Classification of open source intelligence in military operations

Generally, under intelligence, the U.S. military divides open-source intelligence used in military operations into three categories: strategic intelligence, operational intelligence, and tactical intelligence.

Strategic intelligence

Strategic intelligence refers to the intelligence needed to formulate policy or military plans at the national and international levels. Strategic intelligence operations need to consider the entire nation, months, years, and beyond. The information mainly involved can be divided into the following nine aspects:

1. Character (biographical) information

Refers to current and potential important people and their backgrounds, personalities, etc. Including: education and career experience; personal achievement; hobbies, habits; position, influence and potential; business hobbies and value orientation.

2. Economic Intelligence

Including: economic warfare; economic vulnerability; manufacturing; sources of economic power.

3. Social intelligence

It mainly examines society, groups in society and their composition, organization, purpose, habits, and the role status of certain individuals in social organizations. Including: population, labor force; people's cultural and material living conditions; public opinion; education; religion; public health and welfare.

4. Traffic information

That is, information about the facilities and operations of foreign transportation systems. Including: railways; highways; waterways, waterways; oil and gas pipelines; ports; commercial shipping; aviation.

5. Telecommunications Intelligence

That is, information about foreign civilian and military fixed communication system facilities and operations. Including: radio; television; telephone; telegraph; submarine cables; media.

6. Military Geography

Geography is the science that describes the distribution of land, sea, sky, and flora and fauna (including humans, industry, etc.). Military geographic intelligence is the assessment of all geographic factors that may affect military operations in some way. Including: description; natural landforms; man-made landforms; names of various parts; topographical landforms; human and cultural geography.

7. Armed Forces Intelligence

That is, the comprehensive study of foreign organized land, sea, and air forces (both existing and potential). Including: a country's strategic military issues, involving geopolitical, terrain, economic, political and other factors, as well as the use of weapon systems, the use and actions of various arms and services, special operations training, logistics, organization, and military strength.

8. Political Intelligence

Political intelligence is information about foreign and domestic government policies and political movements. Including: Fundamentals of Government, National Policy; Government Structure; Foreign Policy; Political Organizations, Parties; Political Procedures; Public Order and Safety; Subversive Activities; Intelligence and Security Organizations; Propaganda.

9. Scientific and technical information

That is, the study and assessment of foreign scientific and technological capabilities and their potential to support their goals through the development of new weapons and equipment. Including: new weapons and equipment; missiles and space; nuclear, biological and chemical; basic science and applied science.

Campaign intelligence

Campaign intelligence refers to the geographic resources, regional situation, social factors, religious composition, and logistical support within the jurisdiction of the theater.

Tactical intelligence

Tactical intelligence refers to the intelligence needed to plan and execute tactical operations. Tactical intelligence operations should be adapted to military operations on the battlefield, usually in direct contact with the enemy, and need to face villages, towns, or local tribes and people. For example: geospatial information, weather conditions, public psychology, civil infrastructure, transportation network, imaging system, etc.

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