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Thread: Company Level Intelligence Led Operations

  1. #21
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    What Slapout and Selil are calling intel would be what I call situational awareness. Depending on your frame of reference, situational awareness is what you really want anyway, IMHO. At the company level , I suspect I'd want to know who the likely bad guys are in my AO, what kind of things they might be contemplating doing, and what "tools" they might be planning on using to do it. To get this type of info, I think the "cop on the beat" approach to collection and analysis is probably the right model. Sort of like this: "I heard on the street that the A St. Gang is thinking they want to have it out with the Oak Hill Ave boys on Thursday night with knuckles, pipes, and baseball bats. Joe X from A St. was seen playing with a .38 last week. Last three times they fought, they had their dust ups in one of the vacant lots in the industrial park near the river. " You don't need some high level intel system pushing stuff down to you to figure out what all that means. And, it probably won't get you that kind of data to analyze anyway, while your foot patrols and neighborhood visibility will.

    In fact, the more stuff that gets pushed down to you, the harder it will probably be to separate the wheat from the chaff, if there's even any wheat in the delivery. Having an intel analyst, who is most likely going to be an E3, E4, or junior E5, there at the company is not likely to be much help in sifting either. They will probably not have enough experience to find the gems any better than anyone else just because they got some schooling at Huachuca. The HUMINT guy that Cavguy wants may be a little more senior, but I doubt will have the all source experience needed to provide a good overall picture.

    Common sense, tempered with sufficient cultural awareness to understand what is different every day about the AO compared to being back home on the block, probably does more in developing the situational awareness needed to mount sucessful stability ops at the company level.

  2. #22
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default What he said...

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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    They will probably not have enough experience to find the gems any better than anyone else just because they got some schooling at Huachuca. The HUMINT guy that Cavguy wants may be a little more senior, but I doubt will have the all source experience needed to provide a good overall picture.
    Great Post. What I have been insufficently articulating is what I want from the intel guy. I don't need someone telling me about my AO. I know and see that from walking and talking to the people every day in sector, and my patrol leaders have the "feel" for what is going on. Most "boots on the ground" leaders understand it far better than a junior enlisted or midgrade MI guy ever will. (Although there are the exceptions) What we consistently fail at is to capture that information higher and lower.

    I see two major gaps. The first is a lack of ability to gain, manage, and utilize informers that constantly approach leaders. I like your "cop" analogy - the guy who will tell you about the drug gang on the "down low". It's the role of THT's to do, but because commanders don't have enough THT's they wind up doing it out of necessity, legal or not. Every successful commander I saw had his informers and sources. One can wring hands about whether they should, but to be successful and know your AO you need a few informers. Sorting through and evaluating their information is tough. Many informers don't want to talk to an E3 THT member, they want to talk to the boss or an officer. Having a HUMINT type on staff can help guide the tactical leaders through it, keep them out of trouble, and keep higher in the loop.

    The second gap is someone to debrief patrols, package the reports, and send them higher in an MI friendly way. Someone who knows all the MI databases and systems and can pull from higher's (vast) resources. Imagery, mapping, social networking tools, ISR coordination, etc. He can be the agent for procuring information for the Platoons and a conduit for their info higher.

    As I said, I'm less interested in an analyst to tell me what is going on than personnel to help in the above fashion.

    Without MI help, the work is done by whoever the commander picks (FIST, Company Intel Cell, etc) who are "pickup artists" at the tasks. In COIN, the Army owes a commander a trained intel support team at the company level. My higher S2 was always defensive when I criticized his analysis, and he finally reminded me that I wasn't sending him much to help fill in his picture. The commander, XO, and 1SG are so consumed/exhausted/busy they need a full time pro to do it, not a Shanghai'd 11B, 19D/K, or 13F.

    Read that amazing NYT article on Afghanistan yesterday, and ask yourself if that commander has time to compile and manage his intel cell. He needs a pro to help, IMO.
    Last edited by Cavguy; 02-25-2008 at 06:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy
    ....Without MI help, the work is done by whoever the commander picks (FIST, Company Intel Cell, etc) who are "pickup artists" at the tasks. In COIN, the Army owes a commander a trained intel support team at the company level. My higher S2 was always defensive when I criticized his analysis, and he finally reminded me that I wasn't sending him much to help fill in his picture. The commander, XO, and 1SG are so consumed/exhausted/busy they need a full time pro to do it, not a Shanghai'd 11B, 19D/K, or 13F....
    In this, the conventional Army (with substantial differences in context, admittedly) is trying to replicate intel support capabilities that exist in the SF Groups. Unfortunately for the conventional units, the MI slots (and the 18F positions) have long been a part of SF authorized fill, while the rest of the Army is trying to beg, borrow or steal MI soldiers to pick up the slack. I don't see the Army expanding the MI field further to formally fill this requirement.

    So, the critical issue is manning. There simply aren't enough analysts / collectors to go around. And the majority of MI troops who do get cut away to work at Co level are going to be junior enlisted - and at that level (with the exception of the rare few with true natural talent) they're not going to have any more ability than the "pick-up artists" you are currently working with. And of the NCOs that do get sent over - you're always going to get a chunk who were let go to you for a reason.

    Personally, I think a good combat arms staff SFC/MSG who is already settled in the unit has far more capability to fill that operational need than a SPC/SGT MI troop who comes in as a new attachment to fill a temporary need. Learning "databases and systems" is the easy part - being able to integrate it into an operational context is quite another. An experienced NCO is always going to be better at putting it into context for the commander than a cherry analyst on his first deployment.

    Perhaps what is really needed is an effective O&I course for combat arms NCOs that is similar to the 18F course (the current Battle Staff course doesn't cut it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post

    Personally, I think a good combat arms staff SFC/MSG who is already settled in the unit has far more capability to fill that operational need than a SPC/SGT MI troop who comes in as a new attachment to fill a temporary need. Learning "databases and systems" is the easy part - being able to integrate it into an operational context is quite another. An experienced NCO is always going to be better at putting it into context for the commander than a cherry analyst on his first deployment.

    Perhaps what is really needed is an effective O&I course for combat arms NCOs that is similar to the 18F course (the current Battle Staff course doesn't cut it).
    No real disagreements there, good points. An E4 or junior E5 MI guy wouldn't be very value added, unless he was really high-speed. (I've always thought E-6 was about right) I have some concerns on this approach. I guess I never had great results from the combat arms S2 NCOIC (MSG) in my experiences, he was more of an assistant S3 SGM than an intel NCO, in practical use. I would see an additional combat arms SFC in the company as quickly becoming a HQ PSG rather than an S2 guy, because in garrison, what would he do?

    Understand MI's manning challenges. However, it sure does seem like we have tons of guys running around in intel at nosebleed level, and very few at CO/BN level for a bottom-up intel environment.

    I guess I'm looking for an endstate - a competent company intel cell that supports the commander and the platoons that isn't taken from existing authorizations.
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  6. #26
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Having been in more than my share of

    "I would see an additional combat arms SFC in the company as quickly becoming a HQ PSG rather than an S2 guy, because in garrison, what would he do?"
    Cavalry troops, Infantry and Tank Companies and even one Artillery Battery {shudder...), I never served in one that did not have in Garrison a training NCO, generally a SSG and tabbed to the job from the Squad or Section he normally would be leading. In Korea, the Domincan Republic and Viet Nam they effectively became the de facto S2-S3 NCO AND served as Co/Trp LnNCO to the Bn/Sqn TOC. And yes, the buck sergeants that picked up their Squads did great. So did the random SP4/SPC who thereby became a Team Leader...

    Some of the Companies in the DomRep even appointed a Platoon leader as an Ops/Intel Officer. That worked okay and again the NCO that became the acting PL could handle it. Most units were short of LTs and had one or two PSGs (some were SSGs) playing PL in any event

    I've always thought the Co/Btry/Trp Tng (Op/Intel) NCO position had such value that it should've been recognized on the TOE. Both in the DomRep and Viet Nam they also ran the local informers who we paid by collections from the NCOs and Officers. Horrors!

    Last tour in Korea, 1975-76, peacetime, our Brigade S2, an MI Officer, became thoroughly upset with the refusal of the Division G2 to share Intel and set up his own Agent net -- oops, local informer net -- and it was effective. Division, for example, had no idea who in the ROK Army had authority to blow the bridges and tank traps in event of an attack -- but our Bde knew...

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    Last edited by Ken White; 02-25-2008 at 08:18 PM.

  7. #27
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Cavalry troops, Infantry and Tank Companies and even one Artillery Battery {shudder...), I never served in one that did not have in Garrison a training NCO, generally a SSG and tabbed to the job from the Squad or Section he normally would be leading. In Korea, the Domincan Republic and Viet Nam they effectively became the de facto S2-S3 NCO AND served as Co/Trp LnNCO to the Bn/Sqn TOC. And yes, the buck sergeants that picked up their Squads did great. So did the random SP4/SPC who thereby became a Team Leader...

    Some of the Companies in the DomRep even appointed a Platoon leader as an Ops/Intel Officer. That worked okay and again the NCO that became the acting PL could handle it. Most units were short of LTs and had one or two PSGs (some were SSGs) playing PL in any event

    I've always thought the Co/Btry/Trp Tng (Op/Intel) NCO position had such value that it should've been recognized on the TOE. Both in the DomRep and Viet Nam they also ran the local informers who we paid by collections from the NCOs and Officers. Horrors!

    Last tour in Korea, 1975-76, peacetime, our Brigade S2, an MI Officer, became thoroughly upset with the refusal of the Division G2 to share Intel and set up his own Agent net -- oops, local informer net -- and it was effective. Division, for example, had no idea who in the ROK Army had authority to blow the bridges and tank traps in event of an attack -- but our Bde knew...
    And if I can get the Company-level Stability Ops Newsletter VOL 7 on COIN up, it goes into this arena in depth.

    the Brits call the O/I short course for company NCOs a "collator course" ; works well for them. See CALL Newsletter 05-17 Company-level stability operations and support operations, Vol 1 Command and Control

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  8. #28
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post

    Personally, I think a good combat arms staff SFC/MSG who is already settled in the unit has far more capability to fill that operational need than a SPC/SGT MI troop who comes in as a new attachment to fill a temporary need. Learning "databases and systems" is the easy part - being able to integrate it into an operational context is quite another. An experienced NCO is always going to be better at putting it into context for the commander than a cherry analyst on his first deployment.

    Perhaps what is really needed is an effective O&I course for combat arms NCOs that is similar to the 18F course (the current Battle Staff course doesn't cut it).
    Concur. In most units where I ever served, we had a "field first/operations sergeant" that we carved out of hide if need be. Quite often it was the platoon sergeant who had done a bang up job training his/her LT platoon leader or the PSG who was lucky enough to get an LT assigned who already "got it" and could afford to spare that Sr NCO to the company. I think most Bde and higher level staffs probably have a few senior NCOs playing staff "toadie/go-fer" who could be spared to become company operations sergeants (I'm sure that TRADOC units have a bunch, unless things have changed radically), which is what I think we are really advocating for. They might need a little training on how to brief and debrief a patrol and how to poke in the data into a standardized report to the Bn2 shop, but the learning curve would be much less than trying to get an E4 96B up to speed.

  9. #29
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    And if I can get the Company-level Stability Ops Newsletter VOL 7 on COIN up, it goes into this arena in depth.
    Hopefully, it'll resonate at upper levels and not get lost...

    the Brits call the O/I short course for company NCOs a "collator course" ; works well for them. See CALL Newsletter 05-17 Company-level stability operations and support operations, Vol 1 Command and Control
    They're ahead of us on the Intel and Recon bits of what we do. The 'not invented here syndrome' needs to be cast aside and we can learn from them.

    I've long contended the title 'first sergeant' needs to go -- it has not served us well. The senior, most experienced NCO in a Co size unit should be the Chief trainer AND the Co Ops TTP guru, call him the Operations Sergeant (or the Marines can call him a Gunnery Sergeant) and he needs an Asst, an SFC who is Intel knowledgeable (Do away with the Army's 'Master Gunner' and its clones...). The Supply sergeant should do all the beans and bullets stuff and there needs to be an Admin NCO, SSG, to handle all that paperless office and personnel stuff. All that is changing but not rapidly enough, old habits die hard and names send images...

    Also have long believed the Company/Troop XO is a total waste of an Officer space as currently envisioned -- I've seen way too many units operate very effectively without one.

    I had visions of Orange County Choppers with a Ken Sr and a Ken Jr...

    But who would play Mikey?
    Provide Mikey and I'll take the job...
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-08-2008 at 07:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    In this, the conventional Army (with substantial differences in context, admittedly) is trying to replicate intel support capabilities that exist in the SF Groups. Unfortunately for the conventional units, the MI slots (and the 18F positions) have long been a part of SF authorized fill, while the rest of the Army is trying to beg, borrow or steal MI soldiers to pick up the slack. I don't see the Army expanding the MI field further to formally fill this requirement.

    So, the critical issue is manning. There simply aren't enough analysts / collectors to go around. And the majority of MI troops who do get cut away to work at Co level are going to be junior enlisted - and at that level (with the exception of the rare few with true natural talent) they're not going to have any more ability than the "pick-up artists" you are currently working with. And of the NCOs that do get sent over - you're always going to get a chunk who were let go to you for a reason.

    Personally, I think a good combat arms staff SFC/MSG who is already settled in the unit has far more capability to fill that operational need than a SPC/SGT MI troop who comes in as a new attachment to fill a temporary need. Learning "databases and systems" is the easy part - being able to integrate it into an operational context is quite another. An experienced NCO is always going to be better at putting it into context for the commander than a cherry analyst on his first deployment.

    Perhaps what is really needed is an effective O&I course for combat arms NCOs that is similar to the 18F course (the current Battle Staff course doesn't cut it).
    The Marine Corps' efforts in just that direction (training a NCO in O&I matters) are the right stuff I think, and reading this thread has convinced me that I'd rather carve a guy out of my organization (it would be better to have the extra T/O slot nonetheless) as opposed to picking up a fellow of unknown quantity who I have to train as a shooter on top of getting him to understand me through implicit communication. Working from a good base of implicit communication will always serve as the better foundation.

  11. #31
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    the Brits call the O/I short course for company NCOs a "collator course" ; works well for them.
    Excellent observation. In my day those guys stayed the hell away from HUMINT. In the early days of NI there were some spectacular disasters with people trying to "play spy" and getting innocent folks killed.

    IMO, the Coy level Int bod should debriefed patrols, keep the logging and reporting up to date, handle the classified material, and brief the out going patrols - and you need at least 2 men at the company level to do it properly, especially if you have some sort of major drama going on.
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  12. #32
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Excellent observation. In my day those guys stayed the hell away from HUMINT. In the early days of NI there were some spectacular disasters with people trying to "play spy" and getting innocent folks killed.

    IMO, the Coy level Int bod should debriefed patrols, keep the logging and reporting up to date, handle the classified material, and brief the out going patrols - and you need at least 2 men at the company level to do it properly, especially if you have some sort of major drama going on.
    Agreed. Just getting that process set in semi-permanent stone would be a step forward.

    Best

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  13. #33
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    Default Collators

    The post of Collator was my first venture into intelligence work in the UK police, in era of filing cards and typed briefing bulletins. Very crude on reflection.

    Always found "selling" intelligence to colleagues hard, although it can be easier now. HUMINT was not a role we had, although far later in my career it was.

    The best results as a collator came far later, nine years ago, when the post was at a smaller station, with about fifty officers. Even then the majority did not contribute to the intelligence picture.

    Shortly after an excellent IT system arrived that enabled direct access to the data warehouse where much of the police information was held and the collator role evolved again. Plus analysts started to arrive and all manner of intelligence structures / systems.

    I am an advocate of tactical intelligence as close as possible to the frontline officer, in person and providing help from IT systems. Company level I suspect in the military world.

    davidbfpo

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    Default NDIC Thesis Survey: Company Intelligence Sections

    All,

    I have been reading some of the discussions and articles on this site and had not thought to talk about my current thesis project until someone else suggested it.

    I am conducting a survey to complete my data collection, and evaluate some of my ideas and recommendations on establishing and useing company intelligence sections. If you are interested in completing the survey please follow the link below and follow the online instructions. Please feel free to contact me if you have more ideas and opinions not covered in the survey. If you are interested in my findings or what I have learned so far please feel free to contact me directly.

    The introduction below will give you an idea of what I am doing for my research and thesis. I am looking for individuals who have experience in OEF/OIF and other conflicts as company commanders, Battalion Staff, or intelligence experience with tactical units, during operational deployments.

    thanks
    LTC Paul Cuppett







    Survey link: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB227LJM8QRYW (if this does not activate please cut and paste)


    National Defense Intelligence College Thesis Survey

    1. Introduction. My name is LTC Cuppett; I am a Special Forces officer currently transitioning to Military Intelligence. As part of my transition schooling, I am attending the National Defense Intelligence College and completing a Masters in Strategic Intelligence. My thesis project is examining how to improve the intelligence capabilities of units conducting the local counterinsurgency fight. Based on the literature that I have read and personal experience, I feel the critical part of winning a counterinsurgency war, is dependent on the successful mission executed at the local level. Local by my definition, is the area of responsibility for a maneuver company. Usually the company area is a small city, several connected villages or a large neighborhood. In my research and past OIF experience, intelligence appears to be the key to successfully executing the local counterinsurgency mission.

    2. Purpose. The following survey is being used to help determine how to best support maneuver companies with intelligence assets. The data from this survey will be compiled with previously collected data that has been gathered through observation, After Action Review’s and Lessons Learned articles. This data will first be used as data for my thesis argument, as part of the requirement for completing a Masters in Strategic Intelligence. I will share the findings of my research with action officers working this issue at the United States Army Intelligence School and Center along with the current Action Officer at the Army G2 office.

    3. Attribution. The answers will be considered your personal opinion and not the views of your unit or the Army. Your answers will only be referenced by your position in a unit and experience. The information you provide in your answers will be kept confidential and will only be used to identify trends as part of the larger thesis research project.

    3. Attribution. The answers will be considered your personal opinion and not the views of your unit or the Army. Your answers will only be referenced by your position in a unit and experience. The information you provide in your answers will be kept confidential and will only be used to identify trends as part of the larger thesis research project.

    4. It is critical that the issues being examined in the survey be addressed by operational units and leaders. The data from the survey, thesis abstract or thesis will be available upon request for anyone participating in the survey. Please contact me at the address below to request a copy of any of the research data or written products. Thank you for your time and participation. This is a critical issue that I hope to assist in resolving.

    5. Directions. Please follow the attached link to the online survey and follow the directions on the website. http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB227LJM8QRYW If you are unable to access the survey on the web, use the attached word document to complete the survey. Indicate your answer by either filling in a short answer or placing the corresponding letter of your answer in the space provided. Please return the survey by forwarding the email to my AKO account.


    LTC Paul Cuppett
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  15. #35
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Paul,

    Look at the following CALL products. They all cover the arena you are studying.


    Newsletter 05-17 Company level SOSO Vol 1, Command and Control

    Newsletter 05-27 Company level SOSO Vol 3, Patrolling, Intelligence, and IO

    Newsletter 07-01 Tactical Intelligence

    Newsletter 08-05 Company level SOSO Vol 7,Organizing for COIN

    I would also suggest that you go to the CALL web site and search the CTC trends for the past 4 years using company and intelligence separately as key words.

    best

    Tom

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    Colonel, Welcome aboard !
    I would have gladly taken your survey, but didn't make it past the "Rank" drop down menu

    A shame, that such a survey would not consider or include NCOs. I think you stand to gain quite a bit from NCO/SNCOs.

    Good luck with your thesis !

    Regards, Stan

    Quote Originally Posted by SFdude View Post
    All,

    I have been reading some of the discussions and articles on this site and had not thought to talk about my current thesis project until someone else suggested it.

    I am conducting a survey to complete my data collection, and evaluate some of my ideas and recommendations on establishing and useing company intelligence sections. If you are interested in completing the survey please follow the link below and follow the online instructions.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  17. #37
    Council Member Vic Bout's Avatar
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    Default Concur with Stan...

    as a former 180A w/ intel experience in OEF/OIF I was dismayed that you had no Warrant Officers on the pull down. Lotsa my fellow warrants involved with that business.
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    Hi Paul,

    This is more of a conceptual question, but can you define what limits you are placing on "Intelligence"? For example, are you including Human Terrain, local semantics, etc. in your definition or are you restricting it to a more "classical" military definition?

    Marc
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct
    ...This is more of a conceptual question, but can you define what limits you are placing on "Intelligence"? For example, are you including Human Terrain, local semantics, etc. in your definition or are you restricting it to a more "classical" military definition?
    Marc,

    At the risk of hijacking Paul's thread, I just wanted to state that I feel your question reflects a common misperception about Military Intelligence. What you refer to as "Human Terrain, local semantics, etc", are aspects of intelligence that have long been a piece of the MI collection and analysis puzzle, although using different terms over the years, and often neglected by the conventional Army side of MI. But even the conventional side paid attention to the "subject peoples" of the former Soviet Union and their potential for exploitation should the Cold War have turned hot. I trust that Paul, coming from the SOF side of the house, is more than familiar with past and current applications.

    And as an aside, you can't get much more "classical" in a military sense than Ceasar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, where he certainly covers the bases in analyzing the human terrain.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Ted,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    At the risk of hijacking Paul's thread, I just wanted to state that I feel your question reflects a common misperception about Military Intelligence. What you refer to as "Human Terrain, local semantics, etc", are aspects of intelligence that have long been a piece of the MI collection and analysis puzzle, although using different terms over the years, and often neglected by the conventional Army side of MI. But even the conventional side paid attention to the "subject peoples" of the former Soviet Union and their potential for exploitation should the Cold War have turned hot. I trust that Paul, coming from the SOF side of the house, is more than familiar with past and current applications.
    I knew that they had been, but I wasn't sure if they still were, what with burgeoning specialist groups showing up - it was really for clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    And as an aside, you can't get much more "classical" in a military sense than Ceasar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, where he certainly covers the bases in analyzing the human terrain.
    LOLOL - And then there's my favorite Roman author, Tacitus and is Germania . One of the backburner projects I have kept simmering away for a decade or so is trying to analyze the relationship between ethnographic writing and military intelligence, going back to Xenophon and Tacitus in the West and THe Book of Barbarian Kingdoms in China.

    (Sort of back to Paul's thread...)

    One of the things I have noticed about the introduction of the HTTs was that they were at Battalion and Brigade level, and that does, in some ways, bother me. I see it as a potential organizational culture vector that pushes the human terrain away from the company level, at least in terms of analytics and resources, and that makes me concerned that it could decouple the human terrain from the people who have to move in it.

    I really should have been clearer and not used the phrase "classical" . What I was getting at was an analysis of the human terrain that was fairly static (e.g. lists of people, placement in a static social system, etc.) rather than aggressively dynamic (which is much harder to do).
    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/

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