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During stability operations, many maneuver elements were given the mission to capture key personnel from the Dignity Battalions (DIGBATs). Little data existed on these personnel which made identification and detention extremely difficult. On D + 5 a filing cabinet was discovered, tipped over and strewn about the floor in the DIGBAT headquarters. Inspection of the contents revealed that they were actually personnel files, with photos, of the members of the DIGBATs.


Most notable during JUST CAUSE was the sheer volume of documents retrieved and turned in for exploitation. Within the first week, it was estimated that over 120 tons of documents had been captured. Initially, there were no priorities on locations to be searched or on what to look for. This was compounded by a shortage of interrogators, multiple exploitation priorities, and widely dispersed locations of large volumes of documents.


  • Develop SOPs and practice document recovery as part of routine training. Soldiers need to understand the value of captured documents to intelligence collection and the need to keep them in their original configuration.

  • Develop techniques to search areas/rooms for weapons without destroying the configuration of office/headquarters.

  • Plan for, and issue to units, supplies for proper handling of documents to include boxes, plastic bags, tape, markers and labeling material.

  • Assign Document Exploitation Teams or Military Intelligence (MI) liaison officers (LOs) to accompany forward units to secure, report, protect and ship valuable time sensitive documents to collection and analysis centers.

  • Require language-qualified personnel for initial screening of documents prior to any detailed analysis. Plans must ensure that qualified area expert linguists are on hand.

Table of Contents, Volume III
Volume II, Civil Military Operations by Combat Units
Lessons Learned - Intelligence: Low Intensity Conflict (LIC)-Specific Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB)

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