The I Corps Military Intelligence Support Element (I-CMISE) operates from a fixed site with a fixed focus: provide information superiority to warfighters.

By Major Jeffrey O.B. Conover

    “The CMISE is a vital part of the I Corps intelligence team and is doing a great job as the Corps' primary link to the national intelligence system,” said Col. David J. Oberst, I-Corps G2. “Over the past two years, the I-CMISE has developed impressive area expertise and built an extensive network of contacts throughout the Pacific area of responsibility. Whether supporting real world deployments, providing daily intelligence updates or participating in exercises as part of the Joint Task Force, the I-CMISE always delivers a first class product tailored to meet the needs of the consumer.”

    Part of the reason for the success of the I-CMISE lies in the original planning for tailoring intelligence support to warfighters. The planning solidified when the Corps Military Intelligence Support Element Concept of Operations (CONOPS) was published by the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in April 1992. The publication, the base document for CMISE, left no doubt about its focus: “The mission of the Corps Military Intelligence Support Element (CMISE) is to reinforce the Corps commander's organic intelligence capabilities and to support the execution of his intelligence exploitation and production mission. The CMISE concept enhances support to the corps commander during peacetime, contingency and campaign planning, and during military operations. It gives the commander the means to establish and maintain direct tasking and requesting channels with the echelons above corps units and through echelons above corps, to departmental and national level intelligence sources.”

    The shifting of the U.S. Army from a forward-deployed force to a U.S. based, deployable Army which can meet a variety of threats forces corps to prepare for a wider range of operations. CONOPS writers recognized that, despite the best efforts of national-level intelligence agencies and theater joint intelligence centers, those organizations cannot meet all of a tactical commander's detailed requirements. CMISE became the link the Corps G2 needed to close the gap of intelligence between echelons above corps and echelons corps and below.

    The I-CMISE activated at Fort Lewis, Washington, in June of 1994 with four objectives:

I-CMISE Objectives

  1. Provide mission oriented, tactical and operational all-source intelligence in support of the I Corps G2.
  2. Intelligence effort and managing the I Corps Commanding General's immediate information and IEW requirements.
  3. Facilitate direct and timely intelligence interoperability with national, joint, combined, allied and US Army echelons, as dictated by mission requirements.
  4. Assume responsibility for the intelligence support base during split-based operations.

    The I-CMISE provides the G2 with robust connectivity to national and theater level intelligence organizations. Because it works with these organizations on a daily basis, the I-CMISE has become the I Corps G2's expert on joint and echelons above corps intelligence operations.

    The I-CMISE also takes the lead in creating a number of intelligence products to support I Corps and its subordinate and tenant units. The I-CMISE produces a weekly collateral intelligence update, a weekly black book (an SCI version of the weekly collateral intelligence update), a thrice-weekly collateral intelligence read file for the corps staff, and a daily SCI read file for the G2. The I-CMISEalso creates other intelligence reports and products focusing on specific issues and areas. Almost all of these products are available on the I Corps homepage on the INTELINK at:


    The CONOPS publication specifies the echelons above corps MI brigade which provides the CMISE. The 500th MI Brigade, an INSCOM brigade headquartered at Camp Zama, Japan, supports I Corps by providing the I-CMISE. The 205th MI Battalion at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, is the I-CMISE's battalion headquarters. The 205th MI Battalion's Company A also serves as the U.S. Army Pacific analysis and control element with which the I-CMISE works in close coordination. Because the I-CMISE is remote from its brigade and battalion, the 201st MI Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash., and its 502nd MI Battalion, provide administrative and logistical support.

    Because each corps has different operational requirements, the CONOPS publication states each CMISE will configure to meet the specific needs of its corps. The I-CMISE is a table of distribution and allowances organization, and the smallest of all CMISE units. Its configuration mirrors the I Corps analysis and control element in its major functions. While it mirrors the analysis and control element's functions, it does not mirror its strength. Most of the sections, with the exceptions of collection operations and the imagery section, are only one or two deep in staffing (see diagram on page 15).

    The I-CMISE compensates for the austere staffing by creative and aggressive use of Reserve Component soldiers. The 319th MI Brigade at Fort Lewis, Wash., has a traditional relationship with the 500th MI Brigade. The 319th has created a “shadow” CMISE which augments the I-CMISE during crises or extended I Corps deployments. The 319th MI Brigade's CMISE soldiers work on missions in support of I Corps (with I-CMISE guidance). In return, the I-CMISE soldiers assist them in perfecting their skills. The reserve soldiers train by doing with the I-CMISE; they provide a vital component of the I-CMISE's support to I Corps. On any given day, reserve soldiers (many on extended active duty) are working with I-CMISE soldiers.

    Agreements with the U.S. Navy at Bremerton, Wash., help to further augment I-CMISE personnel. When large surface ships make port for refit and overhaul, the I-CMISE provides training and operational experience to the intelligence sections of their crews. Currently, sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln work side by side with the I-CMISE all-source analysis and production section soldiers. The I-CMISE has also developed a strong working relationship with a Reserve Component joint photographic intelligence unit (JICPAC 1689), also located at Fort Lewis. This further enhances the I-CMISE's joint expertise and expands the sailors' horizons. “I am proud to be able to say I have worked with the best (I-CMISE All- Source),” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jina J. Hedge of the USS Abraham Lincoln. “I've never worked with such a group of professionals. The NCOs here really care for their people. I am glad I got a taste of what real intelligence analysis should be.”

    The I-CMISE operates in an overwatch role for I Corps on a daily basis. The I Corps analysis and control element is decisively engaged in the Corps' robust exercise schedule and training for its tactical mission. Consequently it cannot devote the time and resources necessary to provide the G2 with a detailed daily picture of the world.

    I Corps soldiers are deployed worldwide, in every theater. The I-CMISE keeps the G2 and I Corps commander informed of the situations where Corps soldiers are deployed, as well as traditional areas of focus for the Corps. The primary focus for the Corps is the Pacific Rim, specifically northeast Asia. The all-source analysis and production section is organized in sections to concentrate on the Pacific Rim and Korea, as well as Overwatch. The Overwatch section looks at all other potential hot spots or areas where I Corps has soldiers deployed.

    “It is extremely satisfying to actually produce products that make a difference,” said Capt. David H.C. Lee, the all source production section chief. “Our unit is focused, our soldiers are trained, and we are better because of it.”

    Another section which assists in these missions is the Corps' signal intelligence readiness facility. The facility is staffed and operated by the I-CMISE professionals. These soldiers provide vital insight into likely areas where the Corps could be deployed, as well a contributing to national collection priorities.

    “Being assigned...is a great experience for any military intelligence soldier,” said Sgt. Shawn J. Clement. “The environment provided by this command allows soldiers the opportunity to work several missions that are vital to this Corps.”

    Working in the signal intelligence readiness facility also provides valuable experience in briefing for junior soldiers. Each week, soldiers brief the 201st Brigade commander and other senior Corps officers on the week's signal intelligence events. This helps to instill confidence and develop the younger soldiers' communications skills.

    If the analysis and control element deploys for a contingency, the I-CMISE soldiers ensure the element's knowledge bases are current. The analysis and control element may be engaged in training or exercise, unable to devote its attention to possibly remote problems. The assumption is the I-CMISE has been tracking a situation since it was first identified.

    If the Corps is notified for deployment, the I- CMISE will provide an initial data transfer to the analysis and control element. The I-CMISE will continue to collect and process, and transfer information to the analysis and control element as it prepares to deploy. Until the analysis and control element is prepared to accept the battle, the I-CMISE will be a main source of information for the Corps G2. Once the analysis and control element is established, the I-CMISE will turn its attention to aspects of the operation deeper in space and time while the analysis and control element focuses on the immediate situation. The I-CMISE will also supply intelligence to follow-on forces that may mobilize at Fort Lewis.

    If I Corps deploys as a joint task force headquarters, the I-CMISE may be called on to send a small team forward with the analysis and control element. This team will provide immediate expertise in managing theater assets and requesting assistance from national agencies and collectors. It also would serve as the nucleus of a political/military/economic analysis cell for the J2.

    The I-CMISE operates from a fixed site in the support base (the intelligence operations facility at Fort Lewis). This permits the I-CMISE to take advantage of its extensive automation suite and connectivity to the national intelligence community. In tandem, the I-CMISE's personnel and facility provide the G2 with a force multiplier which far outweighs its actual numbers.

    The I-CMISE provides a unique capability to the I Corps G2. It allows the G2 to look in many areas at once: exercise support, support to deployed soldiers and emerging trouble spots. Over the past two years, INSCOM soldiers have grown the I-CMISE into a premiere example of support to the warfighter.

    “When I was assigned to the I-CMISE, I came from a primarily tactical background. I was the `hands on' map board-type of analyst,” said Sergeant Robert H. Sanker of the all source production section. “Two years in the CMISE has given me a wealth of computer related skills and has lessened my aversion to automation. A current ad states, `We move at the speed of business! In I-CMISE we move quite a bit faster!”

Maj. Jeffrey O.B. Conover is the chief of collection management and operations, I-CMISE.

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   Last Updated: January 23, 1997