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Chapter 6

Operational Environment

Interrogation operations are conducted within the context of the supported unit's day-to-day combat operations: This chapter will describe the interaction of interrogation elements with the echelons they support.


Interrogation assets are not organic to echelons below division except armored cavalry regiments (ACRs) and separate brigades. At every echelon, division and higher, interrogators are assigned to the MI unit supporting that echelon. MI unit commanders are responsible for these assets and should become personally involved in two key decisions affecting interrogators:

  • Which collection target, sources, or CEDs will be given command priority.
  • Where interrogators will be deployed within the area of operations.


As previously noted, interrogators are trained to exploit sources and CEDs. This allows the all-source collection manager three exploitation options for the interrogation assets. They may exploit sources alone, CED alone, or attempt to exploit both simultaneously. In the past it was assumed that interrogators could accomplish the dual collection mission no matter what type of combat operations were being supported. This may no longer be true. Unit manning, coupled with the amount of CEDs and sources, may prevent exploitation of both sources and CEDs simultaneously.

Combat since World War II indicates that the volume of CEDs alone will overwhelm an interrogation element the size of that being projected for a heavy division. A flow of CEDs similar to that encountered in Grenada will supply enough targets to keep a light division's interrogators busy around-the-clock just screening and categorizing the CEDs. Any attempt to conduct deeper exploitation would result in a tremendous evacuation delay and the end of timely reporting. Experience indicates that a division involved in a high intensity conflict may have to process between 525 and 5,300 sources per week. While these figures are estimates, they demonstrate the inability of a division's own interrogators to simultaneously exploit both sources and CEDs. Divisions may receive additional interrogation assets from corps, depending on their mission. Prior planning must be conducted to establish the availability of these assets, and their deployment within the division.

The density of interrogation assets and command emphasis on the collection effort determines mission requirements. The feasibility of a dual collection mission may also be the result of initial IPB by the commander's intelligence staff. If an echelon cannot conduct a dual collection effort, interrogation of sources has traditionally received the priority for two important reasons:

  • The greater intelligence potential of a source.
  • The rate at which people forget detailed information.

An individual's value system is easier to bypass immediately after undergoing a significant traumatic experience. Capture, and the circumstances surrounding it, is significantly traumatic for most sources. Many former Vietnam prisoners of war indicated that a period of extreme disorientation occurred immediately after capture. Capture thrust them into a totally foreign environment over which they had no control. The standards of behavior and conduct which they had previously accepted and lived by were of no use to them during this period. Most of them survived this initial period by clinging to very basic values (love of family and loyalty to friends or comrades). Human beings are very adaptable, however, and this initial vulnerability passes rather quickly. An individual's established values begin to assert themselves again within a day or two. When this happens, much of an individual's susceptibility to interrogation is gone.

Memory stores information in two areas: The five senses constantly transmit information to the brain's short-term memory. This data is stored there temporarily and then shifted to the brain's long-term memory. The time at which this transfer takes place varies widely, but research shows that a great amount of detail is lost during that transfer. Studies conducted on classroom learning indicate that even though students know information stressed in class is important, by the next day most of the information is forgotten. The percentage of information lost beyond recall varies from study to study, but a 70-percent figure is a conservative estimate. Much of the information of value to the interrogator is information that the source is not even aware he has. Although no research data is available in this area, it is reasonable to assume that this type of information will be lost even faster than classroom learning.

CEDs, while not affected by memory loss, are often time sensitive and are screened for possible exploitation as quickly as possible. Interrogators were given the CED exploitation mission because of their linguistic ability. This makes printed and typed material readily exploitable, but many handwritten documents are illegible. Information contained in undeveloped imagery and recordings is inaccessible to most interrogation elements. The intelligence value of painted, drawn, or engraved material cannot be exploited by many elements unless it is accomplished by explanatory information in writing. An example of this would be an overlay prepared without map data, registration points, or identifying terrain features. In spite of these limitations, an estimated 90 percent of all the information contained in CEDs can be exploited. The following illustration shows a comparison along a time line of the amounts of information available to the interrogator from the two collection targets. The comparison assumes that the CEDs and the sources initially had the same amount of information, and that it was of equal intelligence value. Bear in mind that the figures used are conservative estimates, and that the time between the two target types might be even greater between 24 and 72 hours. The percentage of information available from sources drops sharply during the first 24 hours after capture. This represents the rapid loss of what sources would consider to be insignificant details. A slower drop in the percentage begins at 48 hours to represent the resurgence of established value systems. This resurgence makes it harder for interrogators to obtain what information the source still remembers.

The supported echelon's intelligence officer determines the guidelines for priority of exploitation. The commander's intelligence needs and the G2's or S2's estimate of the enemy's intentions dictate the extent to which these guidelines can be applied. Exploitation priorities are reviewed and changed when needed.


Interrogation assets are not mobile enough to be quickly shifted in response to new developments. The initial deployment of these assets are guided by the exploitation priority established by the commander. Operations are conducted at an echelon that will allow interrogators the best opportunity to satisfy their assigned collection mission. When making the deployment decision, the following should also be considered:

  • Number of interrogators available.
  • Type and intensity of anticipated combat operations.
  • Support available at subordinate units.

The number of interrogators available limit the number of deployment sites that can be used. MI commanders at corps consider how many interrogators will be available for interrogation operations after augmentation has been provided to subordinate divisions. The number of interrogators also plays a key role in deciding the level of intense or sustained collection operations they can conduct.

Intense collection employs all available interrogators with little or no provision for them to rest. The major disadvantage of intense collection is that these interrogators become exhausted quickly. Interrogations amount to prolonged conversations under extreme stress. Once the available interrogators are exhausted, collection stops until they recover or additional assets arrive. A severe decrease in interrogation effectiveness can be expected to begin between 12 and 18 hours after the onset of intense collection. Eighteen hours should be considered the maximum period possible for intense collection. This kind of all-out effort can be justified when critical information must be obtained or confirmed quickly to forestall a major disaster. Similar problems can be expected during intense CED exploitation. Sustained operations can be maintained for indefinite periods of time. They also allow the commander some rested interrogators to use on a contingency basis in a different location. The disadvantage of sustained collection is that operations are slower, exploiting fewer sources over a given period of time.

The last important factor that should be considered in making deployment decisions is the area in which operations are to be conducted. This area must be capable of providing the support required by the interrogation element. This support includes-

  • Priority access to reliable means of secure communications.
  • Adequate shelter and security.
  • A flow of CEDs and sources to exploit.


The MI unit commander retains overall responsibility for the interrogators assigned to his unit. The manner in which these interrogators are tasked depends on how the MI unit is task organized for combat. If interrogators are deployed in general support (GS) of the division, the MI battalion commander tasks them through his S3 and the battalion tactical operations center (TOC). If interrogators are deployed in direct support (DS) of a division's subordinate units, they are tasked by the commander of that unit through his S2. If attached to an IEW company, team tasking is directed through the team commander. The officers responsible for tasking interrogation elements ensure that the following steps are accomplished:

  • Collection missions that reflect the capabilities and limitations of interrogators are assigned.
  • Interrogation reports are integrated with information provided by other collectors during the IPB process.
  • Copies of the INTSUM, INTREP, PERINTREP, daily intelligence summary (DISUM), and supplementary intelligence report (SUPINTREP) are disseminated to the interrogation element as they are published.
  • Close contact is maintained with the interrogation element.


Once the IPB process has produced initial results, all identified intelligence gaps are addressed by detailed collection requirements. Any PIR and IR requesting information that interrogators can collect are identified. The PIR and IR are then consolidated into a collection mission and assigned to the interrogation element. The assigned collection mission is tailored according to the capabilities and limitations of interrogators (see Chapter 2). Tailoring collection missions ensures that all intelligence gaps are covered and avoids unnecessary duplication.

Collection missions are tailored and assigned by the collection management and dissemination (CM&D) section subordinate to the G2 at corps and division. The same functions are performed at brigade and battalion by the battlefield information control center (BICC). These elements ensure that the assigned collection mission is passed by secure means, through established channels, to the interrogation element. In addition to PIR and IR, the assigned collection mission includes-

  • Specific events about which information is required. ,
  • Time frames during which the events must have occurred to be of value.
  • The date on which the information will no longer be of value.
  • Channels to be used to report the information collected.
  • Higher, lower, and adjacent units authorized to receive copies of reported information.


The CM&D section or the BICC must ensure that information reported by the interrogation element is integrated with information collected by other intelligence disciplines during the IPB process. One major value of interrogation operations is that information obtained can cue other collection systems. Mission statements obtained from sources often identify general locations that imagery intelligence (IMINT) or SIGINT collectors can further exploit to produce targeting data.


Intelligence is used by interrogators as a source of prepared and control questions (see Chapter 3). The CM&D section or BICC ensures that current copies of the INTSUM, INTREP, PERINTREP, SUPINTREP, DISUM, and any other intelligence reports are provided to the interrogation element. Intelligence is also used to revise and refine the objectives of interrogation operations, to update the element's OB data base, and to keep the element's threat SITMAP current.


The CM&D section (through the MI battalion TOC) or the BICC maintains close contact with the interrogation element. This contact allows a two-way flow of communication. The CM&D section or BICC needs the contact to accomplish the collection mission, IPB interrogation, and intelligence dissemination. They also use the contact to revise the interrogation element's collection mission as required. The interrogation element requires the contact to ensure that it receives current guidance, direction, and assistance in solving collection problems.


Successful interrogation operations require support from a number of elements within their echelon of assignment, including all of the major staff organizations. These elements are collectively responsible for the planning that creates the overall environment for interrogators. The intelligence staff's (G2 or S2) direct contribution to interrogation operations has already been discussed. Its general responsibilities are outlined below, along with those of other staff and support elements.

The G1 and S1 are responsible for: supervising the medical support furnished to sources, maintaining a list (by language and proficiency) of qualified linguists within their command, and coordinating with the G5 for procurement and payment of other interpreters and translators needed to perform both intelligence and nonintelligence duties. The G1 and S1 ensure that the echelon's operations plan contains complete provisions for source handling and evacuation. This plan must satisfy the interests of all other staff officers, as well as STANAG 2044 (see Appendix A for an extract). Its provisions must cover the following principles:

  • Humane treatment of all sources.
  • Prompt evacuation from the combat zone.
  • Opportunities to interrogate sources.
  • Integration of procedures for the evacuation, control, and administration of sources with other combat support and combat service support (CSS) operations (through the provost marshal).
  • Training for all troops on the provisions of international agreements and regulations relating to sources.


The G2 and S2 are responsible for supervising appropriate censorship activities relating to sources. They are also responsible for

  • Projecting source cature flows.
  • Determining the number of interpreters and translators needed to perform intelligence duties.
  • Controlling the procedures used to process and grant clearances to the interpreters and translators who need them.


The G3 and S3 are responsible for operations, plans, organization, and training. Where military police assets are not available, or not sufficient, they are responsible for obtaining, organizing, and supervising the employment of additional personnel as guards. It is also responsible for

  • Training of military police and guard personnel.
  • Providing G2 and S2 with details of planned operations.
  • Planning and supervising all PSYOP activities in support of tactical operations.
  • Evaluating, in coordination with the G2 and the G5, enemy PYSOP efforts and the effectiveness of friendly PSYOP on target groups.


The G4 and S4 are responsible for the storage and maintenance of supplies and equipment needed by subordinate units to conduct source handling operations. They are responsible for delivering supplies and equipment to subordinate units as they are needed. They also supervise-

  • Acquisition of real estate and the construction of source holding area facilities in the communications zone (COMMZ).
  • Collection and distribution of captured enemy supplies. This is coordinated with the intelligence and operations staffs.
  • Procurement and distribution of rations to source holding areas. Captured enemy rations will be used to the greatest extent possible.
  • Determination of requirements for use of source labor for the logistical support needed in source handling operations.
  • Provide logistical support to interpreter personnel.


The G5 and S5 are responsible for civil affairs (CA). They are also responsible for-

  • Advising, assisting, and making recommendations that relate to civil-military operations (CMO) and CA aspects of current or proposed operations.
  • Preparing estimates and conducting studies and analyses for CMO activities.
  • Preparing the portions of operations, administrative, and logistics plans and orders concerning CMO activities.
  • Determining the requirements for resources to accomplish the CMO activities of the command, including CA units and personnel.
  • Maintaining a list of native linguists for interpreter support.
  • Coordinating with local US Government representatives and host-nation armed forces for the procurement of native linguists for interpreter support.
  • Recommending command policy concerning obligations between civil and military authorities and policy concerning the population of the area of operations and its works and activities arising from treaties, agreements, international law, and US policy.
  • Providing civil support for tactical and CSS operations and for preventing civilian interference with these operations.
  • Coordinating military support of populace and resource control programs.
  • Providing technical advice and assistance in the reorientation of sources and enemy defectors.
  • Coordinating the MI aspects of CMO activities with the G2 or S2.


Besides the major staff elements, an interrogation element requires support from several other elements in order to conduct operations. These elements include-

  • Communications. Secure, reliable communications must be available at or near the interrogation element's deployment site. Priority access to these communications must be arranged to support contact with collection management.
  • Staff judge advocate. This element can provide legal support and advice on the interpretation and application of international regulations and agreements concerning handling of sources. It is also a channel for reporting known or suspected war crimes.
  • Health service support. This element must clear all sick and wounded sources before they can be interrogated. Seriously sick and wounded sources are evacuated through medical channels. If adequate facilities are not available in EPW hospitals, EPWs are admitted to military or civilian medical facilities where the required treatment can be obtained. Medical inspections are made and the weight of each EPW is recorded at least once a month. Provisions are made for the isolation of communicable cases, for disinfection, and for inoculations. Retained medical personnel and EPWs with medical training are used to the fullest extent in caring for their own sick and wounded. FM 8-2 and FM 8-10 provide guidance for health service support.
  • NBC protection. All EPWs will be provided NBC protection. EPWs should be allowed to use their own NBC protection equipment or if not feasible, the detaining forces will exchange the EPWs' equipment for proper NBC gear. If EPWs do not have their own NBC protection equipment, the detaining forces must provide them with proper NBC gear.
  • Chaplain support. The unit ministry team, chaplain, and chaplain assistant provide for religious support. Coordination is made with the S5 and G5 for religious support for refugees, displaced persons, and indigenous civilians. The unit ministry team provides for services for EPWs or assists by supporting detained clergy of enemy forces, supporting other detained clergy and providing for burial rites (combatants are granted, where possible, the right to be buried according to the rites of their religion). Religious preference of EPWs will be obtained from their detainee personnel record form (see Appendix B).
  • Inspector general. This element is a channel for reporting known or suspected war crimes.


Commanders and supervisors must take a deep interest in the quality and quantity of training given to the interrogators assigned to their units. Commanders cannot wait for the start of hostilities to begin a comprehensive training program. Interrogators require a high degree of proficiency in several complex skills that are difficult to master. These skills fade rapidly if not practiced. The value and versatility of a commander's interrogation assets can be continually enhanced by a training program within his unit. An individual interrogator's contributions to the unit's overall collection effort are directly dependent on the degree of exposure he has had to-

  • Language training that emphasizes continuous improvement in military and technical vocabulary, dialects spoken in the target countries, and slang or idiomatic expressions.
  • Area studies of the target countries that emphasize the inhabitants and the economic, social, religious, and political systems which shape the behavior of those inhabitants.
  • Principles of human behavior that emphasize the social and cultural characteristics of behavior considered acceptable in the target countries. As often as possible, training in these areas should be integrated with individual and collective training. This gives the unit the best return for the training time expended and gives the individual interrogator the most realistic training possible.

Innovative training methods are devised and implemented in garrison as part of the scheduled training cycle. This training is based on the results of periodic evaluations of individual and collective performance. Army Training and Evaluating Programs are being developed which set the standards for collective performance by interrogation elements of various sizes.

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