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    USAICS begins 97B10 Counterintelligence Assistant Course

    USAICS begins 97B10 Counterintelligence Assistant Course

    Courtesy Photo | Students in training at USAICS in the 1980s (courtesy photo).... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence

    by Lori S. Stewart, USAICoE Command Historian

    On January 6, 1981, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School (USAICS) began the Counterintelligence Assistant (97B10) course. Prior to development of the course, new recruits to the CI field attended the 20-level course. The new 10-level course was meant to address some of the challenges meeting recruitment numbers for junior 97B personnel.

    Throughout much of the 1970s, the Army experienced a dire shortage of experienced senior CI agents (in the 20, 30, and 40 levels). The military occupational specialty (MOS) grade structure required large numbers of senior noncommissioned officers (NCOs) but relatively few junior enlisted personnel. Personnel recruited into the 97B MOS, then, had to have at least two years of active service before they transferred into CI at the grades of E5, E6, and E7. This resulted in a CI field heavy in rank but not experience.

    To begin to address these problems, Army intelligence recognized that 97B needed to be an entry-level MOS. Consequently, in October 1979, USAICS accepted its first four “off-the-street” recruits into the 97B20 course, and a limited number of slots in subsequent 97B20 classes were set aside for soldiers fresh out of basic training. Meanwhile, USAICS began development of the program of instruction for a 97B10 CI Assistant entry-level course. Once approved by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the first ten-week, three-day course began on 6 January 1981.

    The new 97B10 course for new privates was more oriented to tactical CI in operations security (OPSEC) rather than the “traditional” investigative role of CI agents in peacetime. Graduates of the 10-level course were not issued badges or credentials but were sent to units to support experienced CI agents (graduates of the 20-level or higher courses). Ideally, these CI assistants would serve a one-year internship in a tactical OPSEC/CI assignment, learning the duties from a more experienced CI agent. Then, once they reached the age of twenty-one, their commander could recommend they return to Fort Huachuca to complete the 97B20 course to become CI agents.

    Unfortunately, the program was plagued with problems from the start. Recruiters provided interested civilians with misinformation about what they would be doing in the CI field. When the recruits arrived at the 97B10 course, they learned they primarily would be typing and filing reports; they would not immediately be allowed to wear civilian clothes and carry badges and credentials while conducting investigations. Many either renegotiated their contracts or terminated them based on erroneous information. The recruits who did complete the course, on the other hand, found units had no authorizations for them, and they were assigned against senior CI agent slots. Not only were the new assistants not trained or qualified for the positions they filled, but units had no slots left for the experienced CI agents they required.

    Eight months after the 97B10 program began, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command suspended it until the problems could be addressed. USAICS continued to train those already recruited as 97B10s, turning out more than 400 CI assistants by December 1982. Beginning in July 1982, the schoolhouse also allowed the 97B10 personnel to return to Fort Huachuca for an eight-week 97B10/20 transition course.

    Meanwhile, USAICS staff returned to the drawing board to fix the 97B10 program. By May 1985, the 97B10 CI Assistant course was reinstituted. Instead of just typing and filing, students learned subjects such as AirLand Battle, battlefield surveillance systems, signals intelligence, CI support to deception, CI support to the rear battle, and intelligence preparation of the battlefield. Graduates were then assigned to all echelons at a ratio of one 97B10 to three or more senior 97B agents. Of the 225 positions identified for 97B10s, 140 were at echelons above corps and the remaining 85 at echelons corps and below.



    Date Taken: 01.03.2023
    Date Posted: 01.03.2023 10:44
    Story ID: 436207
    Location: FORT HUACHUCA, AZ, US 

    Web Views: 115
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