NEWS | Dec. 13, 2011

National Guard, Botswana Defence Force share military intelligence practices

By Maj. Matthew Handley North Carolina National Guard

GABORONE, Botswana - Two U.S. generals led a team of four other seasoned intelligence and operations officers to meet with the top leaders of the Botswana Defence Force during the AFRICOM Sponsored Intelligence Operations Seminar here.

The seminar was highlighted by the presence of Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Lusk, the adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard and former commander of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and Army Maj. Gen. Edward Leacock a Maryland National Guard officer and the former Deputy J2 at AFRICOM now assigned to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.

They were joined by Army Col. Andrew Frank, chief of the Theater Intelligence Group in Molesworth, England; Marine Col. Patrick Looney, the chief of Current Operations in the Logistics Directorate, AFRICOM; Army Lt. Col. Wes Morrison, the executive officer to the adjutant general of the NC NG; and Army Maj. Clay Jackson, former Intelligence officer for the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the NC NG's 2009 deployment to Iraq.

They all shared experiences of how the integration of military intelligence into operations led to successful mission accomplishments and how the U.S. military transitioned a standalone military intelligence apparatus to one that is fully integrated into all operations.

Leacock was working at AFRICOM in 2008 when BDF leadership met to discuss ideas of how they could share experiences. Since then, the BDF has been working diligently with the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation in Gaborone and AFRICOM to train and familiarize soldiers in the basics of intelligence as it relates to military operations.

"It was great for me to be here and see the effort that started several years ago with a vision and today the hard work of the BDF is coming to fruition as they move to improve on their capabil-ities." Leacock said.

He went on to describe how the U.S. military went through a restructuring of their intelligence force structure around thirty years ago and Leacock said he did not think it would take the BDF the same length of time it took U.S. forces to transition to the standards the U.S. has today.

Lusk observed similarities in BDF current operations to his time as the 30th HBCT Commander in Iraq.

"I see a lot of parallels to the types of operations the BDF conducts and our own counter-insurgency operations in Iraq," Lusk said. "I am honored to be able to engage the senior leadership of the BDF on this topic and believe it will only enhance our State Partnership with Botswana."

The seminar discussions evoked questions from the BDF ground forces commander, air commander and others providing insight to their own experiences and wanting to understand how intelligence played a role in U.S. operations.

Wyatt, former Office of Security cooperation chief and now the Southern Africa Branch South -International Military Engagement Division chief at AFRICOM, helped lead the discussion with BDF assistant chief of staff for intelligence, Brig. Gen. Peter Magosi.

"It was professionally rewarding to have an opportunity to share U.S. operational and intelli-gence successes and failures from recent military operations with senior leadership of the U.S. and Botswana Defence Force," Wyatt said. "On a personnel note it was wonderful for me to once again work with the BDF, one the most professional militaries on the continent."

Following the seminar portion of the event, the delegation had the chance to visit the Basic Tactical Intelligence Course, the Peace Support Training Center, conducted a panel discussion with field grade officers students at the Defence Command and Staff College and visit with troops in the field in southeast Botswana.

Their final day was capped off by participating in the graduation of students from BTIC.

The U.S. Office of Security Cooperation and Botswana have a full calendar of over 20 events for the coming year on a range of subjects to include a hosting the Southern Accord 12 Exercise in August.