Maj. Paul Gittins will relinquish his position as the first foreign Military Intelligence Captains’ Career Course manager at Fort Huachuca’s U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence July 31.
Previously, United Kingdom exchange officers stationed at Fort Huachuca have worked primarily with the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion as a Military Intelligence Captains’ Career Course, or MICCC, instructor, and Gittins’ plan was no different.
Prior to this assignment, Gittins had little experience in teaching; however, his 30 years of intelligence collection, analysis and reporting experience fit the competitive exchange officer qualifications exactly. He had served alongside U.S. Soldiers on various deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, but Fort Huachuca was his first assignment within the U.S.
Gittins arrived in October 2010 with the sole intent to be a counter-insurgency block instructor at the MICCC. In December 2012 however, he was presented with the opportunity to be the first foreign MICCC manager. Gittins eagerly accepted the challenge.
The foreign exchange officer said his experiences at Fort Huachuca far exceeded his expectations.
“I came here to do some teaching, which I had never done,” he said. “Giving briefs is one of the major parts of our job, and I have so much more confidence now having [literally] briefed … and taught hundreds of people.”
Few would have predicted that Gittins, at the young age of 16, would choose the military path due to the many generations before him that worked as coal miners. Following his heart, he joined the British Army in June 1978.
Initially, Gittins trained in radio communications and high speed Morse code at the Army Apprentices College, Harrogate, North Yorkshire. From there, he was sent to the Communications and Security School in Loughborough, U.K.
Travel and training followed in suit, continuing in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of various military intelligence operations.
His eclectic background has resulted in subject matter expertise comprised of worldwide counterintelligence, counterterrorism, and information technology security and data integrity. As a result of his worldwide military travels, Gittins speaks many languages, to include Russian, Greek and German.
Gittins provided what intelligence officials consider a great deal of organizational and managerial benefit to the MICCC. As the course manager, he was responsible for educating and training more than 700 MI captains and allied officers and for managing a staff of 60 military, civilian and contracted personnel.
“I think [that because of] all of this, cadre are better now than they were before,” Gittins said.
When asked about his time living in the U.S., Gittins explained that he greatly enjoyed the time spent here but if the opportunity to return were ever available, he would prefer to live on the east coast.
Upon his return to the United Kingdom, Gittins and his wife, Jean, have been assigned to a post that is close to his hometown.
While he is excited for his Family to be back on their home turf, Gittins shares that excitement with a slight sadness about moving out from this chapter of their lives. Throughout his military career, Gittins’ son, Aaron, has attended five different schools.
“I have loved it here [in the U.S.]. My wife and I have been married for 33 years and we have spent most of that abroad … but it is about time that my 11-year-old [son] got settled into a school,” he said.
Gittins and his wife also have a 22-year-old son, Kingsley, who currently resides in the U.K. He recently graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in chemical engineering. Following in his father’s footsteps, Kingsley will begin military officer training at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September.
In 2010, Gittins completed his master’s degree in War Studies at Kings College, London. He is currently working on his Ph.D in Military Ethics at Durham University, U.K.
As Gittins reminisced about his recent journeys, he expressed gratitude to those who were part of it all.
“Thank you for all of your help and support, both military and civilian, over the past two-and-a-half years. It has been great,” he said.