Training the Intelligence BOS:

An NCO's Perspective

by First Sergeant Victor Cruz-Rivera

I was very excited when I began to write this article about training the Intelligence Battlefield Operating System (BOS). After all, I have spent the last four years as a Military Intelligence (MI) Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy senior instructor, chief instructor, and first sergeant at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. I have seen the changes in doctrine and personally taken part in imbedding that doctrine into the Basic (BNCOC) and Advanced (ANCOC) NCO courses.
As I sat in front of the computer, ready to pour my years of training experience onto the screen, I suddenly realized that this was going to be tougher than I had originally expected. I did not want to just regurgitate information from FM 34-1, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations. I wanted to put a new spin on training based on information brought out in numerous BNCOC and ANCOC small group discussions. I decided to tackle the issue by discussing the challenges NCOs face as MI professionals. Once defined, these challenges will underscore why it is so critical that we apply standards to intelligence training.
"On the day of battle, soldiers and units will fight as well or as poorly as they are trained." This often quoted statement from FM 100-5, Operations, is one of the main reasons we must apply standards to intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) training. A constant of life in MI has always been the diversity of assignments, missions, and equipment that the MI soldier encounters. Our combat arms and combat service support units usually do not have to deal with this problem. The infantry squad leader's responsibilities usually remain the same from unit to unit and assignment to assignment. Combat arms units are typically resourced better than other units and have a greater availability of equipment because they must deploy at the first sign of hostilities. The combat arms soldier moving from a mechanized infantry unit in Europe to a mechanized infantry unit in the United States will see the same type of equipment and, with few exceptions, will perform the same tasks and duties. Once he learns basic infantry warfighting doctrine in initial entry training, he can be very certain that a large portion of that doctrine will not change. In fact, patrolling techniques and common leader combat skills have changed little over the last ten years.

Intelligence Training Challenges

The MI soldier cannot be so certain of stability. Besides his military occupational speciality (MOS) and common soldier tasks, he must contend with rapid changes in doctrine and equipment. The ongoing drawdown and continuous changes in technology predicated many of these changes. MI commanders and trainers must deal with the following challenges when planning training


The challenges I mentioned above underscore the need and importance of achieving a common ground in IEW operations and training. The only way to achieve this is to return to doctrine and apply common standards. By applying standards to IEW training, commanders can measure their units' intelligence readiness against one common yardstick. Additionally, commanders can give their subordinates clearly defined training objectives. Trainers can use field manuals and training circulars (TCs) such as FM 34-10, Division IEW Operations, and TC 34-10-20, MI Combat Assessment Tables, to develop mission essential task lists, conduct training, and assess performance.
The value to MI soldiers is greater understanding of common MI doctrine and a grasp of the source of mission planning. The value to commanders is increased consistency of operations and ensured effectiveness of the Intelligence BOS.
First Sergeant Victor Cruz-Rivera is the first sergeant of the BNCOC, MI NCO Academy, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Assigned to the Academy since August 1990, First Sergeant Cruz-Rivera has also served as a BNCOC senior instructor and ANCOC Chief Instructor. You can reach him at DSN 821-4219 or commercial (520) 533-4219.