L’VIV, Ukraine (July 31, 2015) — In the sea of a bustling tactical operations center, they are the calm center. Armed with cool concentration, facts from the field, diligence and determination, this team provides a vital asset to more than 1,800 U.S. and coalition armed forces from 18 nations. They are the Multi-National Brigade intelligence cell.
Military officers from the U.S., Poland, Romania and Ukraine make up the 18th Multi-National Brigade’s intelligence cell during the Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 15 multi-national training exercise taking place at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, July 28-31.
The brigade, comprised primarily of U.S. Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 18th Military Police Brigade, has several sections augmented with multi-national partners. The intelligence cell, which has nearly 10 members led by Maj. Travis Block, Polish Army Maj. Wojeiech Jakubczuk, Romanian Maj. Catalin Bretean, and Ukrainian Army Capt. Vadym Bespeka, began their global integration early because of the common doctrine that guides these officers in their work. Bespeka, a tactics department instructor at the Academy of Land Forces in L’viv, Ukraine, was even trained at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the primary home of U.S. Army intelligence training.
“While I was training at Fort Huachuca I gained the experience of the U.S. Army with regards to intelligence operations and their doctrine,” said Bespeka. “I believe that the ability of different NATO nations training with Ukrainian armed forces will give us all a better capability in our current and future partnership.”
Together, the quartet of “intel” professionals spent the early days of training reviewing information for the exercise, ensuring it was ready for delivery. The team also assisted in the construction of the tactical operations center and ensured their computer systems were operational. Finally, they conducted Joint Exercise Management Model, or JEMM, training which allowed the team to see the exercise play out as intended.
“Although the exercise and its scenarios are already in the JEMM system, we had to be able to monitor the information feed as it went down to our battalions,” said Block, the 18th Military Police Brigade intelligence officer and a native of McLaughlin, South Dakota. “This exercise was a great opportunity for us as intelligence officers to come together and share our common experience and learn about the systems we will use in the future.”
As the exercise began, and information was being fed to the brigade’s subordinate battalion, the team recorded feedback from the battalions and documented key pieces of information for future reporting to brigade leaders. If the battalion leaders required additional information, the intelligence cell created products to fill the informational gaps.
“The key items we documented during the exercise are simulated enemy locations, simulated enemies killed in action and the impact our forces had on enemy infrastructure,” said Jakubczuk. “The great thing about the JEMM system is we can see the enemy locations and situations as they are supposed to exist on the battlefield. This made tracking and reporting of this information much easier.”
As the training exercise came to a close, the officers expressed the current and future value of exercises like Saber Guardian.
“This exercise proved that you can take officers and Soldiers from multiple nations, put them together and they will be professional and productive in a very short amount of time,” said Bespeka. “This has been a great team and this is a huge step toward building a ‘Strong Europe.'”