ICE-X 1995

by Captain Robert B. Walter

It is April 1995, and Iraq is starting to feel the full effects of the sanctions that the United Nations imposed following the Gulf War. With civil unrest mounting and assassination attempts increasing, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is desperate for a solution to help relieve the pressure. In a daring move, he sends some of his ground forces south towards the Kuwaiti border, again threatening the sovereignty of that small nation. The United States responds swiftly and surely, mobilizing air, sea, and ground forces in a demonstration of resolve against further aggression. As part of the U. S. Army's III Corps deployment, the 163d Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion (Tactical Exploitation), 504th MI Brigade, is soon on its way to Kuwait, prepared to conduct its human intelligence (HUMINT) and counterintelligence (CI) missions.
This scenario was the basis for the annual Interrogation, CI, and Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Exercise (ICE-X) held at Fort Hood, Texas, from 15 to 25 May 1995. For the soldiers of Company A, 163d MI Battalion, the ICE-X was the pinnacle of the yearly training plan. The ICE-X provided very thorough and realistic training to each soldier and addressed all of the company's mission essential task list (METL) objectives. The planning, rehearsal, and execution of a myriad of tasks provided Company A and other ICE-X participants with a number of valuable lessons on CI and EPW operations. These lessons greatly enhanced the company's ability to maintain its intelligence readiness and execute its wartime mission. The following are just a few of the many lessons from ICE-X 1995.

Exercise Scope

Hosted by the 163d MI Battalion, ICE-X 1995 proved to be an excellent exercise, one that offered realistic training on multiple facets of HUMINT, CI, and EPW operations. During the five-day exercise, more than 850 soldiers and marines from thirteen military police (MP) and MI units worked together to control, process, and interrogate nearly 1000 EPW cases. They achieved this volume by recycling more than 200 EPW role-players through division EPW holding facilities and the corps holding area (CHA). Additional role-players portrayed local officials, nationals, and CI sources. These players, scattered throughout the corps rear area, supported CI agents and teams in the CI force protection source operations (CFSO) portion of the exercise.

Scenario Development

A great deal of planning went into the ICE-X to ensure each unit would meet its training objectives. Company A used real-world Iraqi order of battle information and their actions of October 1994 to create a realistic scenario for the five-day exercise. The scenario development process included breaking each day into six-hour blocks and each Iraqi division or brigade into a battalion- or company-sized unit. Once planners established the scenario, dedicated interrogation and CI script writers spent roughly 12 hours a day for three months creating individual roles. In the end, the writers produced over 500 interrogation and 200 CI roles for the exercise. They based each role on real-world data and synchronized it with the scenario.
The mission-oriented nature of the exercise helped Company A and other participants enhance individual and unit readiness. The ICE-X provided each soldier with a better understanding of Iraqi units and their capabilities. The scripted scenario also enabled trainers to evaluate each soldier's interrogation or interview skills by comparing the reported information to the scripted information.

Ramp-up Exercises

While preparing for the ICE-X, Company A conducted several smaller exercises, each addressing specific areas within the company's METL. One such ramp-up exercise was a week-long CFSO exercise in the latter part March 1995. This exercise introduced many of the company's CI agents to overt source operations. The agents learned how to execute the entire spectrum of source operations. They conducted liaison with role players acting as local national officials or sources and held source meetings in local establishments. The CI agents learned how to use intelligence contingency funds, surveillance and countersurveillance equipment, and interpreters to support CI operations. As most of the role players were language qualified, the company's CI agents had to use interrogators as interpreters during many of the source meetings. The CFSO exercise used the same real-world data as that developed for the ICE-X and, therefore, served as a preliminary to the actual exercise.
Company A also conducted two interrogation exercises prior to the ICE-X. These exercises prepared interrogators to conduct all facets of interrogation operations from EPW screening, interrogation, and document exploitation to using unique unit automation and communications equipment. Language training focused specifically on the Southwest Asia area of operations and prepared interrogators for the ICE-X and its contingency missions. The majority of the interrogations were conducted in target languages of Russian and Arabic.

MP and MI Doctrine

One interesting lesson learned while preparing for the ICE-X was the differences between MP and MI doctrine on the physical set-up of the CHA and the Corps Interrogation Facility (CIF). The 411th MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, established and guarded the CHA during the ICE-X. Representatives from the 411th MP Company and Company A, 163d MI Battalion, discussed the layout of the facility in great detail during our initial coordination meetings. The MPs pointed out that FM 19-4, MP Operations, has the MPs occupying about 90 percent of the CHA with the CIF in one small corner. We argued that this set-up was not adequate for our purposes and referred the MPs to FM 34-52, Interrogation Operations. FM 34-52 gives MI plenty of room for the CIF, about 65 percent of the CHA, and the MPs the remaining 35 percent. The MPs argued that the FM 34-52 set-up did not provide adequate space for and proper control of the EPWs. Eventually we reached the compromise depicted in Figure 1 below. This arrangement gave the MPs enough room for their EPW requirements and MI adequate space for interrogation operations. The compromise CHA worked very well during the ICE-X. It will eventually become the standard CHA and CIF set-up in the III Corps tactical standing operating procedure.

Corps Holding Area Operations

A good rehearsal is a key element to the success of any operation. This was definitely true for ICE-X 1995. Company A and the 411th MP Company conducted a quick rehearsal after deploying to North Fort Hood and establishing the CHA. The rehearsal showed there were some issues the MI and MP companies still needed to work out. First, the MPs realized that the initial hold area was not large enough for the expected volume of prisoners. The companies expanded the initial hold area, a solution that proved adequate during the ICE-X.
Second, the rehearsal demonstrated that more interrogators were needed as interpreters to assist the MPs during EPW inprocessing. This caused some concern for us, mainly because screening operations would be much slower due to the loss of personnel. This delay would only further exacerbate the MP's difficulty in quickly processing the EPWs into the holding areas. The rehearsal, however, showed that our fear was unfounded. In fact, increasing the number of interrogators supporting inprocessing actually led to a quicker turn-around time from screening to interrogation. The interrogators at the inprocessing station completely screened the prisoners prior to their reaching the CIF screening tent. This helped the interrogation operations section identify the prisoners needing interrogation sooner.
An additional benefit was the close working relationship which developed between interrogation teams and MP squads. Although commanders from both companies planned the CHA operation, it was the MI and MP soldiers that worked out the kinks in the procedures and made the operation a success.

Reserve Component Integration

We learned a great number of lessons during the execution phase of the exercise. One key lesson was how to effectively integrate Reserve Component (RC) soldiers into the operation. The 301st MI Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, provided many of the CI agent augmentees on the teams. Louisiana National Guardsmen from the 415th MI Battalion (Linguist) provided additional interrogators. These soldiers came with varying abilities and levels of knowledge. In order to effectively maximize each soldier's potential, Company A integrated the RC soldiers into all facets of the operations. The RC soldiers worked side by side with Active Component soldiers, rather than isolated in separate RC-only teams or shifts. After a short train-up time, most of the RC soldiers were able to conduct operations effectively, some even outdistancing their Active Component counterparts. By the end of the exercise, it was difficult to tell whether an Active or RC soldier had prepared a report.

Role-Player Training

Role-player training was another area that had a direct impact on the success of the ICE-X. Company A established and operated a Role-Players' Academy during the first three days of the exercise. During those three days, role-players received classes on the laws of war, the Geneva Convention, and what it is like to be an EPW. In addition, the linguist role players received time to prepare their roles in the target language, therefore, making them more effective as EPWs and enhancing the overall training value of the exercise.


The III Corps ICE-X 1995 was a tremendous training opportunity for all soldiers to hone their warfighting skills. The 1995 exercise met the corps' goals of working the corps and below HUMINT and CI system. ICE-X 1996 will bring theater-level assets into the scenario, allowing us to identify and resolve incompatibilities of equipment and doctrine. We are looking forward to ICE-X 1996 and hope to see you there!
Captain Robert B. Walter is currently attending the Combined Arms and Services Staff School. He was the commander of Company A, 163d MI Battalion (Tactical Exploitation), at Fort Hood, Texas, and has served as an S2 in both the 7th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. Captain Walter is a 1987 graduate of the University of Colorado.

CFSO Course Now Available!

The U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca (USAIC&FH) completed the validation process for the Army's first course on counterintelligence force protection source operations (CFSO). The CFSO course (3C-F17/244-F9) will teach counterintelligence agents and interrogators the advanced skills needed to meet the requirements of AR 381-172, CFSO, and Low Level Source Operations.

Course Content

The six-week course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, consists of three phases:


The CFSO course is open to Active Component commissioned, warrant, and noncommissioned officers in counterintelligence and interrogator military occupational specialties (MOSs). Other course prerequisites are--

Class Dates

Contact your training manager if interested in the CFSO course.

USAIC&FH Point Of Contact

CW3 George, DSN 821-1294 or commercial (520) 533-1294.