by Major General Charles W. Thomas
This April we held our annual G2/Commanders Conference at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The conference provided an opportunity for exchanging ideas on current developments, activities, and concerns across the Military Intelligence (MI) Corps. We were fortunate to have representation from across Army intelligence including Lieutenant General (LTG) Paul Menoher, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, and several other MI general officers. Additionally, LTG Don Holder, Commander, Combined Arms Center, spoke to the conference and provided a Combat Commander's perspective on the major issues with which we were grappling. Because of the obvious MI community interest, Colonels Ron Carter, DCSINT, USAREUR, and Joe Green, Commander, 205th MI Brigade, gave updates on intelligence operations supporting Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR in Bosnia. I feel that the conference was one of the most productive in recent years. These are some key issues that came to light


We focused this year's conference on training issues. Of principal concern was new systems training, especially the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS). By implementing a new training strategy at the Intel Center we are trying to produce a more "ASAS proficient" officer, NCO, and soldier. However, each command, with its unique challenges, modified architecture, and skilled professionals plays a role in the ultimate success or failure of our battlefield operating system (BOS). Much of that success is dependent on ASAS, our flagship system. We want to, as part of the greater intel team, incorporate the challenges met and good ideas generated from the commands into our training strategies. Here at Fort Huachuca, we recognize that, as the proponent for training and doctrine of the BOS, we are ultimately responsible for concept, structure, equipment and requirements development and fielding, and coordination of efforts across the force. This was our message to those attending the conference. We do not want to stifle good ideas or initiative, merely harness it for the greater good of MI.

New Systems

Each of the MI TRADOC System Managers (TSMs) addressed the conference attendees. Updates on capabilities, limitations, and new developments for the systems were provided. Much interest centered on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Program. Since the demise of the Hunter system, there has been concern over which UAV platform would absorb the division/corps mission. It is agreed that UAV support is needed at all levels from brigade through theater, though the specific platform may differ. Theater-level support will be provided by the Air Force-owned Predator UAV (medium altitude endurance). Our plan is to access it for Army use through Forward Control Elements (FCEs) that will be in place at division and corps. A joint Tactical-variant UAV is scheduled for testing to provide support at the brigade level. Fortunately, the operational requirements set for the Tactical-variant offer near-Hunter capability (in range, endurance, control, collection suite) and help to bridge the gap between brigade-level support and Air Force-controlled, theater-allocated Predator systems. Related to the discussion of UAV support is the health of the 96U (UAV Operator) military occupational specialty (MOS). Rest assured that, in time, 96U will be in good shape. The UAV is recognized throughout Army leadership as critical to our architecture for both targeting and battle damage assessment. What needs to happen first is the fielding of a well-tested and trust-worthy system that is capable, durable, and proven. Regardless of the type of system ultimately selected, a soldier operator/maintainer will be needed. MOS 96Us, your future is bright!

MI Force Concerns

We are concerned with the "overgrading" of our enlisted MOSs. The Vice Chief of Staff of the Army has directed that we bring our MOSs into compliance with structure guidelines. With nearly every MI MOS over the 47-percent NCO-ratio mandate, we are in the hot seat to realign our MOSs. This will be a challenge for commanders. Many of our quality soldiers will be frustrated by slowed promotion opportunity over the next few years. We must do our best to convince them to stay the course and wait out the various programs that will help bring us in line. With natural attrition (retirement, expiration of term of service), quality management programs, early retirements, and voluntary separations, we should be able to right ourselves within four years. Ultimately, the MI force will benefit in the long run; those who wait it out will reap the rewards.
The 97G MOS (Multidiscipline Counterintelligence Analyst) is another MI force issue. The MOS is very small and badly overgraded. After consulting MI leaders across the force, we are considering eliminating the MOS. The functions of MDCI Analysis may be integrated into other MOSs and an additional skill identifier (ASI) awarded to those already trained. For units that have a great reliance on the skills of the 97G, losing the MOS could pose problems. I want to emphasize that we do not want to eliminate the function or training. We are concerned because soldiers in that MOS are frequently misused and lack effective career development.
What I have just discussed highlights the state of the MI Corps today. These topics are just the tip of the iceberg. The leadership of MI is dedicated to working together to overcome problems and still provide the support combat commanders require. We work collectively, crossing echelons and ranks to get the best solutions to challenges. While we have problems, the fact is, our corps is better than ever. MI is respected throughout the Army primarily because of your hard work. I appreciate your dedication and perseverance as you take on as you continue to meet and exceed ever-increasing mission requirements with often diminishing resources. The Intelligence Center is here to help. Let me know if there is something we can do for you.