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Subject: Types of intelligence
Roman    4/9/2006 12:32:27 PM
I know of the existence of the following types (along with their shortcuts): COMINT - Communications Intelligence SIGINT - Signals Intelligence ELINT - Electronic Intelligence IMINT - Image/Imagery Intelligence HUMINT - Human Intelligence I have two questions: 1) Are there any other types of intelligence I am missing and if so what are they? 2) What is the difference between COMINT, SIGINT and ELINT? I can perhaps see some difference between ELINT and COMINT/SIGINT in that ELINT might be more concerned with the types of electronic emissions along the lines of radar whereas the other two perhaps analyze more those emissions that are designed for communication though I am not even certain of that. As to the difference between SIGINT and COMINT, though, I am at a complete loss to find any.
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displacedjim    RE:Types of intelligence    4/9/2006 4:40:09 PM
COMINT and ELINT are subcategories under SIGINT. Just as you surmised, ELINT basically is monitoring non-communication signals (which primarily means radar), while COMINT is monitoring signals that carry information in them (like radio transmissions). Another main category of "INT" with many subcategories under it is called "MASINT" (Measurement and Signature Intelligence). MASINT-related technologies would include technologies similar to spectroscopy of stars to determine what their chemical composition is, ground-penetrating radar to find buried objects, using a thermal camera to find poor insulation around windows and doors of your house, etc. It's quite vast in what it encompasses, and it's particularly useful for analysts who work in Scientific and Technical Intelligence making assessments of the performance capabilities of the threat. Displacedjim
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Roman    RE:Types of intelligence    4/11/2006 8:35:55 AM
I see, so MASINT is an almost all encompassing area including everything that does not fit into the other categories mentioned. It sounds like one of the most interesting types of intelligence and also one of the most reliant on technology. BTW: Thanks for clearing upt the SIGINT, COMINT and ELINT issue - it is interesting to see that COMINT and ELINT are sub-categories of SIGINT. Also, I would assume intelligence is also divided along tactical, operational and strategic lines - is that the case? Though I would imagine there would be a lot of blurring among the levels these days...
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displacedjim    RE:Types of intelligence    4/11/2006 9:36:43 AM
MASINT isn't exactly *all*-encompassing, but it is very broad. Another type of intelligence that has recently become much more widely-recognized as an important discipline is Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). With the information explosion of the internet in particular, there is a vast universe of data openly available to anyone who can figure out how to search it for the valuable bits and pieces buried amongst a mountain of chaff. Displacedjim
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Thomas3    RE:Types of intelligence    4/23/2006 4:16:25 PM
Broadly speaking: When You have an intelligence agency it is split up in to main departments: Information gathering and evaluation. The first might be divided up according to geography and then under methods. The second recieves the decoded and source assed informaation to evaluate the snippets of information and collect them to a picture. The problem Al Qaida presents is that they do NOT operate according to geographical lines and this presents all sorts of opportunities for intelligence failure!
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stbretnco    Techint   4/23/2006 4:33:11 PM
One category you missed is TECHINT, which is evaluation of the technical capabilities of a given piece of equipment. Basically, we capture equipment, give it to the techint units (the US Army has 2, one active, one reserve) and they evalutate it.
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displacedjim    RE:Techint   4/23/2006 6:41:23 PM
While I have heard that term used, it isn't used widely in USAF at any rate. Getting a hold of Their stuff is called Foreign Materiel Acquisition, and analyzing it is called Foreign Materiel Exploitation. But I concur, we do sometimes use the term TECHINT, and FME certainly is another type of INT. While thinking about this post I just realized that the only couple of modern jet fighters that I've ever sat in were MiG's or Su's! :-) Displacedjim
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stbretnco    RE:Techint   4/23/2006 6:49:22 PM
All that means is that the Army and the USAF need to eliminate some acronyms and come up with a common terminology manual, a sort of STANAG for inter service ops!
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Roman    RE:Types of intelligence    4/24/2006 4:01:04 AM
Interesting - does not division along the lines of means of intelligence collection come above that of geography? At least with some types of intelligence - especially satellites that orbit the Earth at high speeds - it would seem to make some sense. Yes, you want fusion of all types of information, but that can happen at the analysis level with feedback and requests than forwarded to the collection level.
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Roman    RE:Techint   4/24/2006 4:02:29 AM
Good point on TECHINT, though it could perhaps fall under the nearly all-encompassing MASINT, it is probably better understood separately.
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Roman    DOCINT   4/24/2006 4:05:20 AM
Does the provision/capture of documents fall under HUMINT? Or would it be its own separate category - something like DOCINT?
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