VICENZA, Italy – The 207th Military Intelligence Brigade (Theater) oversees operations across 56 countries on three continents, while maintaining its headquarters in one of the hardest hit areas of the coronavirus.
Despite direct impacts of responses modifying the normal operating procedures of the unit, leadership came together quickly, without sacrificing intelligence operations or unit readiness.
Intelligence operations, including training and information on the African continent have continued, while implementing strict social distances, reduced travel and increased use of masks and gloves during required closer activities.
“Our mission-focus will never be degraded,” said Chief Warrant Officer Five Curtis Banks, the brigade’s command chief warrant officer. “We continue to thrive in intelligence readiness in our area of operations, while maintaining precautionary measures.”
Due to geographic distance of the unit, virtual means of communication are already a normal practice. As the COVID-19 threat increased, members of the organization were already prepared and able to telework, and communicate through phone and teleconference capabilities.
“As far as work performance is concerned,” continued Banks, “all members of the team are continuing to work, and we’ve been able to improve our work efficiency and capabilities due to our measures, including our teleworking component.”
Training readiness and operational readiness led to some creative ways of maintaining requirements. And, in some cases, led to increases in unit morale.
Promotions, re-enlistments, change of commands and change of responsibility, and award ceremonies led to out-of-the-box thinking that brought the team together.
“These are different times, obstacles facing us,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Gaudette of the 522nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Wiesbaden, Germany who re-enlisted under environmental and social constraints. “It’s great to see we can still come together not only to accomplish the mission, but also to come together as a community and a family.”
Members of the unit are taking the opportunity to enhance career aspects. One example is Staff Sgt. Jonathan Atkins, who increased his portfolio to apply as an Army combat artist for the U.S. Army Center of Military History.
“Staff Sgt. Atkins has been using the downtime of COIVD-19 restrictions to expand his packet and art portfolio,” said Capt. Evan Szablowski, company commander in 307th Military Intelligence Battalion. “He is a true highlight of a soldier taking advantage of downtime in the barracks to pursue positive outlets that benefit both the individual and Army.”
The 337th Military Intelligence Battalion is a U.S. Army Reserve asset that operates under 207th MIB-T. Members of the unit recently became more involved in volunteer work, especially helping out fellow Soldiers.
“We have an elementary school teacher in Wisconsin, who has been sharing at home course work for elementary and middle school kids,” said Maj. Regina Moore, executive officer of the 337th MI Battalion. “This has been great, since we have families spread out across the country.”
The 207th MIB-T is the newest brigade in INSCOM, activating on March 16, 2016 to counter security threats focused in the continent of Africa. The brigade includes the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, and the 307th MI Battalion, both in Vicenza, Italy, the 522nd MI Battalion in Wiesbaden, Germany, and operational control of 337th MI Battalion in Fort Sheridan, Illinois.