Intelligence training gets off to fast start
March 14, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Many military intelligence Soldiers arriving at Camp Bullis, Texas, expecting a few days of classroom review before diving into their training are sorely disappointed. Personnel from the 470th MI Brigade, who run the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) Detention Training Facility (IDTF), immediately "put them to work" in their training scenarios.
"We are using an active training model," said Brian Lloyd, IDTF deputy director. "It's more like on-the-job training -- with the bulk of the training focused on mission execution."
The IDTF allows MI Soldiers to practice their intelligence-gathering skills using a building and equipment much like they would use in support of an overseas mission. Scenarios include trips to mock villages in remote areas of Camp Bullis ("source operations") and continue with trainees questioning "detainees" (played by category II contract linguists in the target language to add realism and provide cultural benefit to the training program), analyzing interviews and other essential elements of the intelligence puzzle.
MI battalions and battlefield surveillance battalions have steadily rotated teams through the IDTF training over the last few years. While the Soldiers receive training on a more individual and departmentalized basis before arriving at Camp Bullis, they are able to put all their training together with the help of the IDTF and its support staff. According to Lloyd the units are encouraged to do more of their training themselves.
"The concept is for the trainees to jump into the simulated environment," Lloyd explained. "They will retain more in learning by doing.
"Then they can pinpoint or tailor which training they need," Lloyd continued. "The unit can look within its own ranks and empower officers and noncommissioned officers to make the training happen in accordance with the unit standards."
The latest unit to utilize the IDTF is the 163rd MI Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas. Over recent weeks the battalion's multi-functional signals intelligence and operations management teams have undergone certification in their respective intelligence training.
"We'll be back in May to certify the entire battalion," said 1st Lt. Erna Jablonski, battalion adjutant. "We'll be one step closer in preparing for overseas deployment."
In addition to the IDTF staff, members of the 470th MI Brigade who actively supported the interrogation and "source operations" training include Soldiers serving as observer-controllers, personnel from the Army Operations Group, National Ground Intelligence Center, 704th MI Brigade and 303rd MI Battalion also supported the training.
"It's all about following Army guidance," Lloyd said. "Army units should take a more active role in training their own formations."