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Chapter 2

The Role of the Interrogator

An interrogation element does not operate on its own. It conducts operations in response to an assigned collection mission and reports the information it collects back into the system to help support combat commanders in fighting the air?land battle. The intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process is the framework in which intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) operations take place. Interrogation assets operate within that framework to support the commander.


All combat commanders have the same basic responsibility. They must destroy the enemy's capability to conduct further operations within their assigned areas of operation. To accomplish this mission, commanders must locate, identify, engage, and defeat enemy units. A commander can only engage the enemy after that enemy has entered the commander's area of operations. The depth of this area is determined by the maximum range of the weapon systems controlled by the commander. High technology battlefields of the future will be characterized by high mobility, devastating firepower, and tactics which take maximum advantage of both. On such battlefields, a commander whose sole interest is his area of operations is a commander who has lost the initiative. Losing the initiative on a battlefield means losing the battle. Air-land battle doctrine projects a way for commanders to preserve the initiative. It requires commanders to expand their outlook on the battlefield to another area, the area of interest. This area contains those enemy elements which may be close enough to effect the outcome of combat operations in the immediate future. If commanders can locate, identify, and accurately predict the intentions of enemy units while they are in the area of interest, it may be possible to inhibit or destroy their ability to conduct future combat operations. In combat operations against the enemy, air-land battle doctrine concentrates on deep, close, and rear operations. Air-land battle doctrine requires all commanders to have a mental and emotional commitment to the offensive. They must set primary and secondary objectives in terms of enemy formations, not terrain features. They must attack units and areas critical to coherent enemy operations, not just the enemy's lead formations. Commanders must possess the spirit of offensive determination. They must direct powerful initial blows against the enemy, placing him at an immediate disadvantage. These initial blows must be rapidly followed by additional strikes to keep the enemy off balance. To successfully implement the air-land battle doctrine, commanders must-

  • Hold the initiative
  • Operate across the entire width and depth of the battlefield.
  • React rapidly to changes in the enemy's intentions.
  • Synchronize the operations of their subordinates.

The air-land battle doctrine places an extremely heavy burden on all commanders. However, these burdens must be borne, if commanders expect to win against heavy odds on the battlefield of the future.


Like all other intelligence assets, interrogators serve the commander. Interrogation operations are of no value unless they contribute to the accomplishment of the supported commander's mission. To understand the interrogator's role in mission accomplishment, the overall contribution made by military intelligence must be understood. Military intelligence is responsible for providing commanders with an accurate and timely estimate of the enemy's capabilities and probable courses of action. This estimate must consider the terrain features in the area of operations, the number and type of enemy units in this area, and the prevailing weather conditions. Intelligence assets collect and analyze information to develop this estimate, then, give the estimate to commanders in sufficient time for use in their decision making.

Commanders request the information they need. These information requests are translated into collection requirements. The collection requirements are consolidated into collection missions and assigned to specific collection assets. Collection assets conduct operations to obtain information that satisfies their assigned collection missions. As collection assets gather information, they report it. The reported information is consolidated and analyzed to determine its reliability and validity. Valid information is collated and used to produce intelligence, which is then provided to the commanders, and simultaneously to collection assets to provide immediate feedback to assist in collection operations. This process is continuous, since commanders must react to a constantly changing battlefield. The following illustration shows the overall process followed by intelligence personnel in producing this estimate.

Analysis is the heart or center of the intelligence process. The collection effort is driven by an analysis of the commander's mission and the information needs this analysis identifies. The information collected is analyzed to determine how well it fills the commander's needs. IPB is the initial step in performing this analysis. IPB integrates enemy doctrine with the weather and terrain as they relate to a specific battlefield environment. This integration allows enemy capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action to be determined and evaluated. On the battlefield, IPB is dynamic. It produces graphic estimates that portray the enemy probable courses of action in the immediate situation. Commanders and their staff elements use IPB products to help them determine how to achieve decisive results with limited resources.


IEW operations are conducted to satisfy the aggregate intelligence, counterintelligence (CI), and EW requirements of the commander. IEW operations include both situation and target development activities. They are collectively oriented on the collection, processing, analysis, and reporting of all information regarding the enemy, weather, and terrain. IEW operations generate combat information, direct targeting data, all?source intelligence, and correlated targeting information. CI supports OPSEC, deception, rear operations, and EW. CI support to OPSEC and deception protects friendly, command, control, and communications (C3) programs. These are integral to IEW operations performed in support of the commander's combat objectives.


Situation development requires the collection of information that accurately describes the enemy, weather, and terrain within the supported commander's area of interest. The following questions exemplify the types of information required.

  • How will the terrain features and current weather affect the enemy's men and equipment? How will these effects change his operational timetables?
  • What tactics will the enemy employ to achieve his objectives? What equipment will he employ? How will he organize his forces?
  • Where will the enemy fight? What are his current unit locations? What are the strengths and weaknesses of those dispositions?
  • What are the enemy's intentions? Where will he move next? What will he do when he gets there? Will he attack, defend, or withdraw? Where, When, How?
  • Who, exactly, is the enemy? What are the capabilities, limitations, and operational patterns of specific enemy units and their commanders?
  • Where is the enemy vulnerable? What are his technical, operational, and human weaknesses?


Target development requires the collection of combat information, targeting data, and correlated targeting information. Its objective is to accurately predict where and when the enemy will establish dispositions that will yield the most decisive results when struck by a minimum of firepower. The following questions exemplify the types of information required.

  • Where, exactly, are the high value targets? Where are the locations of enemy weapons systems, units, and activities that may impact on combat operations?
  • What, exactly, is at these locations? How much equipment? How many personnel? To what units do they belong?
  • How long will these locations be targets? When did the units, equipment, and personnel arrive? Where will they locate?

Specific Information Requirements

Tactical intelligence operations begin with the commander. He conveys his information needs to the intelligence staff who converts them into PIR and IR for the commander's approval or modification. The intelligence officer translates PIR and IR into specific collection missions for subordinate, attached, and supporting units and requests information from the next higher echelon. He receives and evaluates information from all sources, develops and nominates high-payoff targets (HPTs), and reports intelligence results to higher, lower, and adjacent units.

Battalion Specific Information Requirements

Battalion commanders need specific information and accurate intelligence from the brigade and higher headquarters to plan their operations. They need timely combat information and targeting data from subordinate, adjacent, and supporting units to refine their plan and to win their offensive and defensive battles. Their specific information requirements (SIR) for attacking and defending are consolidated, due to the speed with which they must react on the extremely dynamic and volatile air-land battlefield. They must know-

  • Location, direction, and speed of platoon and company?sized elements within the enemy's first-echelon battalions.
  • Location, direction, and speed of enemy second-echelon battalions which indicate the first-echelon regiment's main effort.
  • Disposition and strength of enemy de fensive positions and fortifications.
  • Location of anti-tank positions, crew-served weapons, individual vehicle positions, and dismounted infantry.
  • Locations of barriers, obstacles, minefields, and bypass routes.
  • Effects of terrain and prevailing weather conditions throughout the course of combat operations.
  • Capability of enemy to employ air assets.
  • Availability and probability of use of enemy radio electronic combat (REC) assets to disrupt friendly C3.
  • Possibility of special weapons.
  • Probability of enemy use of NBC weapons.

Brigade Specific Information Requirements

Brigade commanders need and use specific information to plan, direct, coordinate, and support the operations of the division against enemy first-echelon regiments, their battalions, companies, and combat support units the sustainers. They also need accurate intelligence about enemy second-echelon regiments within first-echelon divisions and any follow-on forces which can close on their area of operation before the current engagement can be decisively concluded.

Brigades strive to attack enemy firstechelon forces while they are on the move and before they can deploy into combat formations. The brigade commander needs specific information about-

  • Composition, equipment, strengths, and weaknesses of advancing enemy forces.
  • Location, direction, and speed of enemy first-echelon battalions and their subordinate companies.
  • Locations and activities of enemy second and follow?on echelons capable of reinforcing their first?echelon forces in the operations area.
  • Location of enemy indirect fire weapon systems and units.
  • Locations of gaps, assailable flanks, and other tactical weaknesses in the enemy's OB and operations security (OPSEC) posture.
  • Air threat.
  • Enemy use of NBC.
  • Effects of weather and terrain on current and projected operations.
  • Anticipated timetable or event schedule associated with the enemy's most likely courses of action.

Should the enemy succeed in establishing his defensive positions, then, brigade commanders' SIR increase. They must then know the specific types, locations, and organization of enemy first- and second-echelon defensive positions and fortifications. These include-

  • Barriers, obstacles, fire sacks, and antitank strong points.
  • Locations of antiaircraft and missile artillery units.
  • Locations of surface?to?air missile units.
  • Location of REC units.
  • Location of reserve maneuver forces.
  • Enemy ability to conduct deep attack into friendly rear area.

Brigade commanders given defensive missions, or forced to defend given sectors, require specific information about assaulting enemy companies, battalions; regiments, and divisions?generally, their strength, composition, and direction of attack. The same information is required about enemy follow?on units that can affect brigade combat operations. Of specific concern are the locations, size, activities, direction, and speed of enemy air?assault, heliborne, and tactical air units capable of dealing lethal and decisive blows to brigade units and which could potentially be used to thwart any counterattack.

Specific information about enemy firstand second?echelon regimental C3 facilities is of paramount concern to the brigade commander, whether on the offense or defense. He must know the specific locations of enemy-

  • Division forward and main command posts (CPs).
  • Regimental and battalion CPs.
  • Fire direction control centers.
  • Command observation posts.
  • Radio and radar reconnaissance sites.
  • REC sites.
  • Target acquisition sites.

The suppression, neutralization, and destruction of enemy C3 systems and facilities are critical to the success of close operations. Brigade commanders, in concert with supporting division and corps IEW, and maneuver and fire support units use all available means to identify, locate, disrupt, and destroy these extremely HPTs. Their objective is to neutralize the enemy commanders` capability to command troops and control weapon and combat support systems. Thus, to degrade or deny the ability of the enemy commander to conduct his attack as planned, this is done by systematically attacking key nodes and information links in the enemy commanders' command and control (C2) system, which supports their decision?making process. This form of C2 warfare is founded upon the basic tenets of command, control, and communications countermeasures (C3CM) strategy and is defined as-

The integrated use of OPSEC, military deception, jamming, and physical destruction, supported by INTELLIGENCE, to deny information, influence, degrade, or destroy enemy C3 capabilities and to protect friendly C3.

The protection of friendly C3-protect C3-is the number one priority under C3CM strategy. Intelligence supports the protection of friendly C3 primarily through CI support to OPSEC and deception.


The mission of CI is to detect, evaluate, counteract, or prevent hostile intelligence collection, subversion, sabotage, and international terrorism conducted by or on behalf of any foreign power, organization, or person operating to the detriment of the US Army. CI personnel identify the hostile intelligence collection threat. They, together with operations personnel, develop friendly force profiles, identify vulnerabilities, and make recommendations to reduce those vulnerabilities. CI operations support OPSEC, deception, and rear operations.


CI support to OPSEC is the principal role of CI at echelons division and below. It includes-

  • The identification and analysis of enemy reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) capabilities, personnel, units, and activities.
  • The identification and analysis of enemy REC units, locations, and activities.
  • Assisting in the development of friendly force profiles.
  • Determining friendly vulnerabilities to enemy RSTA and REC activities.
  • Recommending and evaluating appropriate OPSEC and deception measures.


Military deception operations are planned, controlled, directed, and conducted by commanders at echelons above division. They are designed to mislead enemy senior military and political leaders regarding our true military objectives, our combat capabilities and limitations, and the composition and disposition of our combat forces. Battlefield deception is deliberate action to achieve surprise on the air-land battlefield. Its purpose is to mislead enemy ground force commanders as to our true combat objectives; tactical OB; major axis of advance; and the disposition of our reserve and combat support units, defensive positions, fortifications, and C3 facilities.


CI support to rear operations includes identifying and analyzing the enemy threat to brigade trains and both division support command (DISCOM) and corps support command (COSCOM) operations. CI personnel recommend steps to neutralize enemy agents, saboteurs, terrorists, sympathizers, and special purpose forces. Brigade and battalion commanders, their staffs, and all subordinate personnel must be trained and prepared to identify and report enemy units or activities which may pose a threat to brigade trains, DISCOM, and COSCOM operations. The potential impact on close operations from the rear cannot be overlooked.

Black, gray, and white lists identify personnel of CI interest. CI teams conduct operations that provide data used to compile these lists. Black lists contain the names of persons who are hostile to US interests and whose capture or nullification of their effectiveness are of prime importance. Gray lists contain names of persons whose inclinations or attitudes toward US interests are certain. White lists contain names of persons who are favorably inclined toward US interests and need to be protected from enemy targeting.


Interrogation and CI personnel must interact to defeat the enemy's collection effort and the threat posed to our rear areas. The interrogator must work in close coordination with CI personnel to keep abreast of CI targets in the event he encounters a source that possesses information of CI interest. The following questions exemplify the types of information required by CI:

  • What specific intelligence collection operations are being conducted by the enemy?
  • What aspects of the enemy's plans have been successfully concealed from our collection efforts?
  • What aspects of friendly plans have been discovered by the enemy, and how were they discovered?
  • Does the enemy plan to conduct sabotage operations?
  • Does the enemy plan to conduct sub versive operations?
  • How effective are our OPSEC measures?
  • How effective are our attempts at military deception?


EW is an essential element of combat power. It can provide commanders both a passive and an active means to protect their C3 systems and a passive and an active means to attack the enemy commanders' C3 systems as well. Protecting C3 is the number one priority for EW in accordance with C3CM strategy. Action taken to deny, influence, and degrade or destroy enemy C3 capabilities and counter-C3 is equally important. EW, like other elements of combat power on the air-land battlefield, is waged by employing a combination of both offensive and defensive operations, tactics, and procedures. Air-land battle doctrine and the spirit of the offense are the overriding considerations in planning and conducting EW operations (see FM 34-1).

The following questions exemplify types of information that the interrogator provides to EW operations:

  • Will the enemy employ jammers?
  • Will the enemy augment heavy elec tronic equipment?
  • What specific means of C3 are being used by the enemy?
  • What problem has the enemy experienced when using each of these means?
  • What has been the effect of our attempts to influence, degrade, or destroy these means of C3?


Interrogators are trained as linguists to question sources and to exploit CEDs. They collect and report information that pertains to the IEW tasks. Reportable information is determined by comparing the information obtained to the PIR and IR contained in the interrogation element's collection, mission. Interrogators collect information on political, economic, and a wide range of military topics. In doing this, they organize their collection effort according to the OB elements used by the intelligence analyst. However, at the tactical level, commanders and intelligence staff will generate requests for specific intelligence and combat information PIR and IR that will allow them to better conduct the war. Therefore, the collection effort should be limited to obtaining information that responds to the PIR and IR:

  • Missions. Information that describes, the present, future, or past missions of specific enemy units. Each unit for which mission information was obtained is identified.
  • Compositions. Information that identifies specific enemy units. This identification should include the type of unit (artillery, transportation, armor, and so forth) and a description of the unit's organizational chain of command.
  • Strength. Information that describes the size of enemy units in terms of personnel, weapons, and equipment. A unit identification must accompany each description.
  • Dispositions. Information that establishes locations occupied by the enemy units or activities. The information will identify the military significance of the disposition, other enemy units there, and any security measures.
  • Tactics. Information that describes the tactics in use, or planned for use, by specific enemy units. The doctrine governing the employment of these tactics will be included in the description.
  • Training. Information that identifies and describes the types of individual and collective training being conducted by the enemy. The description will include all information on the thoroughness, degree, and quality of the training
  • Combat effectiveness. Information that describes the ability and fighting quality of specific enemy units. The description will provide unit identification and information about personnel and equipment losses and replacements, reinforcements, morale, and combat experiences of its members.
  • Logistics. Information that describes the means by which the enemy moves and sustains his forces. This includes any information on the types and amounts of supply required, procured, stored, and distributed by enemy units in support of current and future operations.
  • Electronic technical data. Information that describes the operational parameters of specific enemy electronic equipment. This includes both communications and noncommunications systems.
  • Miscellaneous data. Information that supports the development of any of the other OB elements. Examples are personalities, passwords, unit histories, radio call signs, radio frequencies, unit or vehicle identification numbers, and PSYOP.

The degree of success achieved by interrogation operations is limited by the environment in which the operations are performed. Interrogators depend on the IEW process to give direction to their collection efforts. They rely on the conduct of combat operations to provide them with collection targets: sources and CED.

Interrogation operations are also limited by the very nature of human intelligence (HUMINT) collection. The source or CED must actually have the desired information before the interrogators can collect it. With respect to sources, there is always the possibility that knowledgeable individuals may refuse to cooperate. The Geneva and Hague Conventions and the UCMJ set definite limits on the measures which can be used to gain the willing cooperation of prisoners of war.

Page last modified: 26-04-2005 16:40:23 Zulu