By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
April 10, 2007 – The Department of Defense is establishing a home for human intelligence at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples participated in ceremonies opening the new Joint Center of Excellence for Human Intelligence Training today.
The center will answer a need for developing and exploiting intelligence from human sources.
"Human intelligence within the Department of Defense needs a home," said Steve Norton, chief of the Defense Human Intelligence Management Office at DIA.
The home of infantry in DoD is Fort Benning, Ga., he said. "Where's the home for human intelligence? We have a tougher time with that," he said. "I can see this evolve into the home of human intelligence."
Human intelligence is the "coin of the realm" in America's fight against terrorism, Norton said during a recent interview. "Every commission has validated this; commanders in the field tell us it is their priority in the intelligence field."
The U.S. intelligence emphasis has shifted from exploiting nation states to infiltrating terrorist groups. With that change in emphasis the importance of information from human sources has grown, Norton said.
"In the Cold War, we had a defined enemy in a national sense," he said. "You could put your intelligence assets and train them in known areas.
"We went from communism to terrorism, and those that threaten our country, our allies, our people are everywhere in a sense," he said.
Each of the services trains its own intelligence specialists, which is not the most efficient or effective system. "If you had one entity in the department and one school, then there would be one standard," Norton said. "If you have a variety of services, combatant commands or agencies involved in human intelligence, then you have a variety of training systems that you have to look at."
The graduates of the center will be certified and have recognized capabilities, he said. The capabilities and skills that are necessary for human-intelligence collection are the same from one service or agency to the next.
"We need to be interoperable," Norton said. "We have to be able to take people who are graduates of our schools and assign them to joint commands that require their expertise."
DoD has tactical, operational and strategic intelligence collectors. Intelligence specialists are debriefers, interrogators and analysts. "It's a wide range," Norton said. "The center is not just one course, but a series (of courses) that focus on advanced human-intelligence training."
The center's faculty and students will come from all services. It will not be involved in initial training for intelligence specialists, but for mid-level officers and NCOs. One course -- military source operations -- will have roughly 250 students in the first class. Norton said he expects the center to grow as it adds more classes. Training will be hands-on, he said.
"One of the reasons we wanted to go to this joint center concept was the fact that there is limited faculty out there," he said. "In other words, there are only so many human-intelligence specialists that exist in the real world. It is critical that we get those people on the platform to teach the next generation (of human-intelligence specialists).
Article sponsored by Criminal Justice online leadership as well as police and military personnel who have authored books.