Bradley Manning's Surprising Statement to the Court Details Why He Made His Historic Wikileak
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I graduated from AIT on 16 August 2008 and reported to my first duty station, Fort Drum, N.Y., on 28 August 2008. As an analyst, Significant Activities, or SigActs, were a frequent source of information for me to use in creating work products. I started working extensively with SigActs early after my arrival at Fort Drum. My computer background allowed me to use the tools organic to the Distributed Common Ground System-Army, or D6-A, computers to create polished work products for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team chain of command.
The non-commissioned officer in charge, or NCOIC, of the S2 section, then Master Sergeant David P. Adkins recognized my skills and potential and tasked me to work on a tool abandoned by a previously assigned analyst, the incident tracker. The incident tracker was viewed as a back up to the Combined Information Data Network Exchange, or CIDNE, and as a unit, historical reference to work with.
In the months preceding my upcoming deployment, I worked on creating a new version of the incident tracker and used SigActs to populate it. The SigActs I used were from Afghanistan because, at the time, our unit was scheduled to deploy to the Logar and Wardak Provinces of Afghanistan. Later, my unit was reassigned to deploy to Eastern Baghdad, Iraq. At that point, I removed the Afghanistan SigActs and switched to Iraq SigActs.
As an analyst, I viewed the SigActs as historical data. I believe this view is shared by other all-source analysts, as well. SigActs gives a first-look impression of a specific or isolated event. This event can be an improvised explosive device attack, or IED, small arms fire engagement, or SAF engagement, with a hostile force, or any other event a specific unit documented and recorded in real time.
In my perspective, the information contained within a single SigAct or group of SigActs is not very sensitive. The events encapsulated within most SigActs involve either enemy engagements or causalities. Most of this information is publicly reported by the public affairs office, or PAO, embedded media pools, or host nation (HN) media.
As I started working with SigActs I felt they were similar to a daily journal or log that a person may keep. They capture what happens on a particular day in time. They are created immediately after the event, and are potentially updated over a period of hours until final version is published on the Combined Information Data Network Exchange. Each unit has its own Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, for reporting recording SigActs. The SOP may differ between reporting in a particular deployment and reporting in garrison.
In garrison, a SigAct normally involves personnel issues such as driving under the influence, or DUI, incidents or an automobile accident involving the death or serious injury of a soldier. The reports starts at the company level and goes up to the battalion, brigade and even up to the division level.
In deployed environment, a unit may observe or participate in an event and a platoon leader or platoon sergeant may report the event as a SigAct to the company headquarters and the radio transmission operator, or RTO. The commander or RTO will then forward the report to the battalion battle captain or battle non-commissioned officer, or NCO. Once the battalion battle captain or battle NCO receives the report they will either (1) notify the battalion operations officer or S3; (2) conduct an action, such as launching a quick reaction force; or (3) record the event and report and further report it up the chain of command to the brigade.