by Brigadier General John W. Smith


Editor's Note: Brigadier General Smith, Deputy Commanding General of United States Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, is Major General Thomas' guest writer for this quarter.
This issue focuses on Force XXI and many of the initiatives supporting military intelligence's (MI) transition to an intelligence force structure that can perform effectively on the 21st century battlefield. As you will see in the articles that follow, our battlefield operating system (BOS) is well postured in terms of having a vision of how MI will fight, in terms of having a grip on what the force structure should look like, and in terms of being actively engaged in the Army's Advanced Warfighting Experiments (AWEs).

Intel XXI A Training Challenge

Because Force XXI has been driven in many respects by technology, it is natural that much of the related discussion dwells upon digitization, automated fusion, advanced communications and the like. Accompanying the technological challenges, however, are the less frequently discussed, yet real set of training challenges. At the end of the day, the value of intelligence to the commanders we serve will still be measured in terms of whether or not intelligence "delivered the goods." Those judgements, of course, will be influenced by how well our systems work, but more importantly, they will be influenced by how well- trained we are.

The Primacy of Proficiency

What is essential is that we, as MI professionals appreciate and focus on the fact that while training has always been a key determinant in effective performance, its significance is going to dramatically increase in the Force XXI operational setting. In particular, Force XXI will place increasing value on MI professionals who are accomplished. But has not this always been the case? Yes, soldiers, leaders, and units will need proficiency in many of the same areas that required proficiency twenty years ago. What is new, though, is the need to demonstrate this proficiency under new, more difficult operational conditions. As Force XXI envisions decentralized, dispersed operations where forces concentrate combat power only at the decisive time and place, it is essential that intelligence be able to "deliver the goods" in this new, dynamic operational setting. As the first order of business, this requires a truly proficient MI force; that is, ones who can "do" versus ones who only understand what needs to be done in abstract terms.
While the Force XXI battlefield will place new demands on the competency of the MI professional, in many respects the words used to describe those competencies will not be new. Rather, the ability to "deliver the goods" under more challenging standards will be new. The old tried and true job requirements for the MI professional remain be an expert on friendly operations, on the intelligence BOS, and be a proficient analyst (the answer is not yet in the "bit bucket"). If anything must be added to the MI professional's kit bag, it will be the need for them to demonstrate proficiency in accessing and navigating (either as a leader or at the technical level) the multitude of networks and information sources that must be used in the global or military information networks to get needed information to the battle commander.
Even so, what does proficiency really mean? In a nutshell, it means practice. It means devising and structuring realistic training and then doing it! In Force XXI, it means that the intelligence force will have to be supported with better intelligence simulations and scenarios to drive home-station training and Battle Command Training Programs. It means that the combat training centers will need to adjust to allow for realistic intelligence to more effectively drive their training. But for most of you, it means that the real movers and shakers in Army intelligence units (the majors and lieutenant colonels, the senior noncommissioned officers, and the warrants) must actually take ownership for championing proficiency in their units by mandating tough training training that requires that everyone "walk the walk."

Schoolhouse-Unit Training

At Fort Huachuca, we are pursuing a host of initiatives to tackle the Intel XXI training challenges. Some, like distance-learning and others that fall loosely under the rubric of a "schoolhouse without walls" have been discussed here before. The thrust of these efforts, however, is to enable a more effective training partnership between the field and the school. Our overarching goal is the pursuit of training and training development that will allow an MI unit, an MI soldier, or an MI leader to legitimately claim that they are "ready now." This means that there can be no seam between training in the school and the unit, and it means that we should seek to do training developments just once; then, using technology, expeditiously export the results of those efforts to the field.
As we proceed along this path, we will be seeking your help to rapidly prototype some training by forming school-field partnerships on selected training efforts. In taking this tack though, it is essential that we see the training challenge through your eyes. To this end, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Send E-mail to me at smithj%[email protected] mil.
Prior to assuming his current position in October 1995, Brigadier General Smith was the Director, Intelligence Directorate (J2), U.S. Southern Command, Panama. Brigadier General Smith has commanded the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, VII Corps in Germany and later in Saudi Arabia during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM; the 104th Military Intelligence, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado; the 1st Military Intelligence Company, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas; and the Pittsburgh Field Office, Region III, 109th Military Intelligence Group.