“Tempo VS. Speed”Jacob RasbeckINTL442- TacticalIntelligenceProfessor Eloy E. CuevasCompleted 3 December 2017 Tempoand speed are two crucial elements any fighting force must achieve to gaincommand and control over the battlespace and maintain an advantage over theenemy. Speed, as defined in Merriam-Webster, is the swiftness or rate ofperformance or action (Merriam-Webster.com).
Tempo keeps the adversary offbalance, thereby escalating his friction. Speed, leadership, and flexibility provokeand preserve a tempo that the enemy fails to contest (MCWP 2-1, 2003). Thepurpose of this paper is to assess how speed and tempo within tacticalintelligence operations can assist a commander in establishing command andcontrol over a battlespace, as well as assess how speed and tempo at theanalyst level can affect the success of an operation. Accurate and timely intelligence within a battlespace isdemanded from any commander and they will set the standard at which he or shewants their operations performed at. So, how can a commander’s tactics andoperations benefit from the speed and tempo in their intelligence process? Fortactics and operations to have the opportunity to move swiftly and concisely,the intelligence cycle must operate congruently. If this fails to occur, thenit will certainly effect the success of a mission. For example, intelligence actionsprovide a significant chunk of the observation-orientation phases to theObservation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) loop, with the fundamental objectiveof supporting the decision stage (MCDP 2, 1977, 9). The OODA loop is a processthat is useful to a tactician because it allows them to observe theirsurroundings, gain situational awareness, make a rational decision based offtheir current situation, and finally execute their decision.
MCDP 6 Command andControl states, “In any conflict, the antagonist who can persistently and adequatelycycle through the OODA loop faster—who can maintain a higher tempo of actions –reaps an ever-increasing advantage with each cycle” (MCDP 6, 1996, 6).Therefore, the tempo of the intelligence cycle that is disseminatinginformation to the troops on the ground must match the tempo at which thetactical operations are being conducted. Another example is regardingcounterinsurgency operations and how the speed of intelligence collectiondirectly benefits the commander’s needs. For instance, the more rapidlyintelligence personnel establish an understanding of the insurgency, the soonerthey can manage it and the greater the potential for reducing the length andintensity of the conflict (Teamey and Sweet, 2006). Following these twoexamples, it is apparent that speed and tempo in intelligence directly supportthe commander bring about speed and tempo in his or her tactics and operations.
The success of the intelligence supporting any operation isdirectly influenced by the analysis level of expertise. On this subject, doesthe expertise of an analyst effect the speed and tempo of the intelligenceoperations? Although the situation may change, subordinates who undoubtedlyunderstand the principle of a commander’s intentions and act to reach thatpurpose can conform to dynamic circumstances on their own without risking dispersalof effort or reduction of tempo (MCDP 1-3, 1997, 73). When an analyst or intelligenceofficer is a subject matter expert (SME) in his or her specialty, they cananalyze a situation through their own experiences, quickly make a decision thatis best for the situation, and effectively continue the intelligence cycle inaccordance with the commander’s objective tempo and speed. Professionals willbe able to carry on this mission on their own initiative and through lateralcoordination with other subunits, rather than running every resolution throughthe higher commander for a green light (MCDP 1-3, 1997, 74). This is imperativein sustaining the tempo and speed of any intelligence operation because itreduces friction within the intelligence cycle. However, it is also importantthat any SME is well-rounded and understands the needs of tacticians as well.
Howcan an analyst, who is proficient in intelligence operations and analysis proceduresbut a neophyte in tactics, diminish this tempo? Additionally, what challengedoes this present if one wants to be an efficient intelligence technician atthe tactical level? In a military sense, there is more to speed than merely goingfast, and there is a vital contrast between acting expeditiously and actingrecklessly (MCDP 1-3, 1997, 62). When an intelligence operations expert failsto fully understand tactics, it can severely hinder mission success andultimately put the tacticians in dangerous situations. Failing to understandthe needs of a tactician reflects through an analyst’s products which aresupposed to support a commander’s decision making and troops on the ground. Intelligenceseeks to frame as complete a picture of both the opposition and area of operationsas possible made up of an array of factors – the concrete and discernible, theintangible and illusory, the environmental and cultural, the military andpolitical – all of which must be appraised to develop the knowledge needed to bolsterthe commander’s decision-making (MCDP 2, 1977, 70). Not being a well-roundedexpert will introduce friction into the overall objectives, ultimatelyeffecting the speed and tempo required to sustain command and control over theenemy.
If one wants to become a competent intelligence specialist at thetactical level, they must educate themselves on the needs of a tactician. Theyshould become familiar with the OODA loop and include those needs into theirthought process while developing their intelligence products. Another challengethey must overcome is simply assimilating to the tactical mindset. Someanalysts have never supported a mission at the tactical level and areaccustomed to missions at an operational or strategic level. If I were in thisposition, I would find the SME of the current mission and essentially use themas a mentor. Personally, working alongside a veteran analyst is almostcontagious and certainly boosts my confidence and work efficiency.
It would bea challenge to overcome, however, I feel the first step to would be educatingmyself on the OODA loop as well as interacting with tacticians to morethoroughly understand their needs. In conclusion, speed and tempo in tactical intelligenceoperations is an indispensable component to mission success. Achieving commandand control over the battlespace is directly influenced by any commander’sstandard of speed and tempo. General Patton said in 1943, “When the great dayof battle comes remember your training and remember above all else that speedand violence of attack are the sure road to success” (MCDP 1-3, 1997, 61).Complementing speed is tempo.
Tempo is not merely a matter of acting fastest orat the earliest opportunity. It is also a matter of timing—acting at the righttime (MCDP 1-3, 1997, 64). Bibliography Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-3,1997. Tactics.
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