Thinking Red : Improving Intel Suppor to SF Groups

Marauder06

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All-

I'm writing my masters' thesis on "improving intel support to the SF Group," I'll be posting my papers here for your information and comment. Suggestions welcome.
 

Swill

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1) Selection/Assessment: Hire the consistent performers who maintain the Army standard but prefer to exceed it
2) SF Intel Analyst Training Program: Teach what SF values but cannot be hired for in large numbers: cultural understanding, SF Planning, cross training for single sourcers, etc. Start guys out on the right foot. OJT should fill in the gaps, not be the program
3) SF Intel ASI: Indentify those who're fully qualified. Written Personal Qualification Standards for each step of the way (one of the things I miss most about the Navy). Event Tested. Board certified. (cough, Flight Lead Ride, cough)
4) Tenure: Independent career track for career SOF intel

Timely thesis, sir!
From the 2010 QDR:
“the QDR places emphasis on adding more troops and improving the support for [SOF] troops.
That support will include... an additional 2,800 combat and support personnel who would improve intelligence... for the special operations forces in coming years, according to Gates.”
 

moobob

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There should be a selection process for joining an SF Group MID. At the very least, records screening and an interview. There needs to be a more clearly defined role for MI CI/HUMINT personnel. Perhaps there is a pretty clearly defined role per the SF Intel FM, but I haven't met many people that have actually read that FM.

Just as in the Regular Army, HUMINT guys sometimes have to do self-promotion in order to have a job. Some ODAs/Companies are in tune with what capabilities they bring to the table, some aren't. It doesn't help when the senior guy in a HUMINT section reclassed to 35M from being a cook, as an E-7, and goes to Group as a first assignment. That's something I saw in 08.
 

moobob

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The entire situation would be made a bit easier if there was some type of selection process for SF support personnel, especially MI. This shouldn't be another needs of the Army assignment.

160th has Green Platoon. All batt boys go through RIP/ROP or whatever they are calling it these days. Just my opinion, with limited experience in one Group, but there is a pretty big and unnecessary disconnect between SF and their support guys. ODAs are relatively self sufficient, but I can see huge improvements if the hiring of support personnel was more selective...
 

Marauder06

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I've talked with a couple of the senior people at USASFC and SWCS, and have some things lined up with USASOC. There's actually a little more support for some type of screening/assessment process for enablers than I expected. USASOC even has a draft plan.
 

Florida173

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There can be support from the TSOCs. I think most of the SF groups prefer receiving support from their own group without asking for help from USASOC or the TSOCs
 

Brill

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I would agree that SOT-As need some type of Selection & Training course including pre-selection screening (personality traits, language ability, reputation, etc) and some type of gut check. I do wonder why Navy Tactical Cryptologic Support teams and Marine Radio Recon bubbas both have selections and establish training programs but yet we still do not. I don't get why SOT-A training is OJT and varies between the BNs or SFGs. Heck, I would advocate that SOT-As be incorporated into Robin Sage so the new SF guys understand what we can do (kind of). Should we go through SUT and the Echo course?

Do PJs, CCTs, SOWT, and even TAC-Ps need all their advanced training to do their core jobs? One could argue they don't, however they already have some "street cred" from their advanced training which we only get AFTER we're already in the MID (and even then it's dependent on several factors). Other than SOT-As, are there any other Combat Support MOSes that are V coded? (seriously, I am unaware of any but admit my knowledge is limited.)

Do 35Ps assigned to the RSTB attend ROP? What about the Ps trying out for the appropriate SMUs?

So why should we be any different? The entire SOT-A community and guys we support would benefit from a weeding out process: Can I get along with this guy for months on end in close quarters? Is he going to bring his Magic Cards on deployment? Can I trust him to be there when it sucks and I need him?
 

Marauder06

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Heck, I would advocate that SOT-As be incorporated into Robin Sage so the new SF guys understand what we can do (kind of). Should we go through SUT and the Echo course?

That's an excellent point and I actually make that very suggestion in my paper. The earlier you introduce intel enablers to the 18 series guys, the more likely the ops guys are to tap into their enabler support. The flip side to that is that the intel enablers had better be able to consistently meet expectations; too often I felt that the intel side wasn't holding up their (our) end of the bargain.
 

surgicalcric

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lindy said:
Other than SOT-As, are there any other Combat Support MOSes that are V coded?

How many of those "V coded" SOT-A's have been to Ranger School?

I dont believe the answer to SF guys knowing a SOT-A's capabilities is their incorporation into Robin Sage, anymore-so than any other support slice. Robin Sage exists as a culmination exercise for the SFQC whereby students learn how to practice all they have been taught in the previous months and are graded on their performance, not learn to work with guys from MIDET/SIGCEN/SUPCEN... Incorporation exercises should be planned between ODA's and the SOT-As just like we conduct training with others

As for sending them to SUT and the Echo course, neither would make them better at being a SOT-A or the associated tasks expected of them by the mission.

I do agree there should be a selection process for ALL support guys wishing to come over to SF. I like the Green Platoon idea and believe it should focus on a candidate's ability to perform their job (all MOS's) to the proficiency needed by SF, in the conduct of our core mission(s).

Just some observations and opinions based on working with SOT-A's...

Crip
 

Marauder06

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How many of those "V coded" SOT-A's have been to Ranger School?

...

That's a good point. I can tell you how many were Ranger graduates for the time I was in command of the Group MID and the Group Support Company- zero. In fact IIRC there was only one tabbed guy in the whole MID (no it wasn't me).

I'm not sure that having my guys be Ranger qualified would have made them better SOT-As per se, but I think it would have been a credibility boost for them in garrison and during pre-deployment training when they were dealing with the 18-series folks. The tab/no tab issue didn't seem to be an issue at all operationally, because it didn't matter what you wore on your sleeve, you could either give the team what they wanted or you couldn't. Ultimately we stopped wearing patches and tabs forward anyway so it was moot.

Another reason there weren't any Ranger grads was that in some cases the only time those intel types would have gotten a slot is in Group, and for a lot of the older guys, by the time they got there they were either not interested or incapable physically of completing the course. Additionally, IIRC many of them were on 4 to six month port-starboard operational rotations, and didn't want to spend three of the four months they were back home, separated from their families. I thought that was valid. Some guys just didn't want to go, I was OK with that too. For a number of reasons/excuses, I don't remember anyone going the 2+ years I was with that unit.

I disagree about the utility of intel enablers participating in 18-specific training like the 18F course and the Echo course, and especially about participating in Robin Sage. I think it would be enormously useful to expose the 18-series trainees to intel enabler support during the Q-course, and if USASOC and USASFC were willing to expend the resources and establish an enabler assessment, selection, and training pipeline (based loosely on the 160th model), they could tie the training together in the Robin Sage culmination exercise.

Before anyone says that this is too difficult to do or will never happen, take a look at what SWCS and JSOC are doing with the exploitation enabler course out at Range 37. That's a stunning example of both the F3EAD process, and the value of ops/intel fusion.

edited to change "Charlie" to "Echo."
 

surgicalcric

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...I'm not sure that having my guys be Ranger qualified would have made them better SOT-As per se, but I think it would have been a credibility boost for them in garrison and during pre-deployment training...

I disagree about the utility of intel enablers participating in 18-specific training like the 18F course and the Charlie course, and especially about participating in Robin Sage. I think it would be enormously useful to expose the 18-series trainees to intel enabler support during the Q-course, and if USASOC and USASFC were willing to expend the resources and establish an enabler assessment, selection, and training pipeline (based loosely on the 160th model), they could tie the training together in the Robin Sage culmination exercise...

I am not sure Ranger school would help with their job either; they sure do want to take part in other "HSLD" training though (MFF, SFAUC, etc.) I would like to see more of them go to Ranger School though if for nothing more than the reasons you previously listed.

I understand wanting interaction with the teams/intel guys but again the reasons you listed don't justify breaking up the team guys training on UW (RS is the part of the course-the only part-where the focus is totally on it) for integration. I don't disagree that its important but again, the SFQC isnt the place for it nomore-so than interjecting other support guys (CA, PSYOPs, conventional guys, etc) into the course. The integration exercises should be left for team/company/bn training exercises...

That being said, the 18 F course (which isn't an entry level MOS) I understand. The Fox can work closely with other intel guys. Then again I suppose you could stretch it and use the same logic for the integration of the HUMINT/CI guys into the ASOT course (which I would be against as well, mostly due to the compressed course length of our guys.) Again I believe that is best saved for after guys figure out how to conduct UW by themselves.

And while I am on it Sir, why the Charlie course of all things?
 

Brill

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M06,

First, I would like to clarify that, in my opinion, 35P (Cryptologic Comunications Interceptor (Linguist)...just being anal JD!) skills SHOULD be considered different that the necessary tactical & technical skills needed by a SOT-A. I would even go one step further: SOT-As should have their own MOS since our job is unique to the CMF 35 and has completely different requirements. Which other 35Ps are required to be able to infil/exfil with an ODA? Operate independently? If our guidance is to infil with the ODAs, why do we not have MFF or CDQC qual'd guys? Operate independently, to me, means a SOT-A should include a JM, everyone be physically fit, attend SERE, all be EMT qual'd, have a SOTACC, a Pathinder, etc.

How does MI branch KEEP a motivated 35P who can shoot, move, and communicate with the SF guys if he could go to Selection and then the Q? The bonus for a 35P4S (RU) was pretty sweet compared to even a 18E4.

Crip,
The majority of my 35P training has not prepared me to be a SOT-A (admittedly my path to 20th is different than most). The biggest issues that I've noted in my short time as a Support Soldier is getting the right soldier on the Team and integration into the ODAs. How do you take a four guys who you've NEVER worked with, shot with, etc. and leave the wire with them? How can I, as a TL, shorten that time period where your team trusts my guys?

I suggested SUT since, as I understand it, that is the basis for team tactics (followed by Team SOP). I believe that we MUST be as tactically (and medically for that matter) competent as the guys we're traveling with. I suggested the Echo course because we have similar requirements: networking, making commo, and carrying heavy rucks. My thinking behind Ranger school is patrolling, leadership, & the suck fest: if a guy makes it, he has the confidence that he can handle the tough stuff (I myself need to lead from the front) and suffer in silence.

I would agree that Sage is probably not the best place to introduce something new into mix when the teams are focused on UW. I am adamant that we get more time with the line companies but, like everyone in the Guard, how can we use our time wisely once a month: MOS or collective training? I am advocating our MID "devote" one SOT-A to each Company...of course travel is an issue.

I value your experience and your opinion. I'm not advocating SOT-A's change their headgear but rather improve our image (tactical proficiency) and not be considered a liability when the primary plan encounters friction.

"Too light to fight, to heavy to run"
 

Marauder06

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...

And while I am on it Sir, why the Charlie course of all things?

I totally dorked that up- I meant the Echo course. :confused: lol, it would be interesting to send a bunch of cryppies to a combat engineer and construction course, though.
 

surgicalcric

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...I would agree that Sage is probably not the best place to introduce something new into mix when the teams are focused on UW. I am adamant that we get more time with the line companies but, like everyone in the Guard, how can we use our time wisely once a month: MOS or collective training? I am advocating our MID "devote" one SOT-A to each Company...of course travel is an issue.

I value your experience and your opinion. I'm not advocating SOT-A's change their headgear but rather improve our image (tactical proficiency) and not be considered a liability when the primary plan encounters friction.

"Too light to fight, to heavy to run"
he

Well I had a grande reply typed but apparently I took to long in writing it and the system logged me out so I lost it.

In short, if you want to do some training with the ODA guys just call a company SGM and ask about their training schedule (that is after you have the approval of your boss) and inquire about training with his ODA's. He will know what ODAs are doing what and point you in the right direction. Some teams are constantly doing training concepts where they go places to train (Midsouth, Gryphon Group, AM General, go climbing, skiiing, etc...) and if you hit them up at the right time and you can figure out how to justify it you could tag along on their Concept.

Some guys like having support guys around and others just want it to be the ODA guys for the most part. If you want to train with them then you need to be able to sell your guys. We dont expect you to be team guys -or you would be. What we do expect is you to be fit, proficient at your job, willing to learn whatever the ODA wants to teach you, and have a good attitude. Show up with all the previously mentioned and the team guys will help with your shooting, tactics and medicine. That's the way my team functions...

Talk with your boss and find out the availability of funds for training and what kind of stuff the MI DET commander will support you on; do training concepts for any and everything you would like to do as a team then piggy back onto some stuff team guys are doing; talk with the Group AS2 Lt Nelson - I know for a fact he has plenty of stuff to keep your guys busy training with other alphabet soup guys (training is training right...)

FWIW, we recently attended HAVEACE, which was preceded by 10 days of team training on Eglin AFB. We took 8 BN support guys (2 mechanics, 2 CRD guys, a commo guy, an armorer, a JAG paralegal, and an intel analyst) with us - not so they could support us but so they could get some training they otherwise wouldn't get. In addition to the scheduled training at HAVEACE we worked with them on CQM, CQB, crew-served weapons, and TC3 to name a few things.

We take the approach that anytime we are training other guys we are just becoming more proficient at our jobs and at the same time increasing the knowledge of the guys we are training and making them better adaptable, tactically sound soldiers.

Sorry for getting off topic a bit...

Crip
 

AWP

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We take the approach that anytime we are training other guys we are just becoming more proficient at our jobs and at the same time increasing the knowledge of the guys we are training and making them better adaptable, tactically sound soldiers

Where was this mentality 10-15 years ago?

Sigh.

Anyway, something support guys forget is that they are "Support" hence the name of the company they are assigned to. One thing I dearly wish I had done, even if it didn't go anywhere, was ask the line companies "What can we do to help you guys? What can we learn to better support you?" We swallowed our canned COMMEXs and never challenged the status quo, never stepped outside of our comfort zone...even if the ODA's/ B's didn't respond or work with us so we could better support them, we'd have at least made the effort. Looking back, I can see that my old SIGDET had the energy and drive, but we could have channeled that a little better.

Sorry to interject into a fine thread. I do wish all parties the best of luck in finding some common ground.
 

Brill

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What we do expect is you to be fit, proficient at your job, willing to learn whatever the ODA wants to teach you, and have a good attitude.

Crip

Man, I think you're right on with the "improving Intel support to SF Groups" thread. I do appreciate your insight and advice: I admittedly still have much to learn about SF operations.
I wish I was going with you guys (my civilian job got in the way).

Be safe.
 
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