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    Military Intelligence Soldiers Compete at Human Intelligence Bowl

    HUMINT Soldiers conduct debrief

    Photo By Capt. Kara Siepmann | Two human intelligence collection Soldiers with the 223rd Military Intelligence...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Kara Siepmann 

    California National Guard

    CAMP PARKS RESERVE FORCES TRAINING AREA, Calif. – Two military intelligence units under the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion completed in the second annual Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Bowl, an exercise that combined physical activity with human intelligence collection operations, at Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area Saturday, June 23rd.

    “HUMINT collectors gather info by talking to people,” said Staff Sgt. N, who planned the competition for A Company and the Counterintelligence Detachment Soldiers, all dressed in civilian attire instead of military uniforms. “Today we’re testing their ability to perform in a unique way.”

    At the end of the day, only one team will earn bragging rights and the HUMINT Bowl cup, which will remain on display at the unit’s armory in San Rafael.

    “Civilian clothes provide Soldiers a tactical advantage while conducting their missions overseas,” said 1st Lt. W, company commander. “Soldiers would wear the appropriate attire to blend into the unit's area of responsibility and provide the utmost respect to the culture of the host nation ."

    The concerns aren’t unwarranted. The Department of Defense regularly reminds service members that social media is part of the cyber domain and can be used to potentially exploit them by predators and adversaries.
    “People are just more likely to talk to us if we aren’t dressed as Soldiers. Intelligence assets won’t be easily spotted around town giving us information,” said 1st Lt W.

    The military intelligence Soldiers, all part of the 115th Regional Support Group, perform three types of missions: HUMINT collection, interrogations, and operate as counterintelligence agents. But, Staff Sgt. N emphasized, “Everything starts as a HUMINT activity."

    The Army trains HUMINT collectors to screen human intelligence sources and documents, debrief and interrogate human sources, and analyze and prepare intelligence reports.

    “HUMINT usually answers the ‘why’ question of the 5W’s that intelligence information seeks to provide,” said Staff Sgt. N. “We can hear what’s happen on the radio and where and when, for example, but why are people doing a particular activity? Are they being forced or threatened by the enemy? The reason for actions helps paint a more complete picture for commanders.”

    Officers and enlisted alike participated in the training. The executive officer played the part of a POW in one scenario. After completing 10 burpees, a team of Soldiers entered a classroom and began the roleplaying exercise, which consisted of meeting the American Soldier who had been taken as a POW, welcoming him back and conducting a debrief about his experiences.

    “The PT (physical training) is designed to be a distractor,” the executive officer explained. “Weather, difficult people, and physical and emotional demands are all stressors for a HUMINT collector.

    Soldiers were not allowed to use recording devices or take any notes, while a role player engaged in a conversation with them. The Soldiers must extract facts and details from the person they’re interviewing, who often may feel tired, scared or emotionally exhausted themselves.

    In addition to the POW scenario, Soldiers encountered situations like a “walk-in” interview in a café with a local national and his girlfriend claiming to have valuable information about the enemy in the area. They also conducted field interrogations with a detainee and held liaison meetings in a remote area with a key intelligence source that had information about key leadership in adversary forces.

    “I loved the entire day,” said Spc. J, a 21-year-old Spanish-speaking linguist only three months out of initial entry training. “Compared to reading a book on the subject, it’s so much better to sit alongside more experienced senior enlisted Soldiers and watch what they say and do.”

    The specialist nervously kneaded his hands as he explained how his team did well but he made a few mistakes during the day.

    “As I prepared for my engagement I felt very confident,” said Spc. J, “But I fumbled something right off the get-go and it was hard to get back on track.”

    Soldiers are graded on their confidence, ability to establish rapport, ability to extract information from their sources, retain it, and report it back up to higher headquarters. Each piece of information Soldiers remember is worth one point and tallied by an observer at the end of a station.

    “It’s important that the Soldiers be able to identify key information beyond the 5Ws,” the detachment’s NCOIC, a staff sergeant, said. “Our mission is to deconflict HUMINT and other intelligence to drive targeting operations and support counterintelligence operations.

    It’s critical that Soldiers can communicate with people in the areas they operate. There are 11 primary languages spoken by Soldiers of the IC Det, which enable them to conduct operations without the support of a translator.

    Soldiers practice their language skills during drill periods, but this exercise was an opportunity to navigate the nuances of conversation and interrogation.

    “Speaking a language and understanding a culture go hand-in-hand,” said the detachment sergeant. “We need to be able to establish relationships and know how to ask questions and what could possibly offend locals. This training helps.”



    Date Taken: 06.25.2018
    Date Posted: 06.25.2018 19:56
    Story ID: 282235
    Location: CAMP PARKS, CA, US 

    Web Views: 347
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    Military Intelligence Soldiers Compete at Human Intelligence Bowl