Intelligence: Up Close And Personal Intel


April 13, 2010: Israel is seeking to increase the amount of battlefield intelligence, and speed with which it is acquired, by training all infantry troops to conduct battlefield interrogations in Arabic. While this sounds wildly ambitious, it isn't. About ten percent of Israeli Jews speak Arabic, and all Jewish students take three years of Arab language in school. How much they remember depends on where they live and how many Arabs they run into (a fifth of Israelis are Arab Moslems).

The new combat intelligence course provides a short list of phrases (and expected answers) that are considered most useful in gathering battlefield intel ("Are there any gunmen around here?" "Is anyone injured?" "Are there any mines or booby traps?" And so on.) The Israeli troops often get good intel from Arab civilians on the battlefield. The most likely foes, Hamas and Hezbollah, openly encourage the use of human shields, which makes a lot of civilians decidedly hostile to Hamas and Hezbollah. Along come some Israeli soldiers, offering some protection and first aid, so, hey, why not give the soldiers some information.

Currently, the infantry have to call in intelligence branch interrogators to deal with civilians. But it's been noted that some company commanders or platoon leaders have organized their own battlefield interrogation teams by identifying Arab speakers and informally preparing them to do battlefield interrogations. All this bubbled up the chain of command, until someone at the top agreed that it would be a good idea to institutionalize the practice. This includes teaching the troops what kind of information is essential to pass on up the line right away, and which they can just act on locally. The new training program is meant to both prepare all infantry to gather more useful intel while in combat, and to make the troops aware of what info must be sent to the intel units as soon as possible.



Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close