Airborne CMISE

The XVIII Airborne Corps needs unique intelligence support and gets it from INSCOM's Corps Military Intelligence Support Element airborne soldiers!

By Captain David P. Warshaw

    “CMISE soldiers are an essential part of the XVIII Airborne Corps' combat readiness. CMISE brings the soldier part of seamless intelligence support. Our CMISE soldiers represent all of INSCOM and our CMISE brings the best of INSCOM support to the XVIII Airborne Corps,” said Col. Richard E. Allenbaugh, XVIII Airborne Corps G2.

    The XVIII Airborne Corps, as the only airborne corps in the defense establishment of the United States, is the spear point for U.S. contingency operations. Each of its four specialized divisions has a unique combat capability which can be tactically tailored for any U. S. military operations. The corps' intelligence requirements are no exception; they are especially unique. The XVIII Airborne Corps Military Intelligence Support Element (CMISE) forms the nucleus of the corps' go-to-war intelligence capability.

    The Corps Military Intelligence Support Elements were formed to provide expanded strategic and reinforcing operational intelligence coverage. Since 1983, the Fort Bragg intelligence support element has provided echelons above corps intelligence liaison and support to Army Central Command contingency units on the post. It deployed in support of the XVIII Airborne Corps during Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM. In late 1993, the intelligence support element began the transition to a CMISE.

    Activated on Feb. 11, 1994, the XVIII Airborne CMISE provided echelons above corps intelligence capability focused on the XVIII Airborne Corps' specific warfighting requirements. The CMISE expanded the links with echelons above corps, theater and joint intelligence capabilities for peripheral areas of interest and other potential contingencies during XVIII Airborne Corps deployments.

    As the CMISE concept matured, so did the unit's ability to support the contingency corps. Today, the XVIII Airborne CMISE provides rapid deployable, all-source predictive intelligence and battlefield damage assessment. It also provides continuous sanctuary intelligence support, targeting support and maintenance of the corps current real-world intelligence database to the corps for world-wide multi-contingency operations.

    The 297th MI Battalion, 513th MI Brigade (headquartered at Fort Gordon, Ga.), INSCOM, serves as the XVIII Airborne CMISE's parent battalion. The 513th MI Brigade is uniquely qualified to provide the XVIII Airborne CMISE since it conducts theater level multi-discipline intelligence, electronic warfare, and information warfare operations by using tactically tailored, tiered deployment packages and split-based operations.

    The XVIII Airborne CMISE maintains a special command and control relationship with corps intelligence organizations, drawing administrative, logistical, and training support through its attachment to the 319th MI Battalion (Operations)(Airborne), 525th MI Brigade (Airborne).

    The XVIII Airborne CMISE is organized from both tables of distribution and allowances and modified tables of organization and equipment. Its configuration closely matches the XVIII Airborne Corps analysis and control element organization, with minor modifications which reflect airborne corps intelligence challenges. The CMISE consists of five sections and three elements. They include an operations/systems configuration section, intelligence production section, counterintelligence/human intelligence analysis section, collection management section, imagery support section, corps cryptologic support element, and a six-person deployable intelligence support element.

    In the operations section, the CMISE chief of operations and noncommissioned officer in charge provide the overall guidance and direction for all CMISE operational actions. The section coordinates taskings and requirements with the corps analysis and control element and interfaces with the CMISE headquarters for administrative and logistical support.

    This section assumes full control of sanctuary operations when the XVIII Airborne Corps analysis and control element deploys. Additionally, the systems configuration section element provides support for software, hardware and local area network operations for all CMISE sections. Soldiers work with the corps to exploit the all-source analysis system to an intelligence software interface, emerging software upgrades and overall communications architecture within the analysis and control element.

    Soldiers in the intelligence production section focus daily operations on corps tier countries. They update corps databases and prepare monthly information papers and briefings, using message traffic from a message handling system and intelligence products provided by national organizations. During sanctuary operations, soldiers in the intelligence production section prepare the corps commander's daily intelligence summary, backstop all corps tier countries and support any special projects or briefings required by XVIII Airborne Corps.

    Counterintelligence/HUMINT section soldiers provide monthly updates on selected corps tier countries and work with the corps counterintelligence analysis section to develop lists and biographies on selected countries and personalities. They also administer the CMISE security program, conduct joint world-wide intelligence communications system operations and assist the local resident office with agent support as requested. During sanctuary operations, this section manages the corps' counterintelligence message cues, provides terrorist updates, and supports deployed forces as required.

    The collection management section is closely integrated with the XVIII Airborne Corps collection management effort. Its soldiers track real world requirements, assist in operating the corps analysis and control element reference library and support the distribution of products both on and off Fort Bragg, N.C. During sanctuary operations, they maintain rapport with corps units while the analysis and control element is deployed. They continue to manage the daily corps requirements. Additionally, the corps has used CMISE personnel to fill critical shortages in the field for contingency and exercise deployments.

    The imagery support section's mission does not change when the corps deploys. It provides 90 percent of the manning for the corps imagery support team, which produces hard copy prints and conducts second and third phase imagery analysis. Working from Fort Bragg's imagery readiness facility, this section is the most productive cell. It has provided prints to forces deployed to Haiti, forces preparing to deploy on contingency operations and forces deployed on corps exercises.

    Working in the Fort Bragg signals intelligence readiness facility, the corps cryptologic support element includes a communications intelligence collection team and two regional analysis teams. Soldiers on the regional analysis teams screen signals intelligence messages daily to update databases and identify high profile reports for inclusion in a weekly signals intelligence update to the corps. They are always on the leading edge of technology, developing new and innovative ways of accessing information. Their goal is to access digital signals files provided by the Regional Signals Intelligence Operations Centers based upon division signals of interest.

    The corps cryptologic support element ensures files are available for division soldiers to work when their training schedule permits. This allows the XVIII Airborne Corps to guarantee commanders quality training for soldiers while providing priority intelligence requirement-driven focus to the mission. This element's close and continuous relationship with national agencies enables its soldiers to provide invaluable support to the corps in preparing for contingency operations and supporting current events. This section also exercises technical supervision over the XXVIII Airborne Corps CMISE homepage on INTELINK (for homepage information, contact Chief Warrant Officer Kimberly Swift at DSN 236-4454).

    Soldiers in the deployable intelligence support element support the XVIII Airborne Corps analysis and control element. During Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti, they proved their value added with automated databases loaded with analyst-driven software. During exercises, the intelligence support element supports for targeting and deep operations. The ability of the intelligence support element soldiers to track forces, provide targeting support and research high value targets greatly enhances the corps' ability to conduct deep operations. In many cases, these soldiers don parachutes and jump with the XVIII Airborne Corps assault command post to provide immediate intelligence support at the point of the battlefield spear. Integration of the all-source analysis system into all CMISE intelligence operations is critical to the unit's successful support.

    According to Allenbaugh, he “counts on our CMISE to always remain engaged in maintaining our operations plans databases. CMISE soldiers work the databases from our supported CINC's joint intelligence centers and provide an XVIIl Airborne Corps construct of the databases to our analysis and control element for transmission to divisions to load on their all-source analysis system.”

    The CMISE concept for support to XVIII Airborne Corps is a validated success. Among other accomplishments during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, the CMISE formed the nucleus of the Joint Task Force 180 Joint Intelligence Rear. The CMISE provided over 7,000 imagery products for deployed forces and deployed intelligence support elements to both the seaborne command post on the USS Mount Whitney and the ground command post in Port-au-Prince.

    CMISE soldiers also watched the XVIII Airborne Corps flanks when the corps deployed the majority of its intelligence analytical effort to the Haitian theater of operations. While the corps was deployed as a joint task force, CMISE soldiers provided the intelligence support and focus for the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (now 3d Infantry Division) deployment to Kuwait in response to a U.S. Central Command mission to deter Iraqi movement south toward the Kuwait border.


Capt. Warshaw is the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps Military Intelligence Support Element at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Return to Home Page Go to Journal Contents

   Last Updated: January 23, 1997