The possible development trend of the US military's intelligence collection in the future—deepen the concept cognition

In terms of theory, the U.S. military will persist in innovation and improvement, and continue to strengthen the operational capabilities of intelligence collection managers at all levels.

The U.S. military has always attached great importance to the research and development of military theory, and has continuously promoted theoretical improvement by summarizing and reflecting on problems that have arisen in actual work. It is not difficult to infer that the U.S. military may continue to adjust and optimize intelligence collection and management theory based on factors such as the form of war, technological innovation, and changes in the strategic environment.

For a long time, the concept of "intelligence collection management" has changed from vague to clear in the context of the US military, and its role in the intelligence work process has become increasingly important. Looking back at history, the intelligence collection and management work of the U.S. military originated in the War of Independence and developed after World War II. In the 1960s, the Army formally proposed three management steps of "determining requirements, defining priorities, and balancing requirements and capabilities" through regulations. In the end, the collection management work of the U.S. military became mature after the Gulf War, and the Joint Intelligence Doctrine divided it into two functions: collection demand management and collection operation management. The current DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms defines collection management as a critical component of intelligence work. Specifically, it includes converting intelligence requirements into collection requirements; establishing priority of requirements; assigning collection tasks or coordinating appropriate collection resources or collection agencies; monitoring and supervising collection results and adjusting and optimizing collection tasks when necessary.

The U.S. military's collection and management work is constantly promoting systematic construction, systematically optimizing the intelligence collection and management workflow, and its scope of functions is continuously extended outward and refined inward, ranking among the top in the world in all aspects.

American intelligence expert Robert Clark believes that an integrated intelligence collection and management system needs to be established in the future. On the one hand, the front end of intelligence collection can be coordinated, and various collection methods can be fully coordinated by formulating appropriate collection strategies. On the other hand, it can also plan and process the back-end of intelligence collection and management, and process and utilize existing information in a timely and effective manner.

At the same time, the US military's deepening understanding of the concept of collection management is also reflected in the continuous improvement of the requirements for the quality of collection management personnel.

In the 1990s, the U.S. military required to focus on future threats and challenges based on the future battlefield environment and combat style, strengthen simulation training, and train staff at all levels to engage in intelligence collection and management. At present, in order to cope with the development and changes of technology and tactics, the US military has further put forward higher requirements for its collection managers. On the one hand, the U.S. military requires intelligence collection managers to master advanced intelligence collection management theories. On the other hand, the U.S. military is guided by operational needs and requires collection managers to improve their understanding and application proficiency in digital science, artificial intelligence, and other digital technologies. For example, the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) clearly pointed out that the intelligence community needs to hire more personnel with professional knowledge in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, etc. to participate in core intelligence work.

The U.S. military has continuously increased its emphasis on collection and management, and now regards it as an important part of the intelligence work system.

In the future, the U.S. military's research in this area will continue to deepen. By summarizing work practices, it will feed back theoretical research, deepen conceptual understanding, consolidate personnel training, and ultimately promote the continuous and rapid development of collection and management practice.