Introducing the concept of “Actionable Intelligence”

Introducing the concept of “Actionable Intelligence”

Stephen K. Iwicki

Over the last few months, the Senior Leadership of our Army has been conducting an assessment in concert with input from leaders and Soldiers from every part of our Army and with many others from outside our Army. This assessment outlines where we are and where we need to go. We have examined our strengths and probed the areas where we need to improve. This analysis has provided us with some areas of immediate focus that will feed into more strategic undertakings. This is not a linear process and is not an easy undertaking.

–General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff of the Army

The Army is developing 17 immediate Focus Areas intended to steer the Army into the future. Most of the 17 interconnect with or impact Military Intelligence (MI) in someway. The Army Chief of Staff (CSA) assigned responsibility for each Focus Area to either the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) or Department of the Army staff elements; the Army G2 has the lead for Focus Area 16 (Actionable Intelligence).

The CSA’s guidance to Task Force Actionable Intelligence (TF-AI) emphasized rapidly implementing a capability that provides shared situational understanding across the force and instilling an Army-wide culture and mind-set that every soldier is a collector, in learning, adaptive organizations that leverage inherent intelligence capabilities.

Developing the Actionable Intelligence Concept

TF-AI, consisting of experienced active and retired MI personnel from throughout the Army, is developing new concepts, initiatives, and processes that will provide (the product) Actionable Intelligence to any Soldier or commander at any echelon within the Army. TF-AI is looking across the Army doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) to determine what the current and future MI issues are and how to fix them. The Army is vetting merging recommendations through the Army and Joint Senior Intelligence Leadership, with review by a group of “out-of-the-box thinkers” (academia, scientists, writers) and a “Gray Beard” panel of senior retired Army and sister Service flag officers, representing the perspectives of both the Operations and Intelligence communities.

Those who have served more than a few years with the military understand that transformation typically equates to a lengthy and bureaucratic process that takes many years to develop, fund, and field. With our nation at war, the Army is pushing toward more rapid, immediately relevant change in the Current and Future Force.

Implementing Our Concept

In describing this construct within the overarching Army “Way Ahead,” our concept reflects a Current Force and a Future Force, both of which must be viable. While that is intuitive, in the past we have typically built toward a certain system or force, rather than fixing the current problems, because we will have the solution when we field new systems in the future, often years down the road. We must lose that mindset. As an army at war, our Current Force is fighting now. Therefore, issues and problems with the Current Force need fixing now. While we will not have all the technological fixes that future technology will bring, we cannot wait. Using “Spiral Development” techniques, we must insert what we can today, and evolve to the Future Force over time.

To implement this approach, TF-AI has several subordinate working groups, including the Current Force and Future Force Working Groups.

The Current Force Working Group focused on immediately addressing and resolving issues related to the Current Force. This group interacts with deployed forces to define issues and solutions for our forces engaged in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). In the case of OIF, the Army identified 85 Intelligence requirements four months ago; to date, we have successfully resolved 73 of them.

The Future Force Working Group, working in conjunction with the entire MI Community and the other CSA Focus Areas, is developing and refining concepts, doctrine, initiatives, and systems for the Current and Future Forces. This group has the charter to conceptualize and design essential components and capabilities of MI in the Future Force.

Three essential tasks form the core of Focus Area Actionable Intelligence. Discussed below, these essential tasks are instilling a collector/consumer mindset; providing a framework linking analytic centers, sensors, and databases; and designing modular packages quickly tailored and aligned for support.

Instill the mindset that every Soldier is both a collector of information and a consumer of both information and intelligence. We must imbue the mindset that every Soldier is a Sensor within the entire Army. Our Soldiers on the battlefield, walking the ground and interacting with locals, have always been the best collectors of information; the challenge has been getting the information into the reporting system. We must ingrain within all Soldiers (drivers, Aviators, Infantry) that what they see, hear, or smell could be the critical piece of information required. With this crucial concept, we must develop a structure that eases the ability of each Soldier to receive and report information within the overall battle command framework.

Across the Army, we must change the culture and mindset of Soldiers and leaders to understand the imperative to fight for intelligence. Units cannot passively wait for intelligence to come from internal of external sources. Soldiers and leaders must employ all assets and resources in their span of control as intelligence collection assets and recognize that friendly actions elicit responses by our adversaries.

Provide leaders and Soldiers a framework that links analytic centers, sensors, and databases into a real-time structure that supports operations. This will allow for the rapid sharing and exchange of data through intelligence down to and up from the Soldier level, enabling Actionable Intelligence. We require persistent surveillance with information and intelligence processed at the point of origin to facilitate movement of the data. We need systems that are rapidly deployable and adaptable to any given situation across the full spectrum of conflict. Within this framework, we are developing the concept of “Analytic Overwatch.” This function responds directly to tactical units by providing analysis and collection overwatch of their intelligence-related requirements. The primary mission under this framework will be “pushing” focused intelligence to the tactical units and ensuring continuous situational understanding during critical phases of the operation.

Design modular intelligence packages that forces can easily and quickly tailor and align to support any battlefield mission. Based upon the varied threats and multiple types of battlefields we can expect to see in the future, we require a modular MI structure that enables us to deploy the required package (analytic, collection, human intelligence [HUMINT], etc.) in any operation. These modules will be capable of interacting and collaborating within the joint and coalition environment.

Final Thoughts

Full realization of FA 16 must include a change in the overarching culture and mindset on Intelligence, processes, and responsibilities within the Army. We will discuss this concept more fully in the “CSA’s Focus Area 16: Actionable Intelligence” section in the April-June 2004 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin (MIPB).

TF-AI is working these issues and designing possible solutions to these and other challenges. The TF-AI team will brief the CSA in late January or early February 2004. We will release some of the initial recommendations in greater detail in future issues of MIPB as we develop them and obtain approval. Please forward any comments or suggestions on these or other MI concepts to the Deputy Director of TF-AI, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Iwicki at steve.iwicki

Figure 1. CSA’s Focus Area 16: “Actionable Intelligence.”

“The assessment outlines where the Army is and where the Army needs

to go. The analysis provided 17 immediate focus areas, which will

feed into more strategic undertakings. The focus areas are highly

interrelated and are not a linear process.”–CSA

Focus Areas

[] The Soldier

[] The Bench

[] Army Aviation

[] Leader Development and Education

[] Combat Training Centers/Battle

Command Training Program

[] Current to Future Force

[] The Network

[] Modularity

[] Joint and Expeditionary Mindset

[] AC/RC Balance

[] Force Stabilization

[] Installations as Flagships

[] Resource Processes

[] Strategic Communications

[] Authorities, Responsibilities,

and Accountability

[] Joint Logistics

[] Actionable Intelligence

FAs interact as required


“Actionable Intelligence “–Product developed for commanders and

Soldiers to provide shared situational understanding allowing

commanders and Soldiers to operate with the speed, accuracy, and

timeliness necessary to conduct successful operations.

Fix The Current–Design and Posture For The Future

Essential Tasks

[] Instill the mindset that every Soldier is both a collector and

a consumer of intelligence information.

[] Provide leaders and Soldiers a framework that links analytic

centers, sensors, and databases into a structure that

supports operations.

[] Design modular intelligence force packages that are easily and

quickly tailored and aligned to support any battlefield mission.

U.S. Army Reserve Command MI Augmentation Detachment

Military Intelligence (MI) Soldiers are a critical U.S. Army asset. The nation has a real interest in preserving and employing these skills, especially as the MI Soldier gains experience in using these hard-won skills.

To retain these Soldiers and their skills for the nation, the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) established the Military Intelligence Augmentation Detachment (MIAD) directly subordinate to the USARC. The MIAD’s mission is to facilitate life-cycle management of MI Soldiers in the Reserve Components (RC). The Detachment accomplishes its mission by assigning U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) enlisted, warrant, and company-grade Soldiers to USARC high-priority MI units with vacancies. The MIAD enables MI-qualified Soldiers who do not reside near a USARC Tier 1 unit to be productive members of the USAR. The primary MIAD focus is the retention of Soldiers leaving active duty, Soldiers displaced by unit reorganizations or inactivation, and USAR Soldiers relocating to an area without a USAR MI unit.

After joining the MIAD, MI Soldiers have funding to attend a minimum of six 3-day trips in active duty for training (ADT) status each fiscal year. These trips normally occur during the unit’s weekend training periods. During these six ADT periods, the MIAD funds the Soldier’s transportation and lodging expenses. The Soldier also must perform a minimum of 24 mutual training assemblies (MUTAs) either at a unit close to his home or through ether means such as performing intelligence-related work using the World Basic Information Library. The MIAD will also fund travel and base pay for the Soldier’s annual training period (normally two weeks each year) if it is more than normal commuting distance of the Soldier’s home. Some USAR MI personnel perform their AT as overseas deployment training (ODT).

Languages Needed

Currently the MIAD needs Soldiers with language skills in Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin, French, Korean, Persian-Iranian, Spanish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Soldiers not skilled in critical languages may be eligible for attendance at the Defense Language Institute (DLI).

Additional MIAD Opportunities

The MIAD also manages Soldiers in two other types of units. A limited number of MIAD Soldiers can serve as Technical Intelligence Analysts with 203d MI Battalion at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The 203d is a multiple-component (MultiCompo) unit and the only technical intelligence battalion in the Army. To be eligible for this assignment, Soldiers must be qualified Technical Intelligence Analysts. Most of these positions are at the Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, and Sergeant First Class levels.

MI noncommissioned officers (NCOs) can also serve with one of the five Army Reserve Total Army School System (TASS) units as MI Instructors. These Soldiers have the important job of instructing RC Soldiers in MI subjects.

Contacting the MIAD

Active duty Soldiers leaving the Active Army who are interested in an MIAD assignment can obtain more information from their post transition counselors. Additional information on the MIAD is available from the Army Knowledge Online (AKO). Go the Army Communities/Army Reserve/Direct Reporting Units and click on the MI Augmentation Detachment. You can also contact the MIAD via E-mail at or by telephoning 1-800-359-8483, extensions 9546/8896.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Iwicki is currently assigned to the Army G2 and serving as the Deputy Director of TF-AI. Readers may contact him via E-mail at and telephonically at (703) 693-6210.

COPYRIGHT 2004 U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group