By Sgt. Jeremy BrattMay 22, 2017
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Whether over a phone or on a screen, technology now allows us the freedom to instantly connect with almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world. An email, a phone call or even a video chat allows Soldiers to share information almost instantly. However, intelligence analysts of the 369th Sustainment Brigade and their counterparts at their higher headquarters, the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater), Operational Command Post have found that it is hard to replace good old fashioned face-to-face communication.
Maj. Lisa Dwyer, Intelligence Officer for the 369th SB, says she believes interacting in person makes Soldiers feel more comfortable sharing different perspectives.
"If you do it over video teleconference or phone, I think it makes people more reluctant to share or more reluctant to have questions," said Dwyer. "For an analyst that focuses on one country to talk directly to another analyst, without us putting a lot of restraints on what they can talk about, leads to a much better information exchange."
To this end, the intelligence analysts of the 39th SB and the 1st TSC/OCP have begun holding informal weekly meetings to gather and share their thoughts outside of the more formal and traditional reporting formats typically seen in the intelligence community.
"What we've established with the 1st TSC is special, in that we are completely synced on who's doing what tasks and what everyone's covering. There's clear and open communication as if we were all in the same unit and in the same section. And that, I think, is unique to our relationship," said Cpl. Kyle Beckley of the 369th SB.
Sustainment brigades and the sustainment commands generally work at two different levels of analysis, according to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Forest, Intelligence Officer for the 1st TSC/OCP. While both units pour over large volumes of reports every day, the command looks at the strategic level implications of the intelligence on relationships and agreements with Coalition partners and others, while the sustainment brigade focus more on how the intelligence affects the tactical level of operations, such as assessing threats to logistics routes and facilities.
"Analysts work hard to understand how the situations at both levels are changing. They read a large volume of reports every day. Then they use their knowledge of developing situations and logistics to predict impacts to sustainment operations. Talking with other Analysts about the situations they see developing in the area of operations is an important source of new insights and ideas. It forces Analysts to defend and reconsider their positions," said Forest.
While shared information and shared understanding at all levels is the goal, it doesn't always work out that way. By sharing information the way that they do, the Soldiers of the 369th SB and 1st TSC/OCP hope to achieve a better understanding of not only what is happening, but what is going to happen in the future. This in turn allows them to offer an analysis that may prevent the loss of logistics assets or, more importantly, the lives of their fellow Soldiers.
"In the real world, everybody tends to be silent. Everyone tends to hold close to the chest, generally, the information that they're responsible for. And that can prevent a lot of good work from taking place," said Beckley. "We are so willing to share that it's gone beyond just sharing information. It's gone to sharing team members, sharing people in theater to accomplish tasks that they're better at doing. So that, hopefully, the outcome is better for all of us."