The Bayonet

Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014

MCoE, ICoE connect via instructor exchanges

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Students from the Maneuver Captains Career Course learned intelligence and security operations planning techniques from a Fort Huachuca, Arizona, military intelligence instructor as part of an instructor exchange between the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Intelligence Center of Excellence.

Capt. Charles Van Otten, a military intelligence instructor from 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, provided one-on-one training to MCCC students July 21-25 in McGinnis-Wickam Hall. He said he hopes the initiative will create high-quality learning and collaboration opportunities for students and improve their career development.

"I was honored to be here and talk to students," he said. "It's a great responsibility to show them what right looks like and you have to treat that with a level of respect and discipline. I'm honored to come out here and show my experience with these students."

Maj. James Lawson, senior intelligence trainer for the MCoE Directorate of Training, said the exchange was created to foster centers of excellence collaboration, specifically integration of operations and intelligence, and provide direct mentorship to students during reconnaissance and security operations planning.

"(Van Otten) was hand-picked by leadership and personally recommended to me because he had prior experience with the Maneuver (Center of Excellence) and he is a two-time commander," Lawson said. "I knew he would be a great choice for this exchange and it has proven to be true. His heart and his mindset is what you're looking for a certain officer or Soldier to have when they represent you at another installation."

Lawson traveled to Fort Huachuca in June to develop relationships with Fort Huachuca Commander Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley and Directorate of Training leaders, as well as share trends about where intelligence officers struggle in supporting maneuver commanders. Those challenges include developing U.S. and foreign tactics, using doctrinal concepts and the ability to develop and describe an enemy warpath, he said. Additionally, in contrast to limited lecture-style instruction to large groups of MCCC students, intelligence instructors like Van Otten can provide training individually.

"We're trying to build a bond and develop operations and intelligence integration and how we can improve that in programs in instruction," Lawson said. "We're really looking at the captains career course at both centers of excellence. Right now it's an instructor-to-instructor exchange and eventually we want student-to-student exchanges."

Van said Otten said exchange initiatives would greatly benefit all centers of excellence in efforts to develop effective combined arms training in the future.

"Hopefully we will get to a level where all centers of excellence are working together and operating on a common operation purpose," he said. "Students from the Maneuver Center will get close to the same instruction that we're given at the intel center. Hopefully, captains will leave here to go to their units and will identify the military intelligence officer in their battalion or brigade and know how they operate based on common understanding."

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