Intel Enabler Assessment, Selection and Training Program (for SF support)

Marauder06

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This is the latest version of a topic that has been on my mind since I was in 5th Group back in 2003. Basically, the underlying issue is that there is no centralized, large-scale screening process whatsoever for enablers (i.e. anyone not 18-series) looking to go to Group. On the intel side, an assignment to Group is as easy as picking up the phone and asking your branch manager to slot you against an available opening. This results, in my opinion, in more than their fair share of non-hackers making their way into an SF support assignment. Once in the unit, many of non-hackers choose to stay indefinitely, while the "good" enablers choose to move on to other SOF units or return to the regular Army. Over time, this situation sometimes helps create a vicious circle of unmet expectations and low opinion of the effectiveness of intelligence enablers, culminating in a non-optimal level of support.

Having had the opportunity to work with or at least observe most of the rest of the major U.S. SOF units, I've seen the difference that a screening process can make, and learned the importance of a structured training program to the ability of intelligence enablers to "hit the ground running" and be able to keep up with the people they support.

Many people have written that a problem exists, but few have provided a detailed plan that might be able to address some of the fundamental issues. This paper is my attempt to do that. It is derived in part from a thesis I wrote last year, which in turn was a followup of a previous work I did that was published about five years ago.

My goal in posting this here is to solicit input before I post it at a couple of other sites I frequent, in advance of sending it out to be published. Comments are welcome; current or prior service in an SF Group is not a requirement. I am particularly looking for corrections to any factual errors that this paper might contain; if USASFC or USASOC have already stood up a similiar program, for example, that would be a really good thing for me to know before I try to get this published ;) .

I want to close by thanking the SF and SF support contingent on the site who have already provided very useful and insightful comments (that doesn't mean they agreed with me or that I agreed with them, it just means that I value their input :) ).

Thank you for your time, I hope you find the read interesting.
 

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Cochise

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A very insightful read, sir. I don't have any valuable experience in the SOF support world as of yet so unfortunately I cannot provide any recommendations or critique. The EAST program sounds like a very viable option and hopefully it gets a much deserved look from Higher.

Once again, you've humbled me as an intel professional. Well done!
 

Marauder06

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The NCOs do all the work, I'm just here to make it look pretty.

Oh, and to take the credit. Got to have something for the ol' evals. :cool:
 

QC

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A pretty sound argument. If other unit have the capability, it begs the question.
BTW, in the endnotes I see there's a paper on no growth for SF past 2017. (a bit of topic but I'm curious.)
How would this impact on your proposal?
 

Marauder06

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Thank you for the comments.

I don't think it should impact EAST at all, since the program is an expansion of current capabilities, not an expansion of current manning levels.
 

Brill

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Sir,

I'm on the road moving out to Colorado but will provide comments soon. Just a quick glance: 210 APFT is way too low. We're required us to have min score of 270.

L
 

Marauder06

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Who is requiring you to have a 270? The only requirement I know of for a needs-of-the-Army assignment is 180, with 60 points in each event. Are you sure that's not a "goal" vs. a "requirement?"

Isn't 210 the minimum for EIB and to pass the PT test at Ranger School?
 

dirtmover

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Very insightful Sir. One thing that could stop this awesome idea in its tracts is funding. With all the Defense cuts I can see everyone trying to hang on to every penny even though this program is sorely needed. If this was not the intent of your paper then I am sorry, but I would be curious to hear how you would solve that problem.
 

RetPara

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JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, MARY, AND JOESEPH!!!!!!! ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE? You publish that and your career will go so low that you'll be looking up at flogged whale shit son!!!!! Your a officer for Christ's sake; you keep spouting that common sense shit and man you'll be looking for another job.

Intelligence Training Battalion at SWCS? You mean there be one.... like now?

* The personal essay is a great idea. Unless there is some kind of remedial writing classes being held at unit or USAICS level... a lot of young people will not get by that. The ability to write a grammatically correct sentence is not a wide ranging skill set these days.

*Will MI slots still be open to women?

*What if no MI officer in the applicants chain of command will give him a letter of recommendation, through no fault of his own, but because they're stereotypical MI dickhead officer who doesn't want to lose one of their top 10%. (Seen it.)

* Ruck march with 35 pound load? Seriously... make it 50 pounds with no consideration for body size or build. Packing lists don't take that into account.

* Oral presentation is a great idea. NCO level candidates should do an extended with brief with a partially hostile audience..... Your normal SF SSG/SFC who is a MI Hater.... An NCO has to be able to defend his analytical position up to and including the point where a Team Dog tells them "This is fucking bullshit" and throws a chair or coffee cup at the briefer. (BTDT - Teams can be pretty rough to handle once they sense blood in the water.)

* They psychological tests concern me. If they pass the tests as normal, they'll be accepted, but won't fit in. The ones that fail would fit in.... but may need daily meds. (You've gone yours again when you wrote this.)
 

Brill

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Who is requiring you to have a 270? The only requirement I know of for a needs-of-the-Army assignment is 180, with 60 points in each event. Are you sure that's not a "goal" vs. a "requirement?"

Isn't 210 the minimum for EIB and to pass the PT test at Ranger School?

Correction: we're required to score min 70% (for my age group that means 10 p/u, 21 s/u, and they let me use a Rascal for the run). A SOT-A with 210 would not last on a team very long.
 

x SF med

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Well... Teufel really is an officer.... he took an NCO's idea and ran with it... the scary thing is, he is of the same ilk as Mara, just a different Service... we have 2 of them... it's a disease that may not be stopped...:ROFLMAO:

(Oh I hope there is not a retrovirus that affects NCO's and makes them think like officers... that would be nasty bad and evil....)
 

Marauder06

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JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, MARY, AND JOESEPH!!!!!!! ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE? You publish that and your career will go so low that you'll be looking up at flogged whale shit son!!!!! Your a officer for Christ's sake; you keep spouting that common sense shit and man you'll be looking for another job.

Nothing this article can do for/to me either way career-wise at this point. Game on! ;)

Intelligence Training Battalion at SWCS? You mean there be one.... like now?
I think it actually activates next month, but yeah, there's one at SWCS. Trains both enablers and 18-series. Pretty good menu of courses. Also, one of the members here tipped me off to a training program for SOTAs that I didn't know about previously (he PM'd me about it so I'm not going to mention his name or put out the details of the program in case he doesn't want it out there).

* The personal essay is a great idea. Unless there is some kind of remedial writing classes being held at unit or USAICS level... a lot of young people will not get by that. The ability to write a grammatically correct sentence is not a wide ranging skill set these days.
Yeah, no kidding right :rolleyes: Kids these days... they need to spend more time in front of an open book instead of in front of the ol' xBox.

*Will MI slots still be open to women?
I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be.

*What if no MI officer in the applicants chain of command will give him a letter of recommendation, through no fault of his own, but because they're stereotypical MI dickhead officer who doesn't want to lose one of their top 10%. (Seen it.)
Good point. Maybe I'll reword it to be a recommendation from "someone in the grade of O5 or above who personally knows the applicant." Any MI officer who can't get an LOR from SOMEONE either 1) sucks, or 2) doesn't know enough people to be a viable applicant.[/quote]

* Ruck march with 35 pound load? Seriously... make it 50 pounds with no consideration for body size or build. Packing lists don't take that into account.
I think 35 pounds is EIB standard, that should be good enough for guys who are going to be footmarching back and forth to a desk in Group.

* Oral presentation is a great idea. NCO level candidates should do an extended with brief with a partially hostile audience..... Your normal SF SSG/SFC who is a MI Hater.... An NCO has to be able to defend his analytical position up to and including the point where a Team Dog tells them "This is fucking bullshit" and throws a chair or coffee cup at the briefer. (DADT - Teams can be pretty rough to handle once they sense blood in the water.)
lol- an assessment for a SOF unit I was a part of was a LOT like that. No throwing things, but let's just say it wasn't friendly. I got the job, but I didn't think I was going to. Especially after they kicked me out of the room to "deliberate" (i.e. "go to lunch") for an hour and a half we me sweating it out in the waiting area. Bastards. ;)

* They psychological tests concern me. If they pass the tests as normal, they'll be accepted, but won't fit in. The ones that fail would fit in.... but may need daily meds. (You've gone yours again when you wrote this.)
You can tweak the tests for "this is the kind of profile we're looking for," and exclude all others. But when you do that, you have to be prepared for the results... ;)
 

Marauder06

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Correction: we're required to score min 70% (for my age group that means 10 p/u, 21 s/u, and they let me use a Rascal for the run). A SOT-A with 210 would not last on a team very long.

Roger. There's no reason why the standard for certain MOSs can't be higher. Or something in the accessions packet, "The minimum standard for successful completion of Phase 1 of EAST is 210 on the APFT. However, EAST candidates who successfully completed the course and moved on to an assignment had the following scores... ."

Well... Teufel really is an officer.... he took an NCO's idea and ran with it... the scary thing is, he is of the same ilk as Mara, just a different Service... we have 2 of them... it's a disease that may not be stopped...:ROFLMAO:

(Oh I hope there is not a retrovirus that affects NCO's and makes them think like officers... that would be nasty bad and evil....)
Comparing me to Teufel? I'm flattered to be included in that kind of company. :cool:

Very insightful Sir. One thing that could stop this awesome idea in its tracts is funding. With all the Defense cuts I can see everyone trying to hang on to every penny even though this program is sorely needed. If this was not the intent of your paper then I am sorry, but I would be curious to hear how you would solve that problem.

Funding is always tough, but at the end of the day, the things that people consider important get funded. If USASFC, USASOC, and/or SOCOM think this idea has value, they'll make something happen. If USASFC is smart about it, they'll tell USASOC, SOCOM, and maybe even JSOC, "yeah we'll do this and we'll train your guys too if you want, but you have to cough up manpower and money. We'll provide the land, the buildings, and the curriculum." Most of the other SOF units have something in place, it will be tougher for USASFC because I think they have the most intel enablers of anyone subordinate to USASOC, but they can put it together if they really want it.

A very insightful read, sir. I don't have any valuable experience in the SOF support world as of yet so unfortunately I cannot provide any recommendations or critique. The EAST program sounds like a very viable option and hopefully it gets a much deserved look from Higher.

Thanks Cochise, maybe you can be one of the first EAST graduates? ;)
 

Brill

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Correct: there is traction for formal & standardized SOT-A training however, it seems like some type of selection process before they arrive to Group would benefit all concerned.
 

TLDR20

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Correct: there is traction for formal & standardized SOT-A training however, it seems like some type of selection process before they arrive to Group would benefit all concerned.
Almost all of the SOT-A folks I have seen have been consummate professionals, and studs. I have been nothing but impressed with those guys.
 

RetPara

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I think 35 pounds is EIB standard, that should be good enough for guys who are going to be footmarching back and forth to a desk in Group.

Actually some of the Analysts, at least at the Battalion level will actually deploy with an ODA. One of the first 5th Grp Teams had a 96B along with them in A'stan. A 96B was killed in a fight in El Sal back in the 80's when the training camp he was in was over-run. Some of the subsequent discussions of the fight indicated that he may of been specifically targeted.

IME 50lb is the LOD for assessing/testing the conditioning of a soldier. The starting point for training is 35lb, not a realistic test or combat weight. The team dogs are going to be carrying loads at the 75lb level and above. The MI weenies have got to carry their own weight and then some.

The five mile/40 minute run may test aerobic conditioning... but unless the test conditions include a full combat kit - uniform, boots, protective vest/helment, & weapon... it doesn't really matter how fast you can run.
 

TLDR20

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Here is a problem I see with this program(you do address it briefly at the bottom of page 4 of your paper). Bare with me now as it may come across as dooshy, elitist, or stupid. Guys in support jobs in group already think they are the coolest thing since sliced bread, they consistently roll around perpetrating the fraud, that they are "in group". Well yes you are but what do you do there? If these guys were given a Selection, they would then be "just as good as team guys". Oh yeah? Cause no your fucking not. Maybe, maybe the more mature ones would get over this, maybe, but the younger ones no doubt would have this attitude. This would eventually cause a whole lotta drama. I have had SOT-A's tell me they are as well trained as an 18E. Oh yeah? You can lead up to a BN of foreign troops into close combat with the enemy? You have been through a SFAUCC, BA, Level 3, and all the other schools that team guys go through? No you haven't, but I am damn sure you are a good SOT-A, and I respect the shit out of those guys, but one or two dudes saying shit like that ruins the reputation of all support guys, period. To the support guys on here, this is not meant at all in any way to degrade or talk down about support guys. However a few bad apples spoil the rest.
 
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