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Thread: Company Level Intelligence Led Operations

  1. #1
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    Default Company Level Intelligence Led Operations

    I'm about to take my company to Afghanistan next month, to an independent location away from my usual chain of command - great for autonomous command! - but will equally be very short on Int and surveillance assets other than what actionable stuff my guys and I can gather from our own framework patrolling. Linking in and making friends with all our allied and agency neighbours will be critical. Does anyone have any top tips about how I can optimise my processes, and achieve more focussed results. Gathering atmospherics is one thing...getting multi-source info properly analysed and turned into target packs at company level is another. My platoon commanders are all very green, likewise my company intel cell. My instinctive approach is slowly slowly catchee monkey - all the good Kilcullen 28 article stuff - but the last time I did this was Iraq, and at Div/ Bde level. Grateful for any pointers.

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    You've probably seen many of these considerations before, but here goes:

    -Your smartest NCO should be the intel cell leader. He must have an aptitude for for data, statistics, faces, etc. A guy who follows sports scores and stats closely often proves to be the best choice.
    -Build the depth required to operate the intel cell if one or two members take ill, are wounded, or simply need a break. The same folks cannot do it every day, on their own. They can fall into a rut of the same pattern, start to get sloppy, and worst of all, make mistakes that causes the men on the line to miss subtle things in the field. Along that line, one of the most critical things can be a Be-On-The-Lookout (BOLO) list. Any changes have to be promulgated to the maneuver elements as soon as possible.
    -In the last few weeks you have to train and prepare, analyze the operations debrief script that your intel cell will work from when a patrol comes in. Sit back and ask yourself whether the information the script attempts to collect is actually beneficial. Put another way, are patrols going to be compiling information to satisfy a debrief, or compiling information and atmospherics that could facilitate follow-on missions in the field, and in-stride?
    -Organize your command post to utilize both old school hardcopy and electronic target folders, as well as map, pen, and paper mission planning alongside your electronic planning tools. The enemy does not care that the generator just cut out.
    -Train throughout the deployment, and keep personnel informed about not only your slice of the AO, but also the bigger picture of events that have occured elsewhere that may have an impact on your region (especially where transient bad guys may take up residence in your AO).
    -Get your intel cell, battle captains/NCOs, and any other command post personnel out on aleaders reconnaissance, or at least out and about with a patrol once in a while. It goes a long way towards maintaining their situational awareness, perspective, and grasp of what the maneuver elements are dealing with every day. They should go out at least once a month, and preferably to all of the sectors within your AO.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I guess you've seen these:


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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    http://smallwarsjournal.com/referenc...insurgency.php

    The Small-Unit Leader's Guide to Counterinsurgency (one of the links on the page above) is also a very solid guide, and speaks to the intel-focused things you seem to be concerned about.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Go to CALL and look at the Company-level Stability Operatios and Support Operations series of newsletters. We used Brit TTPs heavily in Vols 1 and 3 by the way.

    Vol 1 Command and Control--heavy on organizing for COIN
    Vol 2 peacekeeping, EBo, and Security
    Vol 3 Patrolling, Int, and IO
    Vol 4 Counter-IED Ops
    Vol 5 VBIEDs, Elections, PSDs
    Vol 6 Tactical Marksmanship, Sniper, Counter-Sniper

    Vol 7 will be COIN and Organizing for COIN with new material reemphasizing Vols 1 and 3.

    See also Newsletter 07-01 Tactical Intelligence

    Again go to Call and log on.

    Best

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 09-05-2007 at 06:08 PM.

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Default don't forget....

    http://coin.army.mil

    It also has the links to the CALL compilation of COIN knowledge. If you need specific research advice and work from CALL send me a PM.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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    Council Member Erick's Avatar
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    From my limited perspective, I'm very glad to see you'll have a co intel cell.

    We were quite close to the flag pole but ended up developing the position of a co intel nco on our own. Being a NG entity and having a decent number of police officers / deputy sheriffs, many of whom had investigative experience, we had a group to draw from.

    It was a fledgling effort, more could've been done but it was better than what we inherited.

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    Been here a month. Fascinating op environment, esp the MN interaction piece. Many thanks for the advice and support from all.

    C

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    Not wanting to be all take and no give, this is the simple Int Collection plan we're using. It appears cyclical but is not; several phases take place in parallel, but it gives a framework (with thanks to Dave Kilcullen's 28 Articles..).

    Phases. The following Phases will be executed to direct intelligence gathering efforts:

    Phase 1.

    Confirm what we think we know.

    Take over existing relationships

    Assess atmospherics and consent.

    Report changes.

    Phase 2.

    Pursue answers to unknown questions.

    Identify potential targets.

    Develop Target Packs.

    Identify Pattern of Life.

    Phase 3.


    Confirm Targets.

    Establish Triggers

    Exploit information from operations.

    Reassess (return to Phase 1 Q 1)

    Patrol Taskings. The Coy IO will generate specific intelligence tasks which will be allocated to patrols by Coy HQ.

    Patrol Preparation. Detailed research on all available information held prior to patrols deploying is vital to ensure the patrol is able to judge developments in their target areas. The POC for area info is the IO.

    Reporting. An initial hot debrief will be conducted by the IO following each patrol’s return. Patrol reports are to be submitted within 3 hrs of conclusion of hot debrief.

    Very basic indeed, but basic is good in a rifle company where complex processes get bypassed or ignored. I've tried to distill the various areas of good advice into something more manageable.

    C
    Last edited by Coldstreamer; 12-10-2007 at 05:20 PM. Reason: Ack influences

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    Default Targeting

    Targeting follows from collection, and merely serves to review:

    Kinetic (kill or capture) targets (who? where? what evidence? what effect?)

    Effects - 4 D's - Deter,Disrupt, Detain, Develop (more intel for subsequent ops - either by us or other agencies)

    Non Kinetic targets (HA dropoff, CIMIC/CMA activities)

    Effects - 4 Rs - Reassure (that we're there in local interests), Relieve (suffering, poverty), Regain (trust, consent, support, lost networks), Reinforce (Own FP through local sympathy/goodwill)

    Harmonisation of the two (use NK activity to gather info on objectives or to conduct consequence managament after harder activities) and deconfliction to ensure mixed messages aren't being sent.

    Slight risk of inventing my own doctrine on the hoof, but it seems to work for us!

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    Marine Corps Times, 18 Jan 08: Corps Creates Intel Cells at Rifle-Company Level
    ....The C-LIC initiative, launched under the direction of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in Quantico, Va., will soon be battle-tested by California-based 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, on its next Iraq deployment, slated for early 2008.

    Today’s irregular warfare, with its lack of a uniformed enemy, makes intelligence gathering vital for enemy identification. To adapt to the emerging threat, infantry companies often create their own versions of ad hoc intelligence cells, said Vince Goulding, director of experimentation plans at the Warfighting Laboratory. But those individual efforts have been piecemeal, because the Corps had no standard training or equipment available, he said.

    The new initiative for pushing intelligence analysis know-how down to the lower echelons, however, is about to change all that. Rifle companies will now be able to assess, analyze and disseminate information that they typically had relied on battalion or regimental command to produce.....

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Got the word that Company-level Stability Ops, VOL 7, COIN is going up today (maybe tomorrow) at CALL. It contains 2 SWJ contributions: the first is an extract of the long piece we did on Kicullen's 28 articles Captains Kranc and Holzbach contributing; the second was CPT (nopw MAJ) Gwinn's Organizing for COIN at the Company and Platoon, first published on SWJ blog.

    Best

    Tom

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    Jan-Feb 08 Fires Bulletin: Organize for Intelligence: Company Intelligence Cells in COIN
    ....More military intelligence Soldiers are needed to support companies within tactical battalions. Further, the need for enough “boots on the ground” to maintain effective coverage of and presence in a company AO makes it unlikely that a company commander could pull enough personnel away from line platoons to maintain a robust company intelligence cell. The solution to this dilemma lies in the company fire support team (FIST).

    It is the company FIST’s versatility that makes it ideal to form the foundation of a company intelligence cell. In the COIN operations currently underway in Iraq and in addition to their traditional fire support tasks, FSOs and fire support NCOs (FSNCOs) are expected to assume responsibility at the company level for any or all of the following: targeting, air-ground integration, information operations, civil-military operations, psychological operations, employing enablers, public affairs and other functions. Effectively, company FSOs and FSNCOs in a COIN environment are fusion cells unto themselves. That being the case, it is not at all a stretch for the FSO or FSNCO to assume the intelligence role within the company.....

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Had this discussion at the last SWC Leavenworth get-together.

    Agree a company needs an intel cell. In a pinch, and if available, the FS Team can fill it. Unless your FSNCO is not up to the job, like mine was.

    Very few companies have an FSO in OIF. They've all been changed into platoon leaders of artillerymen acting as dismounted infantry.

    I'd really like to see an analyst and a HUMINT guy added into each company - the first to process info higher and lower, and the second would give the commander the ability to run sources legally.
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    I'd really like to see an analyst and a HUMINT guy added into each company - the first to process info higher and lower, and the second would give the commander the ability to run sources legally.
    One man cannot run a source. He can't identify, recruit, train, operate (task, monitor and debrief) and protect/recover an agent. All one guy can do is debrief someone once in a while. That means sit and chat. - what is more, a few armies cannot legally engage in agent handling operations, because of human rights legislation.

    IMO Companies should focus on gathering for higher analysis and exploiting what is fed down to them. Coy level int is really a liaison task. There is no harm in having a specialist detachment at the Company level, but they are specialists, trained in Intelligence.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen
    One man cannot run a source. He can't identify, recruit, train, operate (task, monitor and debrief) and protect/recover an agent. All one guy can do is debrief someone once in a while......
    There are significant differences between fully structured agent ops and low-level source ops of the type that Cavguy is referring to. In neither case does "one man" truly run the op on his own. There has to be infrastructure in place to support him. However, at the tactical level, if that infrastructure is in place above Co level, then "one man" can do the job.

    The caveat is that it would require an experienced HUMINT NCO to be effective. And even with the expansion of the field, there are nowhere near enough HUMINT NCOs - and even fewer with the appropriate experience - to provide effective fill.

    Aside from manning issues, there will be no further discussion of the nuts and bolts of source ops on this board.

    Thanks,

    Ted

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    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    Thanks Jed, I wasn't specific enough in my post.

    I certainly believe the section as a whole must be bigger, I was mainly referring to the actual MI based augmentation, at a minimum. I'd like more, but a few actual MI NCO's plus platoon level intel augmentees can do it.

    Good catch on the source. What you stated was what I meant, forgetting that "source running" to a CO CDR isn't the same as to a pro. I basically meant being able to recruit and pay informants, and give them low level tasks. THT's have this ability, but there aren't enough to go around, so the commander winds up "running" these low level sources, even though it's technically illegal. Having a HUMINTer (even better a team) in the company would allow him to create and develop informants in a more professional manner, and provide the expertise into keeping him out of trouble.

    (trying to stay "above the line" in the discussion)
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    I basically meant being able to recruit and pay informants, and give them low level tasks. THT's have this ability, but there aren't enough to go around, so the commander winds up "running" these low level sources, even though it's technically illegal. Having a HUMINTer (even better a team) in the company would allow him to create and develop informants in a more professional manner, and provide the expertise into keeping him out of trouble.
    This indicates a vast problem area, based on my experience, but I am not sure how I can usefully comment given Jedburgh's prescription - WHICH I FULLY AGREE WITH as concerns intent.

    About all I can say is IMO, this is not something the company level should be involved in. I guess I'll leave it at that.
    Last edited by William F. Owen; 02-25-2008 at 03:16 PM. Reason: to add [B]WHICH I FULLY AGREE WITH as concerns intent[/B]
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    It kind of sounds like you all do it differently in the military than we did it in law enforcement. From the sounds of it you all have large centralized authority that takes in from a variety of channels information and feeds that down to the unit/solider level. In law enforcement an officer/detective receives information and feeds "some" of that information up into either a detective bureau or now I guess Fusion Centers (though those may be going away). My experience obviously is at the bottom of that chain, but our expected effectiveness was at the localized or even patrol area. Since I worked in the court/corrections bureau we interviewed prisoners for housing assignments and gained some valuable/actionable intelligence on near feudal associations. I'm likely way off base and my knowledge is several years out of date. It seems like if you are dealing with an insurgency that is a distributed, and loosely organized entity, that a distributed intelligence apparatus with centralized reporting would be much better.
    Sam Liles
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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    selil, you head the nail on the head. Good LE Intel is run from the street up to the top. Which then can be added to the big picture, which sometime never comes back down but at least they know about it.

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