Talk About Training
By Col. Robert R. Murfin
The 703d MI Brigade is a special purpose U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command unit, similar to some other INSCOM units in terms of mission and organization. As the Army component of the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center, the 703d is organized, staffed and equipped to perform a specific intelligence mission. The brigades mission is to conduct joint intelligence operations responsive to warfighter and national requirements, reinforce forward-based military intelligence units on order and operate the Regional Technical Control and Analysis Element.
As described in FM 25-101, Battle Focused Training, brigade, battalion and company commanders have developed mission essential task lists for their units. The lists include actions absolutely essential to accomplish their assigned portions of the brigades mission. Army doctrine and brigade training guidance give priority to training which supports these mission essential tasks. In fact, FM 25-100, enjoins us to do the essential things first. Each commander will have to determine wisely what is essential. Nonessentials should not take up time required for essentials.
in Time of War
Since we are continually engaged in our form of combat, we must be trained and ready to perform our mission and mission essential tasks literally each day. Some of these tasks (collection, production, and sustainment) are accomplished daily. Other tasks (integrating reservists or augmentees and deploying soldiers) are exercised or actually accomplished periodically, more frequently of late.
in Operational Units
The center of individual intelligence training in the 703d MI Brigade is a set of job qualification requirements. This is a specific group of critical individual tasks which have been developed and validated for most Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center duty positions. The J3 Training Department conducts or arranges for individual skill instruction which trains job qualification requirements tasks to standard when coupled with on-the-job training. The J3 Joint Language Center provides language training. The J2 and J6 organize security and automation training which satisfies operational Regional SIGINT Operations Center requirements and meets Army standards. The 703d MI Brigade maximizes joint training opportunities and intentionally avoids duplication of training offered by the Regional SIGINT Operations Center. While much training is conducted in the joint environment, commanders are still responsible and accountable for ensuring the training and readiness of their soldiers.
While mandatory tasks, conditions and standards are specified, commanders have significant latitude regarding how often, and with what intensity, to conduct such training. Establishing the units "band of excellence" for training (including required training) is the commanders responsibility.
Army training doctrine explicitly recognizes that units and individual soldiers cannot attain proficiency in every Army task. Commanders are directed to narrow the focus to a reduced number of vital tasks essential to mission accomplishment. The band of excellence for each type of training or training event should be consistent with, and supportive of, each units mission essential tasks list.
For example, unit physical training objectives for an MI company in a divisional battalion are likely to be very different from a company of the 703d MI Brigade. The mission essential tasks lists, battle tasks and conditions under which task are to be performed are wholly dissimilar. Both units conduct physical training, and the tasks, conditions and standards of the Army Physical Fitness Test are the same for all. Individual soldiers in each unit should strive for a high level of fitness to improve their individual readiness and health. However, the divisions MI battalion logically requires a higher level of unit fitness than the 703d MI Brigade. Similarly, the type, frequency and intensity of most training will be different for companies with different mission essential tasks lists. Commanders of each unit focus training on the battle their unit fights. For the 703d MI Brigade, this battle is our day-to-day operational mission in support of regional warfighters.
of Army Civilians
The unit mission essential tasks lists drive training in the 703d MI Brigade with priority to training focused on our battle and based on our approved unit mission essential tasks lists. This is Army doctrine. It is the brigades standard. It is the way we conduct training.
Col. Robert R. Murfin is the former commander of the 703d MI Brigade, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. He is presently assigned to the National Security Agency as the director of the National Security Operations Center.
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Last Updated: July 02, 1997