201st MI Battalion on track in self-eval
May 11, 2012
The 201st Military Intelligence Battalion attained another milestone in preparation for eventual deployment with a battalion-wide field training exercise on Camp Bullis May 6-11.
Fifth in a planned series of seven exercises, this was the last exercise in which the battalion would evaluate itself. The exercise focused on the interrogation and analysis operations of the battalion's A and B companies, which will comprise a day shift and a night shift for a theater-level joint interrogation debriefing center when deployed.
"This is one part of a year-long training plan," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Lux, battalion S3 (operations and training) intelligence concept extraction (ICE) chief. "We have experienced distinct successes because of the deliberate planning of every exercise.… They are all tied together and run as one continuous event."
In this exercise, in addition to the approximately 130 Soldiers in the battalion, almost 60 linguists played roles as detainees, interpreters and translators.
"Repetition builds confidence, and confidence builds muscle-memory," said Lt. Col. Joe Barber, battalion commander. "And all that has to be done real world, in language."
The training took place at the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) Detention Training Facility (IDTF) operated by its parent unit, the 470th MI Brigade, on Camp Bullis.
"The IDTF staff has been remarkably flexible," said Lux. "When we have moved ahead of the curve, they have helped us to ratchet up the training, tailoring it to benefit us."
An estimated 30 percent of the Soldiers have previously deployed as part of intelligence battalions. The battalion commander ran a theater-level joint interrogation and debriefing center during an earlier deployment to Iraq. However, Lux said all the experience and training have been coming together and that the exercises have been running so well that the Soldiers have pushed into learning more advanced levels of human intelligence gathering.
Lux noted that training began with developing basic skills at the individual Soldier level and building up to battalion-level operations.
"'Crawl, walk, run' works!" said Lux.