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The purpose of this article is to offer Special Forces (SF) battalion S2s some tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) for Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and National Training Center (NTC) rotations. After analyzing the after-action reviews (AARs) that the Special Operations Training Detachment (SOTD) S2 observer/controllers (O/Cs) have conducted during the past two years at JRTC and NTC, I have determined there are seven areas that challenge SF battalion S2s. Throughout this article, I use the term 'S2 section" to refer to the actual S2 staff section and military intelligence detachment (MID) in the SF battalion.
After the receipt of the mission tasking order (MTO) at the forward operating base, the unit begins its cycle of preparing, executing, and recovering from a mission. The Joint Special Operations Task Force begins with the isolation period, followed by infiltration, mission accomplishment, exfiltration, recovery; and debrief of Special Forces Operational Detachments-Alpha (SFOD-A) and Support Operations Teams-Alpha (SOT-A) (1). The seven critical areas are:
* MTO and target intelligence package (TIP).
* Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) support to the military decision-making process (MDMP).
* Message flow and tracking.
* Collection management.
* Request for information (RFI) tracking.
* Analysis and dissemination.
MTO and TIP
The S2 section cannot afford to waste any time in dissecting the MTO and TIP and must get right to work on the IPB products. The MTO will usually have an accompanying TIP for each mission. Everyone in the S2 section needs to know how to read United States Message Text Format (USMTF) messages and understand the header and body information. Julian dates, date-time groups (DTGs) in Zulu time (Greenwich Mean Time), plain-language addresses, message identification abbreviations, references, amplifications, and message precedence are just a few of the parts in a properly formatted message. If you do not know how to read USMTF messages, I recommend referring to FM 101-5-2, U.S. Army Report and Message Formats. Do your homework and identify the message formats that are particular to the S2 section. Practice formatting these messages in Microsoft (R) Word and educate the entire section on this procedure. Once you know how to read the MTO and other …