VANTAGE POINT

by Brigadier General Wayne M. Hall

For the past six months, I have had the honor of leading the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence’s (DCSINT) effort to redefine Army intelligence for the 21st century. The Intel XXI Study is nearing the end, and we expect completion of the formal part of the study by the end of March. I want to share some of my thoughts and reflections on what we have done with the study.

Our first undertaking was to determine our future environment, one that is changing rapidly and, with the continuing information revolution, an environment that will continue to change at a more rapid pace. This future environment will bring—with a variety of traditional, conventional, and industrial age threats—a variety of new threats; our soldiers will face asymmetrical and asynchronous threats. In its simplest state, asymmetrical warfare is a weak opponent seeking offsets against a stronger foe. Such activity is nothing new—weaker competitors always have sought an advantage against a bigger, stronger foe. What is new, however, involves our dependency on technology (our new strengths bring new vulnerabilities). Asymmetric threats will often exhibit a flagrant disregard for fighting in ways we consider either “traditional” or “fair” (everyone and everything is a target, no sanctuaries). Finally, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will continue. Asynchronous warfare, in a broad context, seeks to attain advantage through timing and synchronization. Those who pursue inroads to power by leveraging asynchronous operations work to deny a similar advantage to opponents.

As another major influence on the environments in which we will operate, the advent of Iridium and Teledesic (high-speed global information access systems) will enable people of all walks of life to access information through the Internet regardless of either time or location constraints. Through this access, our opponents will be able to coordinate activities across time and space. Moreover, they will be able to learn and adapt very quickly. Information access will indeed remove barriers for our opponents to become learning and adapting organisms.

Inherent in this changing environment, we will experience a change in how we perform our jobs and will experience a change in the products we need to support our customers (combat commanders and decision-makers). Intelligence support will not rely on commanders’ organic assets. Quite simply, the world is too complex and environments shift too quickly and dramatically to allow inflexible organizations, equipment, or minds. The threats we face in the future will be too smart and adaptive for any commander to gain the necessary information on their own. With that said, commanders will receive their information and intelligence support from a re-looked, redesigned, and retooled “system of systems” whereby we will satisfy commander’s information needs with an integrated system of people, collectors, automation, and communications reaching to the national level. Lines differentiating levels of war, and echelons above corps (EAC) from echelons corps and below (ECB), will blur and become less easily defined.

I have traveled throughout the country talking with senior leaders about current perceptions of the military intelligence force, and the products and support we provide. Without equivocation, those senior commanders have praised and applauded the performance of the MI personnel who support them. I have concluded that we have terrific soldiers and all we need is to posture ourselves for the 21st century by tweaking our doctrine, training and education, leadership, organizations, materiel, and soldier systems. We must change these areas to have the potential to provide the best intelligence support to the combat forces regardless of environmental fluctuation.

Our vector for the future revolves around six things. First, we have must rework our doctrine to capture the environmental impacts on our future missions. We must start with doctrine, as it drives training and education, materiel development, and so forth. Second, we have to develop intellects sufficient to synthesize vast amounts of information so we can know what the information means and perform complex mental tasks inherent to operations such as information operations (IO). In line with training and education, we have to enable people to state their information requirements adequately (specificity, timeliness, accuracy, relevancy) and discipline our thinking so we can answer questions our leaders ask. Third, we have to “tweak” our leadership to prepare it for operating more effectively in the next century. As such, our leaders will develop and impart vision, mentor their subordinates, and develop organizational environments conducive to discovery learning. Fourth, we have to create organizations flexible enough to endure rapid change from dramatic alterations in mission environments. These organizations will consist of teams of experts who will gather to solve issues and problems and disband upon completion. Fifth, we must develop materiel flexible and adaptable to new environments. This materiel will have to contribute to IO, visualization, processing, thinking, and collection—or it will quickly become extinct. Sixth, we have to attract, retain, and develop people for accomplishing the increasingly complex tasks the MI Corps faces in the 21st century.

To accomplish these tasks, our most important challenge is to lead more effectively. For the most part, our leadership in the past has been up to the challenges of the times. Our leadership must undergo a few changes to prepare for the new century. How do we do this?

First, our senior leadership needs to help our people move into the future by developing a clear vision, focusing on a changing vector, and identifying steps to take along the paths leading into the future, while encouraging their subordinates to shape the future. Next, it is abundantly clear that our people want to stay abreast of the future and to participate in shaping it. Leaders need to enable this desire. As senior leaders, we need to do more to keep those who comprise the MI Corps (military and civilian) informed and involved in the process. As an example, officer professional development (OPD) classes and noncommissioned officers professional development (NCOPD) sessions provide useful mechanisms for senior leaders to remain cognizant of what their subordinates are experiencing and thinking and to help these subordinates learn. Additionally, we need to create methods to keep those in the field and other intelligence organizations apprised of developments in the evolution of Intelligence XXI and other futuristic endeavors affecting them. We need to seek out and use everyone’s ideas more aggressively than before. One method we have developed during the Task Force is the Creative Idea Net (www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/creative_ideas/main.html) under the DCSINT home page. This is a forum where we can post ideas and think-pieces, debate their worth, and improve our knowledge and understanding, thus improving our contributions to the Army. This web page is working now; we want your thoughts regardless of your rank.

The challenges ahead of us are tremendous, but they will be fun. You are in the Army at the right time, you are in the right branch, and you have a great future unfolding before your eyes. The swirling change of the information revolution is causing what you do every day to be more important and more recognizable by your senior leaders. With good vision, creative thinking, mastery of fundamentals, improved leadership, and continued dedication to excellence, our branch can make the changes it needs to make, and meet any challenges that come our way. I am exceptionally proud of all of you, and proud to be able to serve our great Army and our country as an MI professional.

ALWAYS OUT FRONT!