HOHENFELS, Germany-- Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, conduct intel operations during exercise Allied Spirit X from March 30 through April 17, 2019 at the Hohenfels Training Area.
"We're making sure the capabilities [of 2-34] are going to be effective and can bring a lot of fight," said Warrant Officer Alan Mendoza, an all source intelligence technician assigned to 2nd Bn, 34th Armored Regt., 1st ABCT, 1st ID. "Part of being in the military intelligence company is that we have different elements in the intel."
The intelligence community is comprised of many different MOSs [military occupational specialties]. Some of the MOSs within the military intelligence company [MICO] are: human intelligence collector (humint), signal intelligence analyst (sigint), shadow tactical unmanned aircraft system operator, all source intelligence analyst, system maintainers and geospatial intelligence imagery analyst.
"As an all source, you fuse all the different intel in sections to combine them into a clear picture of what the operational environment is going to be," said Mendoza.
As a whole, the intelligence field assesses the capabilities of the friendly and enemy forces to define how they can best use the terrain, political, military, environmental and civilian considerations and anything with relevance, to best advise unit leadership.
"It's very complex but once you start combining everything, it comes together like little pieces of pie," adds Mendoza. "There are different things we try to do in a timely manner to ensure good decisions are made to conduct safer operations anywhere we go in the world," said Mendoza.
Throughout the day and night, the intelligence team monitors signals, OSINT [open source intelligence], and reports on the enemy war-fighting functions throughout the area of operations.
"Today we are receiving a lot of IDF [indirect fire]," said Mendoza. "Certain areas that they have identified, they are going to continue to conduct IDF."
These continuous reports are invaluable in aiding the leadership on how to best defend, attack and counterattack the enemy.
"This morning we got two reports of stolen vehicles so our battalion commander wanted us to make fox holes around the perimeter and set up battle positions," said Spc. Noel Walton, an intelligence analyst assigned to 2nd Bn, 34th Armored Regt., 1st ABCT, 1st ID. "We [continually] monitor the RTO [radio transmission operator], the JCR [joint capabilities release], and we're going to start monitoring the OSINT more often."
For this exercise, a network was developed to monitor OSINT through the use of twitter. Open source intelligence is information collected from public sources such as twitter, facebook and instagram, just to name a few.
"We are going to start monitoring OSINT more often because of the reports we've been getting back," said Walton. "The civilians that are in the exercise right now tweet stuff out and help us out with reports that we're not seeing over the radio or JCR."
On the rare occasions that things slow down, the intel team stays busy by practicing their IPB steps (information preparation for the battlefield). Allied Spirit is a premiere scenario for the intelligence team to practice and refine their craft with 24 hour real life situations and scenarios.
"When things are slow, we practice that, but as you can see, things are not slow right now," concludes Walton."
Approximately 5,630 participants from 15 nations will take part in exercise Allied Spirit X. Nearly 1,265 participants will come from the United States and approximately 4,365 participants are scheduled to participate from allied and partner nations of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.