Open Source Intelligence.
To facilitate the integration of the OSINT discipline into operations and training, USAIC&FH is developing an interim field manual (FMI) on OSINT. The manual, FMI 2-22.9, Open Source Intelligence, will provide interim tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) on how to plan OSINT operations; collect and process publicly available information; and produce OSINT.
What does this new discipline mean to U.S. Army intelligence? OSINT operations are integral to Army intelligence operations. Publicly available information is the foundation upon which all intelligence operations build to develop all-source intelligence that supports situational understanding and decisive action. The availability, depth, and range of publicly available information enables intelligence organizations to satisfy intelligence requirements without the use of specialized human or technical means of collection. OSINT operations support other intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts by providing information that focuses collection and enhances production.
As part of an all-source intelligence effort, the use and integration of OSINT ensures that decisionmakers have the benefit of all available information. In short, OSINT as part of an integrated and balanced intelligence effort ensures that decisionmakers at all levels have the benefit of all sources of information.
American military professionals have collected, translated, and studied articles, books, and periodicals to gain knowledge and understanding of foreign lands and armies for over 200 years. The value of publicly available information as a source of intelligence has, however, often been overlooked in Army intelligence operations. The development of FMI 2-22.9 provides a catalyst for renewing the Army's awareness of the value of open sources; establishing a common understanding of OSINT, and developing systematic approaches to the collection, processing, and analysis of publicly available information.
Although readily available, the exponential growth in computer technology and the Internet over the past two decades has placed more public information and processing power at the finger tips of soldiers than at any time in our past. A body of knowledge on culture, economics, geography, military affairs, and politics that was once the domain of "grey-beard" scholars now rests in the hands of high school graduates.
For intelligence personnel, this combination of technology and information enables them to access a large body of information that they need to answer their unit's intelligence requirements. As the following quote illustrates, our over-reliance on classified databases and technical means of collection has often left our soldiers uninformed and ill-prepared to capitalize on the huge reservoir of unclassified information available from open sources.
I am deploying to El Salvador in a few months, and will be serving as the S-2 NCOIC for the task force there. I need to put together some information for the Task Force Commander on the country and the situation there. Although I have served in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 1, I have no idea how to go about this, for when we deployed to Iraq the country brief was pretty much handed to us.--Sergeant, S2 NCOIC, Engineer Group
From El Salvador to Iraq, the U.S. Army operates in diverse operational environments around the world. These diverse operational environments mean the development and use of open source intelligence is not a luxury but a necessity. Open sources possess much of the information that we need to understand the physical and human factors of the operational environments in which we conduct or may conduct military operations. In truth, much of our understanding of these environments is based on publicly available information obtained through educators, journalists, news anchors, and scholars. We believe this concept is captured within the following characteristics of OSINT:
 Provides the Foundation. Publicly available information forms the basis of all intelligence operations and intelligence products.
 Answers Requirements. The availability, depth, and range of public information enables intelligence organizations to satisfy many intelligence requirements without the use of specialized human or technical means of collection.
 Enhances Collection and Production. OSINT operations support other ISR efforts by providing information that enhances collection and production.
 Benefits Multidiscipline Intelligence. As part of a multidiscipline intelligence effort, the use and integration of OSINT ensures decisionmakers have the benefit of all-sources of available information.
The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command's Asian Studies Detachment (ASD) demonstrates these characteristics and the power of sustained OSINT operations. Since 1947, ASD has collected, processed, and analyzed publicly available information on the capabilities, disposition, and readiness of the military forces of China, North Korea, and other potential adversaries. It has also reported on the economic, environmental, political, and social conditions within the region. In recent years, ASD reported on--
 Elevated tensions between China and Taiwan during the Taiwan presidential elections in 2004.
 Security threats to U.S and allied forces conducting humanitarian relief operations in Indonesia following the December 2004 tsunami devastation
 Strategy and tactics employed during the August 2005 Sino-Russian combining counterterrorism Exercise PEACE MISSION 2005.
As testimony to the high value of OSINT analysis and reporting, ASD's intelligence information reports since 2003 have received 28 "Major Significance" evaluations from the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Ground Intelligence Center, and the U.S. Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center on topics ranging from North Korean underground facilities to Chinese Peoples Liberation Army Air Force air and space science and technology developments.
FMI 2-22.9 serves as a catalyst for discussing and defining Army OSINT. During its two-year lifecycle, the TTPs in this manual will evolve as the Army and the Intelligence Community (IC) work to integrate and synchronize OSINT operations between echelons. This evolution will occur, in part, as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Open Source Center undertakes the difficult task of "coordinating the collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of open source intelligence to elements of the IC" in accordance with the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. In the end, the Army and the IC will reach consensus about the "who, what, where, when, why, and how" of OSINT operations. This consensus will take form in future Army and Joint intelligence doctrinal literature as well as Director of National Intelligence guidance and the DNI Open Source Center's synthesis of IC's OSINT best practices.
American military professionals have used publicly available information in order to produce intelligence throughout our history. The value of publicly available information as a source of intelligence has, however, often been overlooked in American intelligence operations. However, USAIC&FH is moving out to improve intelligence operations by addressing OSINT across doctrine, organizational structures, training, materiel, and leadership development. The establishment of OSINT as an Army intelligence discipline is an important first step toward ensuring that we, the Army's Military Intelligence professionals, provide decisionmakers with actionable intelligence derived from all sources of information.
Major General Barbara G. Fast
Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence
Center and Fort Huachuca
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|Title Annotation:||Always Out Front|
|Author:||Fast, Barbara G.|
|Publication:||Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2005|
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