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Intelligence What do we know, need to know, and how do we get there?

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Old 09-16-2006   #21
Merv Benson
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Default Interrigations

Most of my experience in interrigation has been in depositions where the person being questioned has more to lose in being caught in a lie as he does in telling the truth. I think the opposite is the case when questioning terrorist.

And your experience in prosecuting cases?,,,
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Old 09-16-2006   #22
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Default Before we get off too much on who has done what...

Let's stay on subject. I intentionally provoked a debate because that is what we do here.

I see good points on both sides of this issue. Moreover, each are seeking the same conclusion (successful prosecution of the GWOT) and may not be as far apart as the previous posts might indicate.

No one here is saying to throw out the Geneva Conventions - though some are distrustful as to how they might be interpreted when faced with terrorist prisoners on an asymmetric battlefield.

As far as personal experience and how it might relate to future Small Wars scenario I'll offer this up.

My personal history with interrogations (proper) is limited - cursory training in the Army’s CI/HUMINT course, OJT at a USMC training prisoner of war camp, and OJT at three SOF Robin Sages.

As a Division G-2 OPSO during Desert Storm I also visited our EPW Collection Point to sit in on some interrogations. My CI Team also provided some, though limited, classroom instruction from time to time. I also read the Army’s FM.

What I learned from all that, prior to having to do “real world” field interrogations, is that there is a certain personality trait that makes a good interrogator – something innate that no amount of training or experience can substitute for. First and foremost, we must ensure we have the “right people” selected, trained and deployed as interrogators. We also must insure that when an interrogator is not available in the field and there is a time-critical requirement for info / intel we have the same type of “right people” conducting these ad hoc interrogations.

So, now it is 1991 and on G + 1 in the middle of the burning Al Burqan oil field and just after our DIV FWD CP had almost been overrun I get word that we have captured an Iraqi BDE commander. It was my responsibility to interrogate him as it was a fluid sit and there was no time to send him back and wait. Earlier I had conducted several field interrogations of other prisoners – but they had nothing of value to offer.

My only two worries at this point were Iraqi use of chemicals and any potential for another counterattack prior to our seizure of Kuwait International Airport. Bottom line – my previous training, PME and experiences made me comfortable that I had many “legal” options in interrogating this commander. I opted on ‘ego-up’ – gave the colonel a smart salute when I met him and he proceeded to spill his guts – no chemical attacks – not worth the risk – no more counterattacks as they shot their wad earlier – and on a map the entire Iraqi army disposition (though dated by a day or two due to our offensive) - an OOB that very closely mirrored our enemy sit overlay in the 2-shop.

Okay, what does all that have to do with this discussion? In 1991 I had many tried and true interrogation techniques available for my use and more importantly I had no worries about a possible UCMJ action against me should I utilize any of those techniques.

Now fast forward 15 years to 2006 to a hypothetical situation. Let's say I am back in SWA, but this time in support of a relief column that is slugging it out along an IED and ambush-laden LOC. A captured al-Qaeda (not Iraqi) terrorist with possible time-sensitive intel / info is captured and once again I am responsible for a field interrogation. “Ego-up” won’t provide jack. Probably the direct, incentive, emotional, etal approaches won’t either. Now I am faced with the gray area – as could very well be interpreted by those who take the Geneva Conventions to the extreme – can I or can I not use fear up without “my fear” of possible charges. Moreover, can I stray from the established interrogation techniques, short of torture, based on my judgment of the criticality of the information I may receive.

Don’t just dismiss those of us who question the Conventions – we do not fear them – we fear how they may be interpreted and the consequences.

Last edited by SWJED; 09-16-2006 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 09-16-2006   #23
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Default Exigent circumstances

Dave, In Police world two concepts offer protection against just such a hypothetical situation you mentioned. One is exigent circumstances. A situation is so critical and the loss of life is so great that normal due process is suspended. No need for a warrant, no need for Miranda, no need for permission,etc. (physical torture is out).

The other is qualified immunity. A police officer can make the most drastic mistakes possible (killing an innocent person) if he shows he was acting in good faith. An example would be shooting an innocent person during a hostage rescue. Under qualified immunity he could NOT be prosecuted!!!

I think your issues would be better served by changing the UCMJ to allow for such situations as opposed to trying to change the Geneva Convention.

My experience with interrogating POW"s none, zero.

My experience with interrogating and prosecuting every low life,robbing,rapping,stealing,murdering,drug dealing,dope smoking son of a bitch out there, more than I like to remember.
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Old 09-17-2006   #24
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I think I've already gone over all I'm willing to discuss on an open board in this previous thread:

A Lesson About Torture, Half Century On

However, if anyone wishes to discuss interrogation methodology, issues and problems, please contact me off-line.
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Old 09-17-2006   #25
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Default Slapout and I agree...

I won't make a mistake on thinking law enforcement and military circumstances are the same, but the UCMJ should provide protections as much as punishments.

I can perceive points in a militiary campaign where summary execution could be used (never leave an enemy at your back?). Any lesser asault against a human is just quibbling with degrees of abuse.

Civilized-War is an oxymoron, and to many people worry about perceptions of comabt. Deal with the enemy with honor and good judgement whether they would with you or not. Terms like terrorist, infidel, revolutionary, etc.. are the talismans of politicians and soldier should define the enemy in the terms of their mission orders.

Just some late Saturday night thoughts.
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Old 09-17-2006   #26
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Default Latest Press...

17 September Voice of America - Bush Defends Push to Clarify Geneva Convention by Scott Stearns (reposted in full per USG terms of use).

Quote:
President Bush says Congress must act to save a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation program that he says has helped disrupt terrorist plots, including planned strikes inside the United States and on a U.S. Marine base in East Africa, an American consulate in Pakistan, and Britain's Heathrow Airport.

Mr. Bush says the previously-secret program is in jeopardy because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that military commissions the president wants to use to put suspected terrorists on trial must be authorized by Congress.

So the president is pushing legislation to allow classified evidence to be withheld from defendants during their trials. He wants coerced testimony to be allowed as evidence, and he wants U.S. interrogators to be protected from prosecution for using methods that might violate the Geneva Conventions.

But some senior Republican senators disagree. They say those rules do not meet constitutional standards outlined by the Supreme Court and could endanger U.S. troops overseas if other countries choose to reinterpret the Geneva Convention in their own way.

In his weekly radio address, President Bush said legislation approved by the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee this past week would force the CIA program to close because it does not protect U.S. interrogators from possible prosecution for violating international treaty obligations.

"There is debate about the specific proposals in this bill, and my Administration will work with Congress to find common ground," said Mr. Bush. "I have one test for this legislation: The intelligence community must be able to tell me that the bill Congress sends to my desk will allow this vital program to continue."

Republican senators opposed to the president's plan, led by former prisoner of war John McCain, have been joined by former Secretary of State Colin Powell who this past week wrote that the president's actions would encourage the world to doubt the moral basis of America's fight against terrorism.
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Old 09-17-2006   #27
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I believe GC provide distinction on who is entitled to it's protection and who is not. What US should do, instead of considering modifying GC, is to determine who falls outside os it and what to do with them.

This is why I have troubles with terms like "unlawfull combatant". What the hell does that mean? If you are combatant you get GC protection, if you are not you don't. It seems this is just something that's neither terrorist nor soldier so you can treat them as neither so you don't have to put them on trial with fair trial (as you would do if they were terrorists) or put them in POW camps and allow RC visits (as you would do if they were soldiers).
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Old 09-17-2006   #28
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Default What's more important

A subject worth debating, but I tend to side on protecting our laws and maintaining the moral high ground. Those of us in the service took an oath to defend the constitution, and the constitution is a body of laws that governs the greatest nation in the world. While the GC has little to do with our constitution, the principle of following the law does. We're defending principle and a way of life, not a piece of land. We shouldn't throw that out in an attempt to achieve a short term "tactical" victory.

For one I used to enjoy wearing the white hat and preaching the values of human rights from the moral high ground as a U.S. soldier. That high ground is getting tougher to defend when our government kidnapps and illegally detains "suspects" for years on end that are then too frequently found to be incident. We haven't declared a war of civilizations, if we do it will look more like Baghdad on a global scale. Battle in this conflict is an extension of ideas, and the moral high ground is our virtual center of gravity that only we can destroy.

In short I don't think the military should comprise its professional values for short term gains as a matter of policy. We should continue to represent the promise of something better.

I hear a lot of spin relating the terrorists to Nazi's, which I think is off the mark, but regardless we didn't sacrifice our values as a matter of policy to deal with Nazi's. Of course there individual atrocities and violations, because we're human and sometimes act on emotion, but it wasn't policy.

There may be extreme cases where the information we need isn't tactical in nature, such as a WMD plot unfolding, and I think the Executive Branch should be able in very select cases be able to implement an all measures necessary to pre-empt the attack, but that is far from a blanket policy.
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Old 09-18-2006   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
... we adhere to all the Conventions - down to the last dotted i and crossed t.

In light of the proposed legislation regarding tribunals, I'm not sure I agree with this statement. Art 99 of Geneva Convention III says that no POW can be tried without having an opportunity to defend himself (although we call these guys detainees rather than POWs, the same rule applies given the prevailing winds right now). By not allowing these guys to have access to the evidence against them, we disregard this article.

That being said, my issue is not so much whether we adhere to the letter of the conventions, but whether we are perceived as doing so. Basically, whether we adhere or not is irrelevant if we are perceived as not doing so or as manipulating the law to our advantage. What may be seen as necessary or even heroic by a criminal law attorney on TV does not play well with world opinion when it comes to GWOT. I think this feeling that we do not adhere to international law and play fast and loose with the rules, causes us to lose support (e.g. Turkey would not allow us flyover rights in part because they viewed the was as illegal). This takes us closer to the attrition point. Once we reach that point, i.e. the point at which we lose public support for the war effort, we've lost. We have to do it right and be viewed as doing it right.

As for the line in the sand, I sincerely hope there isn't one. A nation of laws is what we are. Isn't that what we fight for? I think this quote sums it up quite well:


Roper: “So now you'd give the Devil the benefit of law!”
More: “Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get to the Devil?”
Roper: “I'd cut down every law in England to do that!”
More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you -- where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat. This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man’s laws, not God’s -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake.”
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Old 09-18-2006   #30
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Default Further

This is an essay I found that covers a lot of issues we are and have discussed. “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense by Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein.

Last edited by SWJED; 09-18-2006 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Added title and authors with the link.
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Old 09-20-2006   #31
Merv Benson
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Default Giving the enemy intelligence though lawfare approach

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombers, gives some of the details of what al Qaeda learned from the process.

Quote:
Under discovery rules that apply to American criminal proceedings, the government is required to provide to accused persons any information in its possession that can be deemed "material to the preparation of the defense" or that is even arguably exculpatory. The more broadly indictments are drawn (and terrorism indictments tend to be among the broadest), the greater the trove of revelation.

In addition, the government must disclose all prior statements made by witnesses it calls (and, often, witnesses it does not call).

This is a staggering quantum of information, certain to illuminate not only what the government knows about terrorist organizations but the intelligence agencies' methods and sources for obtaining that information. When, moreover, there is any dispute about whether a sensitive piece of information needs to be disclosed, the decision ends up being made by a judge on the basis of what a fair trial dictates, rather than by the executive branch on the basis of what public safety demands.

It is true that this mountain of intelligence is routinely surrendered along with appropriate judicial warnings: defendants may use it only in preparing for trial, and may not disseminate it for other purposes. Unfortunately, people who commit mass murder tend not to be terribly concerned about violating court orders (or, for that matter, about being hauled into court at all).

In 1995, just before trying the blind sheik (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven others, I duly complied with discovery law by writing a letter to the defense counsel listing 200 names of people who might be alleged as unindicted co-conspirators--i.e., people who were on the government's radar screen but whom there was insufficient evidence to charge. Six years later, my letter turned up as evidence in the trial of those who bombed our embassies in Africa. It seems that, within days of my having sent it, the letter had found its way to Sudan and was in the hands of bin Laden (who was on the list), having been fetched for him by an al-Qaeda operative who had gotten it from one of his associates.

Intelligence is dynamic. Over time, foreign terrorists and spies inevitably learn our tactics and adapt: consequently, we must refine and change those tactics. When we purposely tell them what we know--for what is blithely assumed to be the greater good of ensuring they get the same kind of fair trials as insider traders and tax cheats--we enable them not only to close the knowledge gap but to gain immense insight into our technological capacities, how our agencies think, and what our future moves are likely to be.

...

Some of our best information is obtained from foreign intelligence services. Naturally, those services are much less forthcoming if they think that what they tell us will have to be revealed in court because of U.S. legal rules. Historically, that was not much of a problem when dealing with the CIA; it is, however, always a concern for a country weighing whether to share some sensitive or potentially embarrassing information with the FBI.

The Saudis' infamous obstruction of the FBI's efforts to investigate the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing is an exquisite example.

In the Clinton years, no matter how many times we were attacked, all the world knew that our approach was to have the FBI build criminal cases.

Indeed, Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 39, issued in June 1995, announced that prosecuting terrorists and extraditing indicted terrorists held overseas were signature priorities of the administration.

Nearly three years later, after several other attacks and public declarations of war by bin Laden, Clinton issued a press release that both trumpeted as a ringing success his strategy of having terrorists "apprehended, tried, and given severe prison sentences" and announced a new directive, PDD 62. This purported to "reinforce the mission of the many U.S. agencies charged with roles in defeating terrorism," including by means of the "apprehension and prosecution of terrorists." The embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed less than three months later.
There is much more analysis of intelligence failures of all types, but it is hard to deny the importance of the damage done to our efforts when we have to give the enemy our sources and methods of collecting intelligence on enemy operations and operatives.
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Old 09-21-2006   #32
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Default Self Defeating

Yep, the whole process is self defeating and it presents us with a strategic dilemma. We either follow our laws and suffer the consequences or we break the laws and suffer the consequences. I agree with the President that terrorists don't deserve legal protection, but there must be some degree of legal protection (presumed innocence) until they are proven to be a terrorist, and that appears to crux of the matter. Locking up a suspect for potentially years on faulty intelligence, and providing him or her no legal protection is definitely going too far. Any of us, or our family members, potentially could be arrested under suspicion of being a terrorist or a facilitator based on a set up, and we wouldn’t want to surrender our legal rights to prove our innocence. However, if proving our innocence somehow equates to Bin Laden and his ilk getting the latest dump of our intelligence products it will obviously encourage administration officials to look for ways to bypass the law. The law makers got us into this mess, and they need to get us out of it. Americans will accept special measures for known terrorists, but for the most part they don’t accept surrendering our legal principles. We have to be careful that the fix doesn’t start us down going down the wrong road where there may not be an opportunity to make a U-turn.
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Old 09-23-2006   #33
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Default U.S. Army Adds Interrogators

23 September Washington Post - As Army Adds Interrogators, It Outsources Training by Walter Pincus.

Quote:
Since the Iraq war began, the U.S. Army has quadrupled the number of soldiers it trains each year to be detainee interrogators, according to Army officials involved in the program.

Next year, 1,200 interrogators are set to be trained at the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., up from about 300 in 2003. "The number being trained is based on the current need of interrogators in theater," said Angela Moncur, deputy public affairs officer at the intelligence center...

The Army is gearing up for the effort by hiring private companies to handle the training. Last month, the service awarded contracts that could grow to more than $50 million in the next five years to three private firms to provide additional instructors to the 18-week basic course in human-intelligence interrogation at Fort Huachuca.

"If you are qualified as interrogator, you now are either in Iraq or teaching others how to do it when they go there," said Pat Gromek, who spent 23 years as an Army intelligence officer and now handles business development for Integrated Systems Improvement Services Inc. in Sierra Vista, Ariz., the site of Fort Huachuca. ISIS is one of the firms selected to supply interrogation instructors.

The contracts call for the companies to provide outside instructors who would train "selected enlisted soldiers in the skills and knowledge required to perform . . . tactical human intelligence collection," said a government notice published earlier this month. Subjects to be covered include how to interrogate and debrief enemy personnel, potential threat forces, warrior skills, intelligence analysis, and military justice and intelligence law, according to a statement supplied by the center. "The laws of land warfare and the Geneva Convention" are specifically listed in an article on the course in Military Intelligence, an Army publication...
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Old 10-13-2006   #34
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Angry Quantity vs Quality

The issue has obviously been decided for the Army HUMINT field:
Quote:
Updates as of 11 OCT 2006

ATTENTION: THE LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT FOR MOS 97E HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR ALL RANKS AND WILL BE REVIEWED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. ALL SOLDIERS RECLASSIFYING INTO THE MOS WILL NOT PCS TO DLI, BUT WILL INSTEAD BE DIRECTLY ASSIGNED INTO A PRIORITY UNIT. DURING THE SUSPENSION PERIOD, DLI WILL REMAIN AN OPTION FOR 97Es WITH SIGNIFICANT TIME IN THE MOS, BUT ONLY AS A REENLISTMENT INCENTIVE.

ALL 97Es WHO CURRENTLY POSSESS A LANGUAGE ARE STILL REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN PROFICIENCY IAW AR 611-6. ALL SOLDIERS RECLASSIFYING INTO THE MOS MUST STILL EITHER PASS THE DLAB IAW DA PAM 611-21, OR HAVE A CURRENT, PASSING DLPT SCORE IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

SEE MILPER MESSAGE 06-159 FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
Long-term capabilities were already significantly affected when the language requirement was done away with for entry level soldiers (and junior NCOs were able to obtain waivers). This will have a truly crippling long-term effect upon the HUMINT field.
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Old 10-13-2006   #35
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And a shame they went this route. This isn't a field where technology can substitute at all for the actual human being with the right skills and training.
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Old 10-13-2006   #36
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Default Absolutely incredible.....

More dumbing down of the Army, so to speak. Sending Soldiers inadequately trained out to the field......amazing, amazingly stupid.
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Old 04-01-2007   #37
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Army News Service, 29 Mar 07: NCOs Sought for Human Intelligence
Quote:
..."Our goal is to quickly infuse 100 staff sergeants and sergeants first class to our HUMINT force from all other career fields," said Sgt. Maj. Fernando Martinez-Irizarry, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2.

"They will be provided accelerated training on basic and advanced HUMINT skills and be assigned to units deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom," he said....
Piss poor post-Cold War reductions led directly to current critical supply and demand problems with tac HUMINT, which - as this additional measure illustrates - continue to be addressed by knee-jerk quantity over quality short term solutions.

You can't shake and bake a senior HUMINT NCO in 24-27 weeks, then immediately deploy him to Iraq or Afghanistan and expect him to effectively manage HUMINT collection ops or conduct any of a myriad of other HUMINT missions, let alone that most critical task of any senior NCO - mentor and train junior soldiers.

The 97E field has already suffered in quality of NCO leadership recently by too-rapid promotion of soldiers as the previously-tiny field has expanded so quickly. So now the Army is fixing the problem of filling mid-to-senior NCO positions by inexperienced personnel within the MOS by filling them with NCOs from outside the field with zero experience....
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Old 04-01-2007   #38
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Default Principles versus reality

There are principles, truths, and there is reality.

A close parallel to Jed’s point is one of our SOF truths: You can't mass produce SOF in response to a crisis.

Of course SF, Rangers, and SEALs are doing just that. The pipelines are spitting the kids out in large numbers. I can only speak for SF, the training is still high quality, but as everyone knows the training is only the first step, then you enter the seasoning phase where you are mentored by the gray haired fox for a few years. That doesn’t happen when you change the demographics of the force this quickly. Some think a rotation into OIF or OEF-A will make up for that, but I don’t see that happening. You don’t make up for years of COIN, UW, SASO (old term) earned lessons with one or two rotations into OIF.

Obviously the MI world is experiencing a similar challenge with their HUMINTers. MI was devastated after Desert Storm. I worked closely with MI at the time and I recall a number of experiences Officers and NCOs getting their walking papers. We also starting deactivating units (this was under Bush Senior), and it only got worse under Clinton. The current administration, until relatively recently, didn’t see the need to start expanding the force, so now we’re faced with the reality that we have to mass produce and put a lot of young guys and gals on point without mentors. Life will be their mentor, and “eventually” they’ll get good.
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Old 04-01-2007   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
...MI was devastated after Desert Storm. I worked closely with MI at the time and I recall a number of experiences Officers and NCOs getting their walking papers. We also starting deactivating units (this was under Bush Senior), and it only got worse under Clinton...
I still remember quite clearly how the drawdown affected 97Es - they were offering NCOs generous bonuses to get out for a few years in the mid-'90s. NCO promotions were also virtually frozen for quite a while; one or two token promotions a year at the senior levels. Not to mention unit deactivations and reduction of slots overall significantly affecting assignment options. At the time I didn't care; I was sufficiently engaged with deployments for OPC and UNSCOM. It wasn't until the period just before 9-11 that the stagnation of the field reallly started hitting me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore
...The current administration, until relatively recently, didn’t see the need to start expanding the force, so now we’re faced with the reality that we have to mass produce and put a lot of young guys and gals on point without mentors. Life will be their mentor, and “eventually” they’ll get good.
Bill, I agree with your last statement. There are already a few natural talents shining amongst the chaff. Unfortunately, the "mass production" mentality produces a helluva lot of chaff, much of'em unable (or prevented by command misuses) to learn the right HUMINT lessons from the COE, and thereby ending up perpetuating the wrong ones. Hopefully the good ones will rise to the top, and have the necessary influence over the field in the long term. I have doubts about that, however, being all too familiar with the MI TRADOC bureacracy. If the future ends up being a reflection of the past, the good ones will end up slugging away operationally, while the incompetent parasites end up running the schoolhouse. In any case, it will be too late to affect the current fight.
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Old 04-02-2007   #40
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The other problem, and I saw this from my time in Afghanistan, is that everyone wants more 97E's. At one point I had to call every command that was under our umbrella and tell them not to request any more THT's or 97E's..there weren't any to go around.
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