The possible development trend of the US military's intelligence collection in the future—integration of various resources

In terms of operations, the U.S. military will continue to integrate all available collection resources, and implement multi-dimensional, multi-platform, multinational joint, military-civilian integrated intelligence collection work.

The U.S. military believes that elements such as foreign advanced sensor networks, integrated air defense systems, and a large number of long-range precision strike weapons are constantly offsetting the U.S. military's combat advantages in various combat domains. The full integration of various resources should be regarded as an important way to maintain an advantage in the complex competitive environment of the future battlefield.

Since 2016, the U.S. military has successively proposed a series of operational concepts such as Multi-Domain Battle (MDB), Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), All-Domain Operations (ADO), and Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO). By sorting out the development of these concepts, it can be found that the US military is seeking to gain a foothold, integrate and integrate forces in all combat areas, and implement joint operations. In terms of intelligence collection, the joint nature of collection resources can be divided into two parts: joint intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance and joint, inter-agency, inter-government, and transnational intelligence collection operations.

In terms of joint reconnaissance and surveillance, the U.S. Army proposes to deploy corresponding levels of intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance networks in each combat domain, so as to obtain intelligence, identify anomalies, and issue early warnings in a variety of combat environments in a timely manner.

This requires intelligence collection management to formulate multi-category, multi-modal joint intelligence collection plans, increase the depth and redundancy of intelligence collection, ensure tacit cooperation between various means, and jointly identify and respond to enemy deception activities. Improve the accuracy and credibility of collected information. For example, the U.S. military is studying how to effectively combine the three intelligence methods of signal intelligence, electronic intelligence, and cyberspace intelligence to help commanders create space-time and technological advantages in both the physical and cognitive domains, so as to better assess threats, identify high-value and high-return targets, develop courses of action, and assess operational effectiveness. In addition, collection management also needs to automatically integrate sensors belonging to different intelligence categories to enhance the fit between collection tasks and collection requirements, so as to speed up target recognition, reduce the traffic load of the command network, shorten the distance between the sensor and the shooter, and improve the accuracy of target strikes.

In terms of joint, cross-agency, cross-government, and transnational intelligence collection operations, on the one hand, the collection management department of the US military will continue to modularize and adjust the intelligence collection capabilities of each unit. On the other hand, they will focus on building an asset collection/resource sharing mechanism with allies or partners.

This can not only effectively integrate multiple collection forces, but also save part of the manpower and material resources spent on intelligence collection for the US military. Currently, the U.S. military is building a multinational joint intelligence and reconnaissance structure. At the same time, the U.S. military also requires the troops of various countries to uniformly deploy mission instructions such as collection, processing, development, and distribution.

In the future, the U.S. military may set up special transnational collection management elements to be responsible for planning and coordinating transnational intelligence collection activities. This requires collection management personnel to be familiar with the performance parameters of the Allied collection and communication systems, and to carry out reserved collection product distribution as required in accordance with the confidentiality level and in accordance with relevant regulations. In addition, in specific operations, the commander of the joint task force (JTF) may also appoint a theater collection manager (TCM) to be responsible for coordinating the collection requirements of all allies in the theater.