Marine Program Is Pushing Brainpower

March 3rd, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Marine Program Is Pushing Brainpower

Houston Chronicle
March 3, 2008 Behavioral focus to help troops tell friend from foe
By Chelsea J. Carter, Associated Press
CAMP PENDLETON, CALIF. Marine Capt. Brian Iglesias saw a man go from store to store, talking with shopkeepers in Ramadi, Iraq. Outwardly, there was nothing unusual about the man. He looked like everybody else.
Later, as Iglesias and his unit rolled through town, they saw shopkeepers board up their stores. And then it happened. The Marines were shot at caught in a rolling street fight that saw one of their own killed. The man, Iglesias learned, had been warning shopkeepers of the pending ambush.
"We walked into a trap," he says.
Today, Iglesias shares the story from 2004 as a cautionary tale of urban warfare in Iraq where the enemy hides in plain sight.
It is this problem of telling friend from foe that the Marine Corps is trying to confront head on with a new training program that pushes brainpower over firepower.
Unveiled to reporters this week, the program, "Combat Hunter," teaches human behavioral analysis, law-enforcement profiling techniques and big-game hunting and tracking practices. The program puts Marines through the paces of identifying and tracking an enemy without firing a shot.
"This is really about investing in the minds of Marines," said Col. Fred Padilla of the Corps' School of Infantry West, which oversees the training.
Padilla said today's Marines have grown up inside their homes, playing on computers and with video games. They adapt to the use of new technology and equipment more quickly than earlier generations.
But it also is problematic, he says. "They didn't grow up outside," learning how to analyze their surroundings or learning about the outdoors, he said. Earlier Marines had skills like hunting and tracking under their belts.
The two-week course, which the Marines began testing in April 2007, includes classroom training and practicing scenarios in a fake Iraqi village at Camp Pendleton that has been used for various training exercises since the war began in 2003.
Padilla said the program's success can be seen in the increase of the discovery of weapons caches and improvised explosive devices and more captured insurgents in Iraq.

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