Do We Expect Too Much of the S2?
by Major Ira R. Richardson, Jr.
Being a maneuver unit S2 is the essence of being an intelligence officer. The controversy such a statement generates is manifested in many forums. I believe a personnel management change is required to achieve combat commanders' expectations of S2s. I believe an MI personnel management change would debunk the rivalries that exist in the intelligence disciplines, which do not recognize being an S2 as an "INT." The current MIOAC structure trains S2s as one of its priorities (see Figure 1). There is no technical solution to the human requirement to make the team. I offer a people-management strategy for debate and consideration.
Warfighting With Intel XXI
S2 operations is warfighting, not support to warfighting. It requires a teambuilding approach that is much different from signals intelligence (SIGINT), counterintelligence and human intelligence (CI/HUMINT) operations. S2 operations require combat arms to laterally transfer force structure to MI. Therein lie the teambuilding challenges. For example, the direct support MI company's Analysis and Control Element (ACT), providing the maneuver brigade combat team leveraged battlefield visualization may supplant Modified Table of Organization and Equipment ground scout assets. Having more MI systems means more soldiers to operate them. MI adds lethality to the battlefield. The force structure must respect the value-added of Intel XXI. The lethality, survivability, and combat potential we offer is enormous if S2s are allowed a resourced and rehearsed chance. We see some of that selflessness in Intel XXI and in the Combat Training Center Instrumentation System build.2
Intel XXI is a good first step embracing an institutional-collective unit-creative personnel investment empowering combat arms warfare as never before.3 Intel XXI respects the many MI disciplines, and mandates a truce among the "INTs," and envisions battlefield operating system (BOS) integration cost-sharing. Most important, Intel XXI does not perpetuate prevailing myths that:
- A SIGINT mafia rules.
- HUMINTers do not participate in maneuver unit staff planning processes.
- S2s are soldiers that cannot do real intelligence.
- New equipment can overcome any personnel shortfalls.
- Under Intel XXI, echeloned "elitism," whether found at a battalion or at a national defense agency, disappears as core investments are made in all intelligence organizations
Personnel Management Jamming
I propose personnel management "jamming" (PMJ), a creativity that recognizes and respects MI Corps diversity. Very few MI soldiers should ever be S2s, and we should not encourage everyone to be an S2. The enabling number of S2s required is about 30 percent of the MI force structure, but you have to fence that 30 percent at division and below for their first twenty years (see Figure 2). I believe there needs to be a tactical intelligence personnel management program, similar to the existing SIGINT-specific and CI/HUMINT-specific personnel management programs. This program will, in practice, "grow" tactical intelligence officers.
PMJ focuses the assessed MI soldiers to an exacting standard: maximum intelligence production and minimum retraining throughout their careers. That notion requires some in-house, MI Corps humility and MI respect of discipline diversity. We should start by recognizing the S2 business tactical intelligence as an intelligence discipline and function. Pragmatic, tailored PMJ is a contemporary possibility 5 that recognizes individual skills, potential and limitations. It reduces staff turnover velocity, a common sense investment. It commands BOS integration.7 The MI force structure synergy will produce results from bottom to top.
Three key enabling PMJ investments need to be made to achieve our great expectations of S2s. First, make maneuver brigade S2s MEL 4, resident CGSC graduates. Given 10 maneuver brigade S2s (not counting aviation, division artillery, and division support command), PMJ would target 30 of the 80 MI resident CGSC students in any given class. Currently, none of the approximately 80 CGSC resident MI students will likely be assigned to maneuver brigade S2 jobs after graduation. The other 50 resident CGSC graduates would continue to fill echelons corps and above requirements, including joint requirements. This strategy will create maneuver S3 staff peers the single most important variable in tactical intelligence mission accomplishment.
Having CGSC graduates in brigade S2 jobs leverages the tremendous intelligence system of systems down to the first echelon of combined arms warfare. It embeds empathy at successive higher echelons of assignment (shaft of the spear) for intelligence support at the point of the spear. Maneuver battalion S2s will remember their roots and mentor those who come behind them. Combat arms soldiers will win with intelligence rather than reclama with lessons learned in an after-action review (AAR) system structured to "flog the S2" rather than dissect the maneuver tactical plan. G2s are mentors, grounded as former maneuver brigade S2s rather than operational-level technocrats. The tactical intelligence team of teams is perpetuating and synergistic.
Second, gain Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel support for contemporary promotion criteria that reward leadership in other than command positions. The job of S2s should be recognized by promotion boards as equal to MI battalion XO and S3 positions. Two-year primary-staff-tours stabilization will enable the S2 to build an S2 section team, team-build with the combat arms team, and resource and rehearse the Intel XXI functionality. MI demonstrates the essence of intelligence, that is "the definition and presentation of the relationship between the enemy, terrain, weather, and friendly mission.8
PMJ would promote regimentalism, a career of focused production excellence. Sitting corps G2s get selected for general officer; you can see the top from the bottom. Success in tactical intelligence would not be a sibling rivalry with SIGINT and HUMINT. The synergy of intelligence production at tactical,operational, and strategic levels of operations will be mutually supporting if the PMJ is creative
in managing diminishing resources.Third, we should exploit civilian continuing technical education through distance learning. I
recommend the establishment of an MI university for continuing education on the INTELINK, and requiring participation to qualify for promotion and retention. Warrior Net XXI distance learning is essential for MI soldiers to stay current in Intelligence BOS combat developments. MI should issue all soldiers assessed into MI a laptop computer to keep and master through their
careers. Promote "propay" for tactical skills, similar to language proficiency pay.
S2 Best Job in the Army!
Great expectations are justified of S2s! The juxtapositioning of intelligence disciplines at varying levels of operations is made do-able if the myths are debunked and professional courtesies are extended within MI. The combat commander will watch for production results. Plan for success.
1. CALL Newsletter No. 96-12, December 1996, cIntelligence Preparation of the Battlefield; U.S. Army War College Papers, "Notes from the Box, A Collection of Papers by Former Senior Observer/Controllers from the CTCs," 1995; CALL CTC Quarterly Bulletin, 2nd Quarter, Fiscal Year 1996, No. 96-4, March 1996, "Battalion S2s: Back to Basics," by Captain Norman H. FussIII; 1996 Senior Leaders Training Conference (SLTC) cTrends Reversal Brief¦ by Major General
Charles W. Thomas to the Chief of Staff of the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana; MG Funk's
Mounted Warfighting Battle-Space Laboratory White Paper, "Future Thrusts, Reconnaissance
and Security for Twenty First Century War," October 1993.
2. Army Regulation 350-50, Combat Training Centers Program, 1996.
3. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-75, INTEL XXI, A Concept for Force XXI Intelligence Operations, 1
November 1996; MG Charles W. Thomas' Memorandum to CG Training and Doctrine
Command, "Chief of Staff of Intelligence Priorities¸Second Update," 3 May 1996.
4. John Kao, Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Corporate Creativity, (New York, NY: Harper
5. CG USAIC Memorandum,"Military Intelligence Officer Structure Task Force," 13 December
1996; Office of the Chief of MI Outbrief to DCG USAIC, "Military Intelligence Officer
Structure Task Force 27-31 January 1997," 31 January 1997.
6. RAND/Arroyo Center Study, Staff Turbulence and Personnel Management, 1996.
7. FM 34-8, Combat Commander's Handbook on Intelligence, 28 September 1992; MIPB,
Number PB 34-93-3,several articles in issue on "BOS Integration," July-September 1993; CALL
Newsletter Number 95-12, December 1995, cTactical Decision Making: Abbreviated Planning¦;
CALL Newsletter No. 93-3, July 1993, cThe Battalion and Brigade Battle Staff."
8. LTG Paul E. Menoher, Jr., departing Department of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for
Intelligence DAMI-ZA message 270633Z Feb 97, Subject: Farewell.
Major Richardson is an action officer at TRADOC ODCSINT, Fort Monroe, Virginia. Interested
readers can contact him via E-mail at email@example.com. army.mil and by telephone at
(757) 727-4298 and DSN 680-4298.