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Thread: Company Level Intelligence Led Operations

  1. #101
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    Cheers for all the replies, folks! Various PMs sent.

  2. #102
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    Default Thanks for the invite

    Gents, a pleasure to be welcomed aboard this inner sanctum.

    Hopefully I can offer something here and there. By way of brief background, I served in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, as an all source J2 analyst (NCO) attached to 3 Commando Brigade between Sep 08 and Apr 09. Our particular cell had reasonably comprehensive access to closed source reporting from various collection agencies and our role was simply to analyse it and attempt to answer the commander's questions. Our outlook was somewhat more strategic than tactical, so perhaps I'm not the chap to ask about TTPs, but we produced as much output on politics as we did the insurgency. I worked on a variety of topics whilst deployed, in simplistic list form I would say regional influences (Iran, Pak), reconciliation, the insurgency/narco 'nexus,' Quetta and senior leadership matters and part way through the tour, influence ops (we were unbelievably bad at this, by the way), took up most of my time.

    I've also got some thoughts about pre deployment training for int personnel and how the whole J2 things works (or doesn't) and I might also have some unclass powerpoint presentations lying around somewhere from briefs I've given since. I'm not in the same line of work now, unfortunately, so there may be some gaps in knowledge which have developed, but I'm only too keen to impart whatever I can.

    Again, it's a pleasure to be aboard.

  3. #103
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I am very interested in your thoughts about the training for intelligence personnel, as I am struggling to light a fire under my intelligence section and the OIC to get something going in the right direction...and I'm having a very tough time getting him steered straight.

    If you could review this article: http://tiny.cc/JmFa9, either through your own assessment or recommendation of this article to former counterparts who could lend a hand, and then confirm whether it fits the Helmand situation, that would help me considerably.

    Also, you used the term "influence ops." Could you provide more detail as to what that means?

    Oh, and welcome aboard. Your background seems remarkably a lot like mine when I first started out.
    Last edited by jcustis; 12-08-2009 at 08:16 AM. Reason: .

  4. #104
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    jcustis,

    Hi, when I click the link you give it takes me to a map of villages under Taleban control, I'm not sure that's quite what I should be looking at. I'm only too happy to have a look at the article you mention.

    Influence ops - Good question! I had next to no guidance on this, but in general, the idea was to look for opportunities to launch non-kinetic, 'soft effects' operations designed to cause disruption. It might be easier to provide examples.

    The first job I worked on was an instance where a commander had been killed and the fighters beneath him effectively split into two separate networks. It was decided that this could be an 'in' and if we could stick the needle in somewhere, it might be to our advantage. So from the J2 point of view I was required to do the initial analysis, including comprehensive views of how we got to where we are, what might be the results of a certain course of action. The J3/5 side of it was left to someone far better paid than me. That op did launch but we didn't receive any reporting to give us a clue as to whether or not it had been successful. The time these things take to get in full swing, the red tape, the legalese, is not to the advantage of influence ops given that the dynamic you want to affect might disappear as quickly as it turned arrived.

    Another was reports of Baluch fighters turning up in Central Helmand. Locals had a derogatory nickname for them and someone, somehwere, thought this might be a good place to stick a needle. Foreign fighters were uniformly unpopular amongst locals. A third example was an individual in Gereshk who was understood to be a disruptive, rogue sort of figure. The possibility of looking at a way to see if we could get him promoted was investigated.

    In the broader sense there was no doctrine on how to do influence and the kinetically minded people did not necessarily see it as particularly worthy. I fact, I was in one meeting (sat quietly at the back) when influence was being discussed and one officer said 'well, if you kill someone you influence them, which is why influence should be a sub set of fires.' The idea that targeting was targeting was targeting meant that my direction was to replicate the process for preparing a kinetic target for the influence ones, which seemed bizarre to me. Influence is terifically more complicated, with endless potential for different desired effects, various dynamics subject to constant change, it may be aimed at a collective rather than an individual. Call me old fashioned, but kinetic targeting really only has one desired effect and applying its doctrine to influence ops is inappropriate.

    All this could be addressed with solid 'soft effects' doctrine behind it. They tried to run before they could walk. It might be better now, but it was crap when I was there.

  5. #105
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default on influence ops....

    Okay, I hate to say it, but that is just a dumb way to run influence ops! If you have to use a targeting analogy to sell it, then a better one would be to target neuron chains in an individuals' brain or target other people's perceptions of that person.

    Woland, you're certainly correct that influence ops are a lot harder that kinetic ops but, still, they aren't that hard to do in practice (hey, I've been doing them on the civilian side for 30 years now under various headings: politics, teaching, market research, music, etc.).

    The first step is pretty much always the same: figure out the rules that structure the areas "stories", both "mundane", day-today stuff (think real life soap operas) and "special situations" (think warrior ethos stories). That gives you the base structure after you've got ~50 stories in each main area. Then you figure out which ones are valorized and which ones are denigrated. Analyze the key differences between those, and that gives you your wedge point. Now look at the decision points that shift the emotional vector, and that should give you your content for the wedge. This lays out your general plan in overall terms.

    Now, to operationalize it, you need a credible way for ascribing specific choices, or an interpretation of those choices, to your target. Sometimes that can be pretty simple: for example, the more "serious" a person is, the easier they are to hit with humour. Start circulating little ditty songs which poke fun at them while, at the same time, put out a series of dirty jokes about them as well and counterpoise that with occasional "serious" pieces, and you can pretty much drive a person to distraction (BTW, use radio and word of mouth viral vectors for this type of op). That, BTW, is a classic smear campaign and, depending on your content, you can force them into taking certain types of action.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  6. #106
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    I agree entirely. I argued this time and time and time again with people far more senior and better paid than me and my reward was a crap annula report which said I was 'an extremely capable analyst who nevertheless can be difficult for superiors to deal with.' Yep, thanks. Anyway, the whole set up had no influence specialists, no-one with your 30 years of experience, no-one with any idea of what sort of doctrine to operate to. It was all guesswork and created to replicate the kinetic process. Insane. When given this role ('Non-kinetic targeteer' was it's official title, believe it or not) I said with incredularity that it looked like a hastily conceived expeirment to me, and the staff officer I was speaking to said 'you're absolutely correct' and then said something about me needing to do as I was told. But despite him admitting this, he still wanted to 'go operational' ASAP. And I sighed and thought 'ohhhhhhh Christ...'

    So no wonder we were pissing in the wind. Totally amateurish. It's thoroughly depressing to think of even now.

    jcustis - I've every intention of having a look at the article, which I've now located. I'll get round to it in the next few days, hopefully.

  7. #107
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    You know, I got my initial "training" in the area by coming from a political family . Grassroots, applied politics (not Political [pseudo-]"Science") is all about influence operations, especially in the artificial hothouse of multi-party elections (we usually have between 3 and 12 candidates in any riding in Canada). I've often thought that the best way to screen for someone who would be a good IO type person would be to ask them about their volunteer grassroots political activity growing up - then screen them out if they have a PoliSci degree !

    If it makes you feel any better, it's the same sort of crap in the CF from what I hear.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  8. #108
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    Default What are you looking for from a Company intelligence officer?

    Letís take a totally hypothetical situation. All resemblances to real life or real persons are entirely coincidentalÖahem

    At six months notice you are to be an NCO assigned to a brand new role as an Intelligence Officer for an infantry company in a FOB or PB of a province of Afghanistan, which for the purposes of this weíll call Helmand. See how I said none of this is based on a real life scenario?

    The details you have about your job are thin on the ground. You donít yet know where youíre going or in support of whom. You have not yet met any of the personalities youíll be working with or for. You donít know the disposition of your company commander, for instance, and cannot yet begin to be disturbed iby his desire to smash everything, or to be encouraged by his more population centred, delicate approach. His IRs might be totally enemy centric, or he might appreciate that between himself and the enemy is a pretty important entity called Ďthe population.í

    During your deployment, you connectivity to online open sources will be essentially zero, though you will receive a number of other reports from higher formation int cells and assorted collection assets. By far your most important stuff, though, will come from patrol reports and sometimes youíll head outside the wire yourself to get a flavour of the lie of the land. You plan to attend shuras and meet influential local personalities and have begun to think about some of the fundamental questions youíd like information on from the locals; have there been changes in the village population? If so, why? What are the most important problems facing the village? Who do you believe can solve your problems? What should be done first?

    So if youíre a Company commander with a J2 specialist at your disposal, what are you going to be looking for from him?

    Iíve been deliberately as unspecific as possible because for this job Iíve got a blank canvas. Iíve not got uncooperative hierarchies to particularly worry about, nor loads of brass interfering. As far as the J2 goes, itís me running the show it seems. Although necessarily there will in that scenario be a degree of learning on the job, especially if deployed to an area Iím not overly familiar with, there are certain considerations Iíd like at the forefront of my mind. Very close to the top of the list is to ask other practitioners what they would be looking for from a chap like me. Youíre a crowd worth listening to, so please fire away.

    I open it up to the floor.

  9. #109
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pointer to another thread

    Woland,

    Some of the ground you describe was truly churned over for productive effect in this long-running thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3797
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-14-2015 at 06:33 PM.
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  10. #110
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    Thanks David, I'd missed that thread and found it very useful indeed. I've also happened upon the article Coldstreamer (I suspect) wrote on Coy level int for SWJ.

    I'm not 100% guarnteed to be doing this job as yet, it's 50/50 at this stage between that and a similar role (ish!) for different customers at a much more strategic level. That's the job I'll b able to take to very easily given past experience, but not so the Coy level one.

    The most useful thing I read in the above thread was the comment that as a commander you are not looking for your J2 fella to tell you about your own AO. This makes patently good sense and suggests he may be looking more for the J2 guy to run a little int shop, almost.

    But anyway, I would envisage making considerable improvements to the process of passing on low level int upwards and also the reciept of higher stuff which comes down. I mean, this whole job could be very non-demanding if all I'm wanted for is to look after secret docs, receive reports from above and send int back up in the same direction. But I'd like to think there is more I can offer than that.

    As well as what's cited in the thread above, I'd be grateful if there are any more reading recommendations or thoughts the community may have.

  11. #111
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A point from Iraq

    Taken from:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...?t=9669&page=3

    The smart commander, and his supporting staff, asks not "what do you know?", but "what do I need to know?" It is not about information; it is about important information. That data that leads to a decision point.
    davidbfpo

  12. #112
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    Default Ten points from an armchair

    Woland,

    Just a few thoughts from an armchair and using a hypothetical, local example - a posting to a new local intelligence post in the "outback":

    1) Search out the new OiC and his operations NCO. talk to them, maybe understand them as much as they know you.
    2) Do this on the principle of 'Know your customer'. Have they written anything, previous record and knowledge of the area?
    3) Know your interpreter and local agencies.
    4) Go to the new post beforehand and talk to your predecessor.
    5) Get plenty of maps and photos - the latest editions.
    6) What can the "boots on the ground" report on? Think hard on this; recent Helmand footage shows a patrol going 400-600m from a base and avoiding the locals.
    7) Work out what parts of the area have been ignored; maybe people. Is that a valid judgement? If so helps to focus your efforts.
    8) Can material provided from higher levels be used? Peter Clarke, ex-UK CT police commander, discusses this in a Colin Cramphorn lecture a few years ago.
    9) Identify those "boots" that can be relied upon to fulfil tasks.
    10) Think hard what can you do. Set targets and dump them if required.

    Adieu
    davidbfpo

  13. #113
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Copied here from the TRADOC thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...?t=8486&page=9 as I thought it may have something to offer, especially given MikeF's experience in Iraq.

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I have to say, I'm really intrigued by this "Design" stuff because it's proto-form "Systemic Operational Design" failed under fire in real operations, in terms of being unable to produce clear and concise orders.
    The classic being the one that told an Infantry Brigade Commander to "Render the enemy incoherent within the operational area."

    Moreover, what I read about "Design" makes no sense. I've come to the conclusion that planning is the product of skilled people, based on experience. "Understanding the problem" cannot be held to be a separate or discrete process, as in military operations you have to plan for not having understood the problems correctly, because the enemy is trying to make a mess of your plan - and often you have to compensate for your guys making a mess of your plan!!!
    Hi Wilf,

    I agree. Much of the late 1990's systems based problem solving techniques were useless in the field. Even down on the battalion level, I've received orders that said we were focused on security, governance, economics, and no social reforms. I'd say, "No Sh*t, but what do you want me to DO?" I rarely got a response.

    Design, as I understand it is a means to take a complex situation, sort through it, and finish with a simple order. In terms of MDMP, it's a way to really wrestle and determine your facts and assumptions before jumping into IPB and COA development.

    Here's a brief outline of how I did it on the company level for y'all's critique.

    Phase One: Shaping the Environment

    1. Understanding the Environment
    - Conflict Ecosystem- fill in the bubbles of Dr. K's chart.
    - Cultural Immersion- develop empathy and understanding of the internal stakeholders' grievances and vulnerabilities
    - Prepare a General Area Survey. How did/do the previous and current stakeholder's define the problem?
    - Develop a Hypothesis on the Situation

    2. Testing the Environment
    - Conduct reconnaissance and surveillance to gather intelligence to confirm/deny hypothesis.
    - Conduct leader engagements to gather intelligence to confirm/deny hypothesis

    3. Defining the Environment
    - Full out planning process. Facts and Assumptions are determined based off initial efforts and decisions are made. Commander determines how the world is and how he wants to influence it. Simple OPORD is endstate.

    4. Influecing the Environment
    - Develop the Message
    - Conduct Psychwarfare to get the truth out
    - Conduct Deception operations as needed to assist in your initial penetration during clearance.
    - Disruption Operations. Targeted raids, ambushes to prepare the environment by disrupt the enemy's infracstructure, maneuver, and morale.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-03-2010 at 08:49 PM. Reason: Add moved lines

  14. #114
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    Default Got a warrant, now take action

    Hat tip to al Sahwa blog for this reflective commentary on continuing US and Iraqi SOF actions - when an Iraqi warrant is required before action.

    At the onset of the new year (January 2009), units deployed in Iraq could no longer capture and detain insurgents without a signed warrant from an Iraqi judge. The transition was a painful but necessary process. Collectively, we put our heads together to develop ways to prolong our pressure on the terror network under this new system. Prior to Jan 2009, if we had actionable intelligence on any insurgent, we simply put together a plan and executed it. The exploitation from the detained individual would usually lead us to our next operation. This targeting model became unsustainable post Jan. 2009.
    Link:http://al-sahwa.blogspot.com/2010/04...raq-model.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-20-2010 at 08:02 AM.
    davidbfpo

  15. #115
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Woland,

    I concur with how MikeF set about doing things. U tried to do it like that in Iraq as a company commander - but I suspect my attempt was somewhat messier then Mike's!

    As a company commander in Iraq I looked for my Int NCO to do the following:

    Provide in-depth detailed 'narrative' advice, by this I mean understand what story we had written in my patch in the previous 2 years and how it was playing out now. To do this he needed to know what we had done, the bad guys had done and the locals had done in the previous 2 years. Importantly he also needed to know what we hadn't done (but may have promised) as well.

    Understand the environment in terms of the complex interaction and inter-relationships of key players; good, bad and neutral.

    Allow me to bounce op ideas off him and be strong enough to influence my op design. I expected my int boys to work closely with influence ops.

    Be opinionated. I did not want to know what had happened in the previous 24 hours in terms of a straight forward regurgitation of facts. I wanted to know why things had happened in the previous 24 hours, what that meant for us and what we should consider doing about it. I wanted analysis, assessment and recommendations - all clearly labelled as such.

    Influence higher and laterally. I always took my J2 in to the main FOB with me to work bde and bn J2 in order to see what they could do for us and us for them. It also enabled me to influence things. J2 (British) continues to be very stovepiped and we have to break these down.

    Hope this helps.

    RR

  16. #116
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Where does evidence fit?

    SWC invariably focus on "fixing" the enemy and intelligence, so where does evidence fit in to your company intelligence cell? I am mindful of the UK experience in Ulster, assuming it has been retained; but in Afghanistan the host nation retains the right to prosecute.

    If evidence is sought, no required - who will handle that?

    See Post 7 above, which I've copied here from another thread - as it is a topical illustration.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-20-2010 at 08:02 AM.
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  17. #117
    Council Member Red Rat's Avatar
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    Continuity: If you do get the post you need to influence immediately the handover takeover process, from the commander's recce onwards. I am perenially disappointed as to how badly we are are handing over information and intelligence between ongoing and outgoing units. One source of continuity could be the Afghans that you are working with (try not to change all your systems overnight on the basis that the previous unit's were no good, the Afghans will have only just got used to the last lot...)

    Working with Afghans: The afghans will probably know a great deal more then you do as to what is happening. Under 'Partnering' all operations are joint and we are supposed to be joined at the hip at all levels. You will need to consider how you are going to pool intelligence and make best use of each others capabilities.

    Evidence: - That should be more G3 (operations) lead and much will be SOP with regards to (physical) evidence collection and use of warrants etc. I have a briefing tomorrow on the current state of the Afghan legal system so I should be better informed then (I sit opposite the Operational Law branch so have a direct line in if you have any queries here).

    RR

  18. #118
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    Default Targeting and Intelligence at the Company Level: Lessons Learned from a CoIST in Afgh

    Targeting and Intelligence at the Company Level: Lessons Learned from a CoIST in Afghanistan

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
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    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  19. #119
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    Default Grey Targeting at the Troop/Company Level: Using the CoIST to Understand the Human Te

    Grey Targeting at the Troop/Company Level: Using the CoIST to Understand the Human Terrain

    Entry Excerpt:



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    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  20. #120
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    Default Cross-ref and USMC update

    There is a June 2013 SWJ article Targeting and Intelligence at the Company Level: Lessons Learned from a CoIST in Afghanistan - which comments on US practices and was updated today that:
    ..the Marine Corps has institutionalized the concept of the "company level intelligence cell (CLIC)" in both doctrine and with a change in the infantry company's T/O. An 0211 intelligence analyst is now a permanent member of the HQ Platoon.
    Link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...#comment-40865
    davidbfpo

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