On Oct. 21, 1976, the provisional 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion began to organize at Fort Hood, Texas. Built from two major building blocks--the 502nd Military Intelligence Company and 373rd Army Security Agency Company--the battalion would spend the next seven months training and testing the combat electronic warfare and intelligence (CEWI) concept as part of the 2nd Armored Division.

The battalion's organization was part of a much broader Army effort to move beyond its decade-long experience in Vietnam. This movement had particular import to Army Intelligence. When the new FM 100-5, Operations introduced the warfighting doctrine called "Active Defense" in the mid-1970s, it anticipated intelligence as one of the main equalizers to offset the expected superiority of enemy forces in a European scenario. At the same time, the Intelligence Organization and Stationing Study (IOSS) of August 1975 prompted a redesign of tactical intelligence when it recommended consolidating intelligence and EW assets and giving their control to the commander who they supported on the battlefield.

In the fall of 1975, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) directed the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School (USAICS) to implement the IOSS recommendations. To complete the task, USAICS formed a working group with representatives from the Army Security Agency, Combined Arms Combat Development Activity, Signal School, and Field Artillery School. The group initially met on Nov. 11 and set about developing a draft operational and organizational (O&O) concept with supporting tables of organization and equipment (TOEs) for new CEWI units at the division and corps level.

The group also included members of the Army's Project Modern Army Selected Systems Test, Evaluation and Review (MASSTER), an operational testing agency that reviewed and evaluated the Army's battlefield intelligence gathering systems. Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, Project MASSTER would lead the actual testing of the new tactical organizations and concepts.

With the "Active Defense" doctrine as the operational blueprint, the working group used the TRADOC's Scenario Oriented Recurring Evaluation System (SCORES) to evaluate the intelligence and EW requirements at the corps and division level. The SCORES methodology provided the group a standardized framework to examine the CEWI concept in the context of force structure on a likely battlefield. With SCORES data, the group deployed a four-division corps on a 1:50,000-scale European situation map. It placed EW and intelligence assets on the map where they could be used most effectively. The group then established necessary links and relationships between the assets. Finally, it considered which tactical echelon these assets were best suited to support. This wargaming drove the development of baseline TOEs and how best to employ the new units.

By December, the working group had developed an initial draft of the O&O concept and a set of 21 basic unit TOEs. USAICS staffed this documentation with the Army's major commands. The group reconvened on Jan. 21, 1976 to consider and incorporate the received comments into its final draft. A week later, the Intelligence Advisory Group gave its approval. Ten days later, on Feb. 6, USAICS published its CEWI O&O concept.

At the division level, the concept called for a CEWI battalion with dedicated and organic EW, SIGINT collection, direction finding, interrogation, ground surveillance, and operational security (OPSEC) assets. In addition to performing collection and EW operations, the battalion consolidated mission management enabling more efficient and effective use of the assets. This management combined with production and dissemination assistance provided essential support to the division G-2. With all EW and intelligence assets under the watchful eyes of a single battalion commander, unit readiness would improve.

The IOSS implementation working group projected that CEWI units would successfully meet the challenges of the modern battlefield for years to come. The designers attempted to make the new units and concepts compatible with emerging doctrine (such as intelligence preparation of the battlefield), new technologies (such as the remotely piloted vehicles), and further automation. As Lt. Col. David G. Wilson of USAICS's Directorate of Combat Developments, noted, "The CEWI units are the genesis of a tactical intelligence system which will meet the needs of the commander."

Two months after its initial formation, the 522nd MI Battalion was officially activated on Dec. 21, 1976. With the onset of 1977, it would begin testing the concepts and organizations that USAICS had developed between November 1975 and February 1976.