Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin

Tailoring the MI Basic Load

by Captain Jeremy M. Dick
The U.S. Forces Haiti (USFH) Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) supports the commander by providing indications and warnings, monitoring and reporting threat capabilities and intentions, and producing intelligence. There is a variety of equipment both table of distribution and allowances (TDA) and non-TDA that the JIC uses to accomplish these missions. This article focuses on some of the non-TDA equipment that can significantly enhance collection, production, and dissemination of intelligence in operational environments similar to those in Haiti.
In a war, intelligence operations follow basic doctrine. The equipment used is, for the most part, standard. For operations in areas such as Haiti and Somalia, there is some basic off-the-shelf equipment that can aid in collecting and processing intelligence. Because 80 percent of usable intelligence in these environments is derived from open sources, most of the equipment is geared toward that end.

Television and Radio

In Haiti, people are key terrain. The JIC uses a television set for watching Cable News Network (CNN), local Haitian news, and special events. Because Haitians tend to be opinionated, television is extremely useful for getting the general public's interest, attitudes and feelings about our military presence and operations in Haiti. Television also lets Haitians give their perceptions of the status of their economic and social situation. By using a video cassette recorder and player, the JIC can record items such as news events and speeches for playback, translation, and dissemination.
Monitoring daily radio broadcasts is also important because many news items are not covered daily on television stations. Also, the radio is the medium of choice in Haiti for influencing public opinion. It is "near-real time" and enables the JIC to get another viewpoint.
The JIC uses an off-the-shelf Bearcat scanner to monitor U.S. and United Nations (U.N.) and police communications, and to cross-queue patrols. This gives the J2 access to a wider range of information sources. It can also help to confirm or deny initial reports.
A computer video-capture card allows the JIC to print quality pictures from videotape for planning purposes. For example, the JIC can convert a television clip to a picture for use in a biographic report.


A camera's utility cannot be overstated. The majority of imagery in Haiti is pre-invasion (such as significant military facilities like airfields, command and control facilities, and power stations). Although the imagery is useful, it is classified secret and not authorized for foreign dissemination in many cases because of the source. It therefore cannot be distributed to our U.N. counterparts.
Several handheld cameras are essential. Hand receipting a camera to force protection (counterintelligence and human intelligence teams, Special Operations Task Force teams, or helicopter passengers, can provide much needed information. Soldiers not experienced in using 35-mm cameras should use fully automatic cameras. This helps the novice photographer take fewer over- or under-exposed pictures from poor lighting. One of the most important cameras the J2 should have is a 35-mm digital camera with a telephoto lens of at least 70 mm x 200 mm. A digital camera is preferable over a regular camera because the operator can quickly download its electronic images to a computer for immediate use.
For standard photography, a photolab on site to develop film ensures quick turnaround times. Where no military photographic support exists, the use of color film will simplify getting quick prints when necessary. It is easier and quicker to get color film developed on the Haitian economy than black-and-white. Also, most scanners can easily convert to gray scale with little loss in resolution.
Video cameras are extremely useful for terrain walk familiarization when it is not feasible to visit an area. For example, the Bangladeshi contingent used a video camera for planning during a U.N. operation. Additionally, in many cases, the presence of a video camera deters crowds from conducting hostile acts. Haitian crowds have refrained from violence for fear of being identified and possible retaliation.

Software and Modems

Microsoft Access is a relational database software program that enables the JIC to keep track of intelligence reports. The software is extremely useful for several reasons.It is off-the-shelf technology; is economical, user-friendly, almost universally known; and can be placed on a local area network system for everyone's use.
Force protection teams use software extensively. Operators and analysts can make keyword searches on all spot reports back to September 1991 (the earliest reportsgenerated from the U.S. intervention.) They can instantly retrieve personality profiles and biographies.
A future JIC project is to catalog spot reports into various categories, such as assassinations, murders, demonstrations, locations, etc. The commander may ask "which incidents have occurred at location x, y, z within the last two years" or "give me everything you have on political assassinations."
A computer modem with access to the Internet is a necessity. We can download satellite weather images, stateside forecasts, and storm warnings on a daily basis to provide current forecasts. Updates from the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service are directly available on the Internet for instantaneous updates.
Information on Haiti's history, geography, culture, political leaders, holidays, and so forth, is also readily available. The Federal Broadcast Information Service, Reuters, Haitian local papers, CNN, even access to the Library of Congress and Defense Information Technological Service (for example, War College Papers) are all accessible through the Internet.

Scanners and Printers

Using a high quality scanner, the JIC scanned photographs taken by handheld cameras from helicopters into a Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS). Using JDISS, the JIC was able to manipulate shading, add annotations, and transmit the images to subordinate units. In some cases, we used a scanner and a high-resolution printer to produce quality images for planning purposes. This enables multiple reproduction with minimal loss of clarity.
Laser printers (resolutions of 600 x 600 dots per inch preferred) proved invaluable for producing quality, legible images for planning purposes. A color laser printer for printing JDISS images would also be useful.


To significantly enhance a JIC's capabilities, bring a television set, videocassette recorders, radio, Bearcat scanner, cameras (digital and single lens reflex, photolab equipment, color film), scanner, video camera, computer video capture card, laser printers, relational database software program, and access to the Internet. These items are available as off-the-shelf technology and require minimal training to operate. By being innovative, the JIC in Haiti is able to increase its capabilities and continues to be "Always Out Front."
Captain Dick is the S3 Operations Officer, 525th MI Brigade (Corps) (Airborne), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He served as the J2 Operations Officer, Joint Task Force Haiti, from September to November 1995. Readers can reach him at (910) 396-6574, DSN 236-6574, or E-mail