iteratively developing systems. Spiral development identifies risks associated with each stage of the development process and plans and executes their resolution. High-risk aspects of the process are identified and resolved early to minimize their potential impact on the development effort. Developers may not examine aspects with lower risk in as great of detail early on, since their resolution will not be as costly to the entire effort.

Colonel Alfred H. Elliott, III, is Chief of the Intelligence Electronic Warfare/Command and Control Countermeasures Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Department of Army. During his 29-year career, Colonel Elliott has served with Infantry, Armored Cavalry, Aviation, and Intelligence units throughout the United States, Germany, and the Republic of Vietnam. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Law from Lafayette College and a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from Our Lady of the Lake University. He is also a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Armor Officer Advance Course, Fixed and Rotary Wing Flight Schools, Command and General Staff College and the Army War College.