Skip to comments.Tactical team dominates exploitation efforts
Posted on 08/21/2009 4:44:28 PM PDT by SandRat
The DOMEX mission is to exploit captured enemy documents, electronic media and cell phones.DOMEX products contribute to theater and national intelligence efforts. These contributions support targeting and detainee operations, force protection and criminal prosecutions.
On some days, DOMEX teams seek out exploitation opportunities. The teams are also called upon to do forward based exploitation.
"To put it in simple terms, we go where the evidence is," said Capt. Dave Van Pelt, DOMEX liaison officer. "Sometimes this requires us to break into separate teams to support an ongoing operation or to augment a team that has a large amount of evidence to exploit. We have sent several DOMEX teams on FBEs across Iraq. It offers timely information to assist both coalition forces and Iraqi decision makers."
Some evidence can be exploited and reported on in just a couple of hours, while other cases can take weeks.
"As events occur in your brigades' operating area, evidence is brought back to the FOB for exploitation," the Albuquerque, N.M., native added. "This can occur anytime in a 24-hour cycle. You must manage your time wisely."
As the DOMEX officer-in-charge, the captain's responsibilities include making sure his team is well-versed on how to do not just their job, but someone else's job as well. This allows the DOMEX team to be flexible for most contingencies.
"Our entire DOMEX rotation represents a wide variety of intelligence specialties," said the captain, who is deployed from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. "Only a couple of our deployed team members had any type of DOMEX experience prior to this deployment. We are here on a request for forces tasking supporting what will become a formal Army intelligence function by 2011."
Currently, DOMEX is working with Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, Iraqi training and advisory mission, assisting with the development of Iraqi DOMEX training. In the meantime, DOMEX units in Multi-National Division-South have already briefed Iraqis on DOMEX related topics.
"DOMEX Teams from MND-S have leaned forward by mentoring and advising Iraqi units on basic DOMEX collection techniques and procedures," the captain said. "Our Iraqi counterparts have been very receptive to this and continue to ask for DOMEX support and advisement. A DOMEX training course has been developed by MNSTC-I -- with the help of the Air Force TACDOMEX -- and should begin formal instruction in the fall. Ultimately, the Iraqis will have their own indigenous DOMEX capability."
According to Capt. Van Pelt, without a functional DOMEX team, exploitation of the enemy's documents and media would not happen and critical intelligence would be missed. Fellow DOMEX BST member, Staff Sgt. Mike Richter deployed from Ft. Meade, Md., agrees.
"Precision targeting is a cornerstone to the successful and efficient utilization of air power," the Pasadena, Calif., native said. "Our regulations require it, our commanders need it and as intelligence professionals, it is our duty to provide it by any means we have available to us.
"This has been a special experience for our Air Force intelligence community," Sgt. Richter added. "This has allowed us a six-month-long opportunity to work in a joint environment while learning a new and unique set of skills."
Texas City, Texas, native Lt. Col. Mark Schwalm, TACDOMEX director of operations here, says during his team's 200 days in Iraq, they have taken the DOMEX mission from an in-garrison operation to a dynamic, mobile force that can reach out to any place in the country to train our counterparts or help them exploit evidence.
"This revolutionary change to TACDOMEX tactics, techniques and procedures was made possible by the initiative and tenacity of some of the greatest Airmen I've ever had the pleasure of leading," the colonel, who is deployed from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, added.
While the current team's rotation is coming to a close, the next DOMEX team is on the ground and preparing to continue adapting DOMEX to the evolving environment in Iraq.