Brains of operation, Marines create intel picture
Lance Cpl. Thomas W. Provost

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa (April 3, 2009) -- The human body is like a team. The eyes, ears, nose and hands all collect and send information to a central location, the brain, where it is analyzed. The brain then decides what the body should do next.

3rd Intelligence Battalion works much the same. Like individual body parts, the many elements of the III Marine Expeditionary Force unit collect information and send it to the brain to be analyzed, processed and sent back out. For 3rd Intelligence Battalion, the All Source Fusion Platoon acts as this brain.

The platoon, part of Production and Analysis Company, prepares timely and accurate intelligence data of the battlespace to support III MEF and all of its subordinate commands.

Imagery, human intelligence, counter-intelligence and geographic intelligence are all pieced together to form one coherent picture of battlefield conditions, said Sgt. Elias D. Martinez, training noncommissioned officer for the All Source Fusion Platoon. The information is then presented to commanders for decision-making.

According to Martinez, no one section can make up the big picture alone. All sections within the battalion are vital in the process.

Using advanced computers and layout systems, the Marines take all of the intelligence received to create a graphical map of the battlefield. The Marines create a picture complete with friendly forces, enemy forces, roads, bridges and buildings. The end product is a solid visual intelligence package.

The products created by the analysts are used to brief commanding officers and commanding generals to aid them in making important tactical decisions.

"We are the guys who actually present this to the commanding general or commander so he can make a decision," Martinez said.

Being a junior Marine briefing a senior officer can be difficult, said Lance Cpl. Jonathon M. Armbruster, an intelligence specialist with the platoon.

"Its kind of intimidating at first," he said. "But the only thing an analyst needs to keep in mind when going to brief the commander, is to deliver the intelligence so the commander can make well informed decisions."