Training Maximization-Reserve MI Unit Structure
by Sergeant James D. Higday
Editors Note: The following article represents a suggested Reserve Component unit structure. This article does not necessarily represent actual or planned unit structures or the official policy of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
Like the weather, the Army is always changing. Another Reserve MI unit will disappear by December 1999, maybe earlier, and another Reserve soldier faces a choice continue to serve or leave the service. Most do not want the second choice and wish to continue to serve, but they must find a new unit that will meet their needs. This is becoming more difficult.
What are our needs? Reserve soldiers need to train. If called upon to supplement an Active unit, all any Reserve soldier wants to hear from the Active Component (AC) commander is job well done. However, the Reserve Component (RC) MI force needs to take a closer look at how we train and whether or not the current unit configurations are realistic to support the AC.
In reference to any RC MI unit, these questions must be answered
If the answer is no, never, or seldom to any of these questions, that unit will likely be eliminated. A Reserve unit must do all three or lose its relevance in supporting the total force. Increasingly, unit structure plays a critical role in a Reserve units ability to train.
New RC MI Unit Concept
The Reserve MI unit structure should blend intelligence analysts, counterintelligence (CI) agents, MI support technicians, etc., into one unit. Organizing each Reserve MI company into separate functional platoons (analysts, CI specialists, human intelligence specialists, technicians, etc.) allows the commander to conduct individual, collective, and soldier tasks training within the rigid time constraints of Reserve units (see Figure 1). It also enables the commander to support the AC exercises and live contingencies through flexible support packages, already tailored into functional elements.
As an example, I will describe the 631st Military Intelligence( MI) Company. The 631st MI Company is a new RC MI unit that will provide intelligence analysts and CI agents to the AC. Based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 631st directly complements the XVIIIth Airborne Corps through the 525th MI Brigade. This Company also supports the MI needs of the 82d Airborne Division.
The 631st MI Company has three detachments located away from Fort Bragg. They are
The 631st MI Company has four platoons at Fort Bragg
The structure of the 631st creates greater uniformity for company training. Each Reserve unit only has two days per month to conduct training. It is very difficult to plan training so that intelligence soldiers train not only on common soldier tasks, but also train to master their MOSs. Because the company is broken into platoons based on functional specialties, each platoon can conduct training separate from the othersblending soldier, individual, and collective training. Consistency in the routine is important. It is the consistency that, over time, allows all the platoons to achieve a fully trained status.
A sample weekend drill schedule might include the following. First platoon performs all support and staff functions for both drill days. The HQ soldiers train in their MOSs only, no extra duty.
Second Platoon spends the first drill day training on individual analysis skills such as All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) training. Third platoon trains within their analytical teams (collective training) and simulating a tactical operations center (TOC), sharpening their situation map (SITMAP) and symbology skills. Team members rotate positions and maintain their under- standing of the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and order of battle (OB) products. The analytical team leaders drill their teams on every aspect of IPB. The second and third platoons swap their training on the second drill day, with Third Platoon focusing on individual training and second platoon focusing on team training.
Fourth platoon trains in the field on common tasks, small squad tactics, force protection, land navigation, and terrain analysis (soldier skill training). They spend their drill weekend in the field from 2200 hours Friday night until 1500 hours Sunday. During the next months drill session, fourth platoon will conduct individual and collective training while another platoon focuses on field training.
Training schedules rotate each drill weekend. The 2d, 3d, and 4th platoons will spend at least three drill weekends in the field each year. All soldiers participate in a three-day exercise in the field with AC supervision. Each platoon has one full-time senior noncommissioned officer who is on AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) status to plan and assist team leaders during the drill weekend.
The 631st MI Company Detachments have similar training schedules, but on a smaller scale. Each detachments main focus will be on understanding the mission of its specific division, and how best to support that division. When the AC division receives an alert for a mission the RC detachment personnel will brief incoming additional RC MI soldiers on how that specific division performs its mission and then assist in smoothly integrating the RC MI assets into the division. For a unit such as the 631st MI Company to succeed, both the AC and RC commanders must have a complete understanding of what to expect and be willing to assist in the integration.
I Corps and III Corps will each have a similar RC MI support configuration, but this is not enough to provide complete RC MI support for the U.S. Army. Each specific theater command should have a similar supporting MI battalion. Each battalion will focus training and integrate linguist skills in order to be completely familiar with a specific theater. Every battalion will have a linguist company (organized by speciality) supporting the specific theater. Figure 2 shows a sample structure for a European Command linguist Company. Each company and platoon should train in a similar fashion to the 631st MI Company.
This is just one of many suggestions for AC and RC MI commanders. However, the RC MI comman- ders must focus on MOS training and realistic training integration with AC units in order for RC MI to maintain force relevance and soldier morale in order to support the total force.X
Sergeant Higday is the Information Systems Security Sergeant for the 505th MI Group (RC). He has had assignments with the 651st MI Company, 337th MI Battalion, and has also served with the former Sixth Army Counterdrug Task Force, and the 3d U.S. Army G2, Counterterrorism Crisis Action Team (two tours). Sergeant Higday holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from National University. He can be reached via E-mail at [email protected] com.