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ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005

Part V


Chapter 14


Intelligence Operations

As units began conducting full spectrum operations in Iraq, most leaders at the tactical level found that the gathering and analysis of information became a critical mission for all Soldiers. The Army’s legacy intelligence system, primarily designed for the top-down dissemination of information on a conventional battlefield, became only an adjunct to new processes developed during OIF. The new paradigm that emerged in 2003 and 2004 featured tactical units developing their own actionable intelligence that would then enable other types of operations such as cordon and searches or reconstruction projects. While the Army adapted its signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery intelligence (IMINT) systems to the insurgent threat and the noncontiguous battlefield, it was human intelligence (HUMINT) that became the critical source for information that allowed tactical units to attain the objectives in their areas of responsibility (AORs).

This study has demonstrated that in May 2003 the US Army was not prepared to gather or analyze HUMINT on any meaningful scale. HUMINT assets were few in number and resided mainly in the Tactical HUMINT Teams (THTs) spread across Iraq. Pushing these scarce teams down to brigade or battalion level provided some assistance to tactical commanders, but because those teams normally consisted of only three to six Soldiers, their effectiveness was limited. Exacerbating the problems in the formal HUMINT collection process was the barrier posed by language and culture. Almost all units examined noted that the severe lack of Army or contracted civilian linguists created huge obstacles to gathering information.

Given the nature of the Global War on Terrorism, it is highly likely that HUMINT will continue to be the key means of gathering actionable intelligence in the campaigns on the horizon. Since 2003 the Army has revisited its HUMINT doctrine and incorporated lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to better prepare military intelligence (MI) Soldiers for future campaigns. The newest version of the Army’s HUMINT doctrine, Field Manual (FM) 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations (2006), emphasizes the role of HUMINT managers and coordinators, such as the 2X staff officer and offers guidance and procedures for the THTs working on a noncontiguous battlefield. In 2003 and 2004 HUMINT operations almost always involved interrogations of detainees. In response to the detainee and interrogation abuses in this period, the new doctrine asserts the primacy of the Geneva Convention in establishing norms for the treatment of detainees, adheres to the standards set in the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and dictates to collectors the only legal interrogation techniques available for use. FM 2-22.3 also affirms the line that demarcates the roles of MI and military police (MP) Soldiers in interrogation operations, clearly stating that MP Soldiers have no role in preparing detainees for interrogations.

The Army should continue to revise and develop its HUMINT doctrine, including new concepts on the structure and manning of HUMINT teams at the tactical level, the role of the HUMINT (2X) officer and the structure of the intelligence staff section at various levels, and means of addressing the chronic shortage of linguists and interpreters. On a broader front, the Army recognized the role all Soldiers played in gathering vital information in Iraq and in 2005 began training Soldiers for this task through its Every Soldier Is A Sensor program. This initiative is an excellent start to what will hopefully become a systemic approach to training all Soldiers and units in the fundamentals of intelligence collection and analysis.

Chapter 14. Implications

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