Lessons From Operation
by Captain Michael W. Schellhammer, USAR
In the past several years, the Army intelligence
community has grappled with how to define the parameters of
Stability and Support Operations(formerly known as OOTW) and how intelligence should
support them. Threat trends of the last decade indicate that Stability and Support Operations will
become more frequent in the near future. Peacetime contingency operations in Grenada, Panama,
and Somalia were milestones in the development of effective intelligence support. Recent
operations in Haiti also provide valuable lessons on how to manage intelligence in the Stability
and Support Operations environment. This article offers some ideas from the bottom-up on
managing tactical intelligence during an unconventional conflict.
I participated in Operation RESTORE DEMOCRACY as the S2 for the
450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne), U.S. Army Reserve (USAR),
from September to December 1994. Before activation of the
battalion, the S2 personnel built a database containing
civil-military information on Haiti. After activation, we used the
database information to prepare our initial area assessment and
preliminary intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB)
products. As the 82d Airborne Division's Capstone program civil
affairs battalion, we conducted all predeployment planning with the
division and launched with it on the aborted airborne assault of 17
September. The 450th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to Task
Force (TF) Mountain under Joint Task Force (JTF)-180, later
deployed to Haiti on 20 September.
IPB Focus and Products
The IPB and analysis techniques taught at the U.S. Army
Intelligence Center work use them. An exhaustive IPB is an
absolutely essential foundation for effective intelligence support.
TF Mountain's area of operations focused on the capital,
Port-au-Prince. The TF had a 360-degree focus, with no traditional
battlefield geometry. Although we conducted preliminary IPB before
deployment, the city was still unfamiliar. In addition, roughly one
million civilians and three potentially hostile political groups
occupied the city. Detailed IPB was the key to understanding this
confusing battlefield. We used IPB products defined in FM 34-3,
Intelligence Analysis, and civil affairs intelligence products from
FM 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations(see Figure 1). When combined,
they provided a solid picture of the key terrain and possible
targets in the TF area.
The TF Mountain G2 provided sufficient information on the Haitian
Army, the Forces Armee d'Haiti, (FAdH). We looked to outside
agencies for detailed civil-military information. The U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID) had information on the
Haitian government, economics, hydrology, and population
statistics. The Defense Attache Office (DAO) in the U.S. Embassy
provided population and threat information for the Port-au-Prince
The large number of civilians in the area, combined with the
volatile political situation, made civil disturbance a primary
concern. Large demonstrations not only posed a threat to U.S.
soldiers and local stability, but also presented large targets for
attack by opposition parties. Protecting the friendly population
was part of our mission, and we included the civilians as an
element of thinking green during IPB.
The likelihood of civil disturbance was one of our priority
intelligence requirements. Civilian crowds could gather and
disperse quickly with little warning. The crowds were difficult to
predict, therefore named areas of interest (NAIs) focused on known
population-gathering areas and march routes. Common NAIs were
churches, key road intersections, and government buildings where
demonstrations were likely. Looting became more frequent as the
operation evolved, so we later added NAIs at food storage
facilities and in the business district.
When preparing IPB overlays, remember that Stability and Support Operations require a
level of incident-tracking detail than conventional operations.
Several incidents, including violence, enemy human intelligence
(HUMINT) collection, population intimidation, and criminal activity
occurred within a two-block radius of Port-au-Prince within a few
weeks. Low-level collection on individual murders, beatings, and
looting is the core of the incident overlay, so the S2s must be
ready to manage hundreds of individual incident reports.
Military operations in urban terrain also require a more detailed
focus than conventional operations. Key terrain ranged from single
buildings or city street intersections to areas of several square
kilometers. We used 1:12,500 maps and map enlargements to analyze
key terrain. The 1:50,000 scale maps were almost useless in the
city; they were useful in the division area of interest
outside Port-au-Prince. Friendly strike operations often
targeted small buildings or city blocks. Terrain focus rapidly
shifted between individual buildings and the entire city. Even with
1:12,500 maps, analysis of such small areas was difficult. We
needed a tool to rapidly zoom in on specific areas, and zoom out
Size, activity, location, unit, time, and enemy (SALUTE) reports
from U.S. patrols were invaluable. Full SALUTE reports are critical
to the success of tactical collection. In Stability and Support Operations, every soldier is a
collector. Soldiers from the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion
conducted daily patrols through Port-au-Prince and reported a
wealth of information in SALUTE reports. On average patrols,
Haitian citizens reported items such as enemy weapons caches,
headquarters locations, or intimidation activity. One civil affairs
team found hundreds of Haitian government election and military
documents at Baby Doc Duvalier's palace in Petionville. Early in
the deployment, soldiers often reported information in free-text
spot reports that did not fully explain the activity or incident.
The SALUTE format focused the soldiers' reporting to accurately
reflect almost any type of observed activity. Once soldiers began
using the correct format, we received complete reports of important
enemy activities that received attention throughout the division.
Stability and Support Operations requires all-source intelligence. Each intelligence
discipline has valuable contributions to make to the overall picture. In Haiti, HUMINT
dominated the collection. HUMINT consistently provided reliable information on enemy and
and intentions. Counterintelligence (CI) teams targeted the
opposition parties and subversive FAdH members. In addition to
force protection, CI teams also conducted positive collection
missions. Maneuver brigade commanders used their direct support CI
teams in a wide variety of missions. CI teams investigated routine
criminal activity and performed low-level psychological operations
and civil affairs liaison missions.
Targetable imagery intelligence was in high demand down to the
company level. Oblique photos of suspected threat locations or
targets were invaluable to planning patrols or strike operations.
The TF Mountain G2 had a large library containing hardcopy
imagery of key facilities and terrain in Port-au-Prince; we
distributed them on request. For other targets not located near key
areas, the G2 requested specific imagery collection missions from
theater assets. Remote sensor imagery was very useful for updating
No intelligence discipline was completely reliable on its own.
Correlated information from all sources provided an accurate
battlefield picture. For example, HUMINT sources often indicated
enemy weapons caches at various residences throughout the city.
Since opposition groups often communicated over nonsecure systems,
signals intelligence was also a valuable collection tool. However,
only consistent all-source collection at the possible threat
location could positively confirm or deny enemy activity.
Throughout the operation, threat analysis was a difficult process.
The armed opposition parties presented our greatest threat. At
least three well-armed political factions opposed President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the U.S. intervention. Despite their
expressed overt cooperation, they covertly planned attacks on
U.S. forces and pro-Aristide civilians. Although many of their
leaders were FAdH members, these hostile groups essentially had no
doctrine or established patterns to integrate into analysis. We had
no historical example for developing a threat model. All of the
threat's previous activity involved intimidation against the
unarmed populace of Port-au-Prince.
Threat group operations were exceptionally decentralized. The
activities or plans of one cell in one area of Port-au-Prince
usually had no relation to the activities of any other cell. Cells
may have followed their recognized national leadership, some did
not. The absence of threat tactics, doctrine, and training made
predictive analysis extremely difficult. Several planned attacks on
U.S. forces never took place for unknown reasons. Their
unpredictability and decentralization contributed to
difficult threat integration. Over time, limited trends became
apparent. For example, their decentralization allowed us to place
less value on threat leaders' covert plans for attack. When an
information source reported a planned attack, we realized that the
probability of local cells carrying out the attack was low.
Friendly demonstrations also developed trends. Friendly political
leaders were sometimes as unsuccessful as the opposition with
controlling their followers. Over time, we were mindful that
spontaneous gatherings or planned peaceful demonstrations had the
potential to turn violent with no warning.
Achieving and maintaining common IPB or threat situation
products was also difficult. Below the TF Mountain G2 level, no
common picture of the battlefield or the threat existed. I compared
IPB and threat information with several S2s in the JTF-180, and
each of our battlefield pictures varied greatly. There appeared to
be a gap between information available at the joint level and that
at the battalion level. At the battalion level, we received the
bottom-up feed from patrols, and pulled information from the JTF.
We acquired most of our tactical threat information from
civil-affairs team patrol reports, the TF Mountain G2, and the
519th Military Intelligence Battalion (CI). We received little
tactical information from the JTF. An information push from the
JTF could have ensured that all staffs had the same picture of key
terrain, possible targets, and threat activities.
Combat information and intelligence must move faster than the
threat. The threat in Port-au-Prince was more familiar with the
terrain than were friendly forces. There was also an active threat
HUMINT collection net throughout the city. To overcome such
obstacles in the future, friendly forces must have the capability
to rapidly report, analyze, and disseminate intelligence before the
threat can move. Hand-carrying hardcopy reports or imagery through
multiple staff levels is too slow for Stability and Support Operations. We need local area
network dissemination and reporting capability. Analysis and
dissemination must take minutes, not days.
There is no great mystery or secret code to intelligence in Stability and Support Operations, but
there is a different focus than in conventional operations. The S2 should selectively apply
standard intelligence tools and skills to read the battlefield. Follow the guidance in FM
34-3 and FM 34-7, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Support to
Low-Intensity Conflict Operations. Other lessons learned
The U.S. intervention in Haiti achieved rapid success
through maneuver combined with effective intelligence support. By
employing these lessons learned, we can win again and save lives.
- You must tailor IPB products to your particular area of
operations and mission.
- You should seek information creatively. Other agencies,
such as the DAO and USAID, can provide host nation information
not available from standard channels.
- You must have correlated all-source information for an
accurate threat picture.
- HUMINT, including combat information from soldiers,
dominates the Stability and Support Operations battlefield, but do not discount the value of
other intelligence disciplines.
- The demand for imagery increases in Stability and Support Operations, and will
increase in future operations. You should prepare to disseminate
imagery to the company level.
- Correct SALUTE reporting is essential train on it.
- You should prepare to manage nontraditional information,
such as criminal activity and civil disturbances, to develop
accurate incident overlays.
- A push-down system of intelligence reporting is
essential to ensure a common battlefield picture.
- We must employ automated systems to rapidly collect
information, assist with analysis, and report horizontally and
vertically. Automation will enable us to move information faster
than the threat can move his forces.
Captain Schellhammer is currently the S2, 450th Civil
Affairs Battalion (Airborne), USAR, in Riverdale, Maryland. He was
an Active Component officer for eight years in infantry and
intelligence. As a civilian intelligence research analyst, he is
supporting the Army's Project Management Office, Intelligence
Fusion, in McLean, Virginia. Readers can reach him at (703)
893-9095, through the PM Intelligence Fusion at DSN 235-8140, or
the author's E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.