By Lori S. Stewart, USAICoE Command Historian
On March 16, 2005, Maj. Gen. Barbara G. Fast became the first female commander of the United States Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca (USAIC&FH). Over the next twenty-eight months, she focused the organization on developing cutting-edge, operationally relevant training, doctrine, and capabilities that prepared intelligence personnel for counterinsurgency operations. .
Receiving a direct commission into the Women’s Army Corps in 1976, Barbara Fast had a career full of firsts. She was the first female aide-de-camp to a tactical commander, the first female commander of an MI Tactical Exploitation Battalion (163rd MI Battalion), and the Army’s first female G-2 division (for the 2nd Division armored). She also commanded the 66th MI Brigade, and while serving in U.S. European Command, she recorded two more milestones as not only the First Army, but the first female J-2 fighter.
On July 18, 2003, then Brig. General Fast arrived at Fort Huachuca as the USAIC&FH Deputy Commanding General. A week later, however, she traveled to Baghdad for a year-long assignment as the first female director of intelligence (C-2) for Combined Joint Task Force 7 and Multi-National Forces Iraq. Returning to Fort Huachuca in late July 2004, Major General Fast suffered a seven-month delay until, finally, on March 16, 2005, she became the first female commander of USAIC&FH.
Upon taking command, she said, “My first priority is to prepare soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines ready to put themselves in harm’s way. To revise training to reflect Army operations in a counterinsurgency environment, she brought in new instructors fresh from combat, ensured the immediate adoption of lessons learned in all courses, and called for hands-on exercises built around real-world scenarios using real warzone message traffic. It has instituted training in collective and classified environments and provided cultural awareness in each course.
A key initiative was the Immediate Human Intelligence Modernization (HUMINT), which she said provided 70% of intelligence in Iraq. She fought for a 1:1 student-instructor ratio for interrogation training focused on both civilian internees and POWs; the introduction of HUMINT tactical bags so that collectors always have the right equipment with them; and institutional training with equipment – like the set of automated biometric tools – already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, under the leadership of General Fast, the USAIC produced a new manual detailing proper interrogation tactics that became standard for the entire of the Department of Defense (DoD). Finally, she initiated and led efforts to establish the Joint HUMINT Training Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca to provide advanced skills training for all DoD HUMINTers.
In collaboration with national agencies, it also modernized Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT). She led the incorporation of National Security Agency (NSA) real-world SIGINT databases into SIGINT analyst training at the USAIC&FH satellite campus at Goodfellow Air Force Base. Also through a partnership with the NSA and the Executive Officer-Intelligence and Electronic Warfare program, the Prophet Titan rapid-reaction prototype was fielded to enhance the Army’s organic ground collection of relevant signals. Finally, under his tenure, USAIC&FH worked with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the US Army Engineer School to combine the efforts of geospatial and imagery analysts in a new intelligence discipline: GEOINT.
Under General Fast’s leadership, the USAIC&FH achieved “irreversible momentum” in the development of “adversary-focused” intelligence professionals. To sum up General Fast, USAIC & FH have delivered to the battlefield “full spectrum operators…who know how to think about our adversary, how to operate with [operations] guys, how to leverage technology to get the job done…and how to protect yourself. We really have Intel warriors.
General Fast led USAIC&FH until June 29, 2007, then completed her final assignment as Deputy Director of the Army Capability Integration Center before retiring in May 2008. Her time at Fort Huachuca was just one of many pioneering, inspiring and impactful assignments in his 32-year career. General Fast was inducted into the MI Hall of Fame in 2010.
|Date posted:||16.03.2022 11:44|
|Location:||FORT HUACHUCA, Arizona, USA|
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