FT. HUACHUCA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's a high-stakes, highly sought after training and it's happening right here in Southern Arizona. It only happens a few times a year, select soldiers from all over the country head to Ft. Huachuca for military intelligence training.
Soldiers spend 18 weeks in the post's Human Intelligence Collector and Interpreter course. Nine On Your Side was granted a rare look inside the training during the soldier's capstone exercise. The exercise tests everything they have learned in a field environment, made to mimic the rough terrain of the Afghan mountains.
"You're being shot at, and people are trying to kill you, so you have to go in and out in a short amount of time," Capt. David Cook told 9OYS.
In order to qualify for the elite career field, soldiers must score high on the Army I.Q. test and hold top secret security clearance.
The training seems daunting. Yes, it is rigorous both physically and mentally.
But, here's the catch: Battalion leaders say through out any and all pre-conceived notions surrounding military intelligence -- forget what you may have seen on ABC's "Scandal" and "24."
"The aspect you miss out of it is, it's glamorized on TV. There's really nothing fun about our job, going out there, putting our life on the line everyday," Capt. Cook said.
"It looks fun on TV when you're watching 'Rambo.' It's not nearly as fun when you're doing it," Capt. Cook continued.
Battalion leaders say the foundation of intel training is simply: talking.
"As human beings, we are social creatures. Everybody talks, it's just identifying whether they're telling you the truth or not," CW4 Pierre Aslou added.
Soldiers focus on building rapport. They learn basic questioning, screening and interrogation techniques. In turn, the intel they collect gets passed onto their commanders.
"The primary tool of the military intelligence soldier is the mind," Commander in charge, Lt. Col Knapp said.
Lt. Col. Knapp says, in many ways, women are owning the field. By comparison, there are more women working in military intelligence than in other branches.
"I think females are drawn to military intelligence by the nature of the work," Lt. Col. Knapp furthered. "Intelligence is really incredibly important to the success of operations in Afghanistan and any military operation for that matter."
"Getting it right here [and] understanding what they need to do to collect the right piece of information will save us lives, coalition lives, as we're executing US operations," Capt. Cook concluded.