IT0560, The Collection Effort


IT0560, The Collection Effort is an intelligence analyst subcourse, part of the Advanced Intelligence Analysis Course. This course describes the Intelligence Cycle.

Learning Objectives

  • To be able to properly prepare the intelligence annex and collection plan and be able to describe the steps in the collection cycle. You will also be able to distinguish between agencies and sources
  • To be able to identify, prioritize and refine uncertainties concerning the threat and the battlefield environment that a command must resolve to accomplish the mission
  • To be able to identify the collectors available to you and which of those are best equipped to collect the information for the mission
  • Implement the collection plan through execution of system specific
    tasking or request mechanisms
  • Describe the information and procedures required to disseminate
    intelligence reports
  • Maintain status of each intelligence requirement and synchronization of the intelligence systems

Collection Management

  • The Intelligence Cycle describes the process to collect and analyze intelligence
  • Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is the primary intelligence task which helps the G2 (S2) focus and decide what intelligence should be collected
  • Collection management is the set of procedures that orchestrate Intelligence System of Systems (ISOS) organizations and systems to focus the intelligence effort in support of warfighting and stability and support operations (SASO)
  • Collection Management contains 3 subtasks:
    • Requirements Management (RM) defines what to collect, when, and where
    • Mission Management (MM) defines how to employ collection resources to satisfy requirements
    • Asset Management (AM) executes collection and/or exploitation in accordance with collection plan requirements and tasking. AM combines the “what, when and where” to collect from the RM “how” from MM, and executes the collection mission with specific assets and resources
  • Collection Management consists of six steps:
    • Develop collection plan
    • Task or request collection
    • Disseminate
    • Evaluate reporting
    • Update collection planning

Develop Requirements

  • Wargaming: Units generate intelligence requirements through staff wargaming. Intelligence officers role play the enemy commander using enemy course of actions (COAs) developed during the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process
  • Collection managers should participate in wargaming to direct intelligence collection needs (what information you need)
  • Wargamers often discuss the specific intelligence that will and will not
    support each decision
  • Participating in staff wargaming allows the collection manager to fully
    integrate the CM process into the decision-making process
  • Develop Requirements
    • To ensure the most effective use of assets, first analyze each requirement
      to determine the best way to satisfy it. Sometimes this does not require
      collection activity. Often a newly requested requirement can be satisfied by
      intelligence already in the data base or duplicates one that has already been
    • Next, validate requirements
      • Feasibility: is this something that can be answered timely with existing assets?
      • Completeness: should indicate what, where, when, why, who
      • Do you need to collect it or do you already have the information?
    • Collection requirements should be specific and justified; a time where the intelligence will be useful should be specified where possible
  • Specific Information Requirements
    • Identifying the sets of specific information that will provide
      an answer to each intelligence requirement
    • SIRs break requirements into smaller, more specific questions which, when
      answered, can satisfy the larger intelligence requirement
    • SIRs describe what
      information is required, where on the battlefield it can be obtained, and when it is to be answered. SIRs are as detailed as possible

Develop Collection Plan

  • A collection strategy and employment scheme that will produce the
    intelligence required to effectively answer the command’s intelligence
  • Success results in synchronization of intelligence collection with the command’s COA through effective use of collection assets at the right time and place on the battlefield.
  • Failure results in waste of time, effort, and potential loss of resources
  • Necessary to understand intelligence asset:
    • Availability (are HUMINT assets busy right now?)
    • Capability (what can existing IMINT or SIGINT tell us?)
    • Vulnerability (what are the limits of our intelligence collectors?)
    • Performance History (have they performed adequately in the past for this type of collection?)
  • Develop Collection Strategy
    • Select Resources
    • Synchronize Collection to Requirements (ensure collection matches information desired by command)
    • Prioritize Specific Orders and Requests (SORs)

Task or Request Collection

  • Three Tasks
    • Determine Tasking or Request Mechanism (determine what you need to collect)
    • Execute and Implement (begin the collection)
    • Collection and Exploit (identify the desired intelligence, exploit it on the battlefield)

Disseminate Intelligence Report

  • To ensure proper dissemination, ensure direct dissemination to the proper user
  • Direct dissemination is especially important for intelligence that supports
    targeting efforts
  • Even with direct dissemination, you must arrange a system that allows you
    to track the status of each request
  • Sometimes direct dissemination is impossible due to communications system
    limitations or the classification level of the intelligence. Using the steps
    which follow below, arrange for dissemination that is as direct as possible
  • Dissemination Process:
    • Determine the time sensitivity of each report to make decisions about the best means of dissemination
    • Identify users who requested or would benefit from the intelligence
    • Perform hindsight war-gaming, distribute intelligence to anyone:
      • If an intelligence user failed to anticipate the event the intelligence indicates
      • If the user would have established a decision point (DP) based on that intelligence, had he anticipated it.
      • If the intelligence will cause the user to modify a COA, or select a branch or sequel to a COA
    • Determine how much to disseminate
      • Evaluate each element of reported information against the decisions, requirements, and supporting SIRs and SORs for the identified consumer
    • Identify Method of Dissemination:
      • When disseminating relatively small amounts of information, use a combination of voice, graphics, and text deliveries
      • Optimal mix is graphics or text with follow-up voice conference for clarification

Evaluate Reporting

  • Determine whether collected intelligence satisfied SOR
  • Provide feedback to collectors and exploiters (what intelligence remains to be collected?)


IT0560, The Collection Effort. (1998). United States Army.


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