News: US and Moroccan intel analysts exchange ideas during African Lion 12
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Nichole Bonham
AGADIR, Morocco – U.S. and Moroccan military officers came together this week in Agadir for an Intelligence Capacity Building Workshop. The workshop helped prepare senior staff officers from both countries who will participate in the Command Post Exercise portion of African Lion 2012. African Lion, an annual training mission promoting interoperability between U.S. and Moroccan forces, is the largest exercise of it’s kind on the African continent. The U.S. African Command sponsored-, Marine Forces Africa led exercise allows the two countries to share best practices and different tactics, techniques, and procedures for missions as diverse as humanitarian civil assistance, peace support operations, aviation training, and field training exercises.
The CPX will be notional training focused on fictional countries in the region of Morocco. Brigade and Battalion level staff officers from both U.S. and Morocco will respond to civil unrest scenarios designed to enhance the understanding of each country’s communication and interoperability strategies. The ICBW was a four-day workshop that gave the participants the opportunity to familiarize each other with their different intelligence gathering and analysis techniques. It also provided an overview of the background for the training scenario the staff members will work with during the CPX.
“It was interesting to collaborate with other professionals who work with similar ideas in a different language and culture,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Baker, an intelligence officer from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune, N.C. “It was a very seasoned group of officers with a lot of operational experience. We were able to share and exchange ideas about different ways of doing similar missions.”
One difference between the countries is the level at which intel analysis begins. The U.S. military trains entry level enlisted in the gathering and analysis of intelligence. They process all the data and pass on the refined intelligence to staff officers. Staff Sgt. Andrew Cayce, an Intel Chief from the 24th MEU, explained this allows the officers to focus on staff planning.
The Moroccan military does not train in the analysis of intelligence until the brigade officer level. Lower level commands have officers trained in other specialties with the additional duty of passing gathered intelligence to their higher command. This guarantees intelligence officers with a broad and varied range of experience in operational affairs.
Both systems work very well, they are just different solutions to the same strategic needs.
The ICBW workshop included a discussion on intelligence preparation of the environment, a systematic approach of looking at terrain, weather and cultural factors of an area to determine areas or factors of strategic importance. Other topics included in the workshop involved military symbology and terminology used during intel briefs, military grid reference system, and review of the maps created for use during the CPX.