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FM 34-1: Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations



The problem is to grasp, in innumerable special cases, the actual situation which is covered by the mist of uncertainty, to appraise the facts correctly and to guess the unknown elements, to reach a decision quickly and then to carry it out forcefully and relentlessly.

--Helmuth von Moltke, 1800-1891

US Army units conduct OOTW and special operations during peace and conflict. Not all of these operations require the use of force. The national command authority employs all types of forces in OOTW. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) are specially organized, trained, and equipped to conduct special operations. In some types of OOTW, Ml or an ARSOF unit might be the only Army force supporting the operation. Ml personnel must consider these unique requirements when supporting OOTW or ARSOF missions.


The preceding chapters have described the principles and fundamentals of IEW operations in the context of conflict and war. However, the Army is, and will be in the future, often called upon to execute operations which promote peacekeeping, law and order, democracy, and humanitarian endeavors. These operations are collectively described as OOTW and, while not all require the application of force, most require IEW support.

Fundamentals of IEW Support to OOTW:

Although the principles of IEW support apply equally to war and OOTW, the needs of the commander in OOTW are often quite different from those of the commander in conventional combat operations. Success in OOTW is contingent upon the commander possessing a complete understanding of the situation. This understanding often focuses on what were formerly considered nonmilitary topics such as politics, economics, and demographics. In some OOTW, understanding the population and its culture may be the commander's keys to mission success. The nature of OOTW requires that the Intelligence BOS be fully engaged, flexible, and responsive to the challenges of these operations. Some fundamental aspects of IEW support to OOTW are discussed below.

IPB. IPB analyzes the threat and environment in a specific geographic area. It supports staff estimates, planning, and decision making. The steps of the IPB process remain constant regardless of mission, unit, or echelon. The commander must define the battlefield environment, describe the battlefields effects, evaluate the threat, and determine threat COAs. Application of these steps, however, will vary with each specific situation. The principal difference between IPB for conventional operations and IPB for OOTW is the focus and the degree of detail required to support the commanders decision making process. Other major differences include the impact of the political situation, to include such things as legal mandates or terms of reference, and the enormous demand for demographic analysis. New information categories will emerge for the commander as he directs troops and accomplishes missions in the OOTW environment.

Collection management. Collection management in OOTW may differ somewhat from collection of intelligence in conventional operations. PIR and IR will be many and varied as will be the collection resources and methods. For these reasons, the "dispersed battlefield" collection plan format may be the most effective for operations such as peacekeeping. The dispersed battlefield collection plan format lends itself to situations where there are many diverse PIR and the availability of collection systems is far outweighed by the number of requirements. This type of collection plan assists the commander and G2 (S2) by providing techniques which carefully prioritize each indicator and SIR, in addition to the supported PIR and IR. For detailed guidance on the dispersed battlefield collection plan, refer to FM 34-2 .

Standardized checklists. Standardized checklists can also enhance the collection effort by focusing attention towards answering PIR and IR, even when a situation is unique or personnel are new to the operational environment. The checklists also help to speed the train-up time of intelligence sections and units. Some examples of checklists used during peacekeeping operations in Somalia, in 1993, included the Area Assessment Checklist, Convoy Debrief Checklist, Roadblock Checklist, and the Airfield Security Checklist. Overall aspects and considerations of each checklist will need to be modified to each situation and to the operational environment.

Intelligence disciplines. All the intelligence disciplines should be employed to the fullest extent possible. The following describes how each discipline contributes to the overall intelligence picture:

  • HUMINT. HUMINT is the most important discipline in many OOTW activities for collecting information and understanding the AO. Whether collected by US or host nation personnel, HUMINT contributes the most to understanding the population, its culture and needs, and the operational environment. HUMINT in many OOTW activities is derived from non-MI military and civilian personnel in the AO. In peacekeeping, information gathered by patrols, observation posts, and roadblocks provides a substantial amount of information for Ml analysts to evaluate. UN workers are a source of information during humanitarian relief operations. In OOTW, every individual is a potential source of HUMINT.
  • IMINT. IMINT assets should be used to enhance the commander's common picture of the battlefield. Imagery of key facilities, belligerent dispositions, staging areas, obstacles, and potential trouble spots can speed the commander's planning process by greatly reducing the uncertainty involved in the operation. Use assets from all levels, to include those of national and coalition partners, if involved in combined operations. Simple assets such as helicopters and UAVs, are excellent for performing short-notice missions, such as route reconnaissance.
  • MASINT. MASINT systems measure objects or events in order to identify them by their signatures. As in combat operations, MASINT systems can provide or enhance coverage of areas not under or beyond the range of visual observation.
  • SIGINT. SIGINT assets provide the commander with valuable, often NRT intelligence on threat and belligerent intentions, readiness, and dispositions by intercepting and locating command, maneuver, fire support, reconnaissance and logistics emitters.
  • MDCI. MDCI personnel play an active role in force protection in OOTW. MDCI teams provide the commander with information on how well threat forces can see his forces, and the commands vulnerability to threat intelligence collection, as well as information regarding the current terrorist threat level.

Dissemination. Dissemination of intelligence products should be conducted using standard report formats. Intelligence personnel should ensure that liaison officers pass intelligence products to ail parties requiring them in joint or combined operations. PSYOPS units are also very useful in disseminating peacekeeping operation objectives and ensuring that friendly efforts are fully understood by belligerent parties and the civilian population.

Operations Other Than War Activities:

OOTW encompasses a variety of activities. Some operations such as show of force, attacks and raids, and noncombatant evacuation operations require the IEW support of a combat operation. Humanitarian assistance and support to counter-drug operations are OOTW activities that may not involve the use of force, but do require intelligence support to accomplish the mission. Though not an all-inclusive listing of OOTW missions, an understanding of the following OOTW activities and their IEW support can serve as a basis for planning future OOTW.

Support to Domestic Civil Authorities. In times of domestic emergency, the Federal Government may direct the Armed Forces to assist civil authorities. Within CON US, the Army has primary responsibility for such assistance. Army units support disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, and similar operations. Federal law also authorizes the use of military force to suppress domestic violence or insurrection. Under the provisions of the Posse Committals Act, though, neither the AC nor the US Army Reserve may execute the law in the place of duly appointed law enforcement officials without specific presidential or congress approval and direction.

Historical Perspective

Operation Garden Plot

On the afternoon of 29 April 1992, the worst civil unrest since the 1960,s erupted inthe streets of Los Angeles (LA).Forty-four people died, and hundreds were injured before order was restored. Property damage reached the billion dollar mark. It began as a small disturbance in south central LA, but quickly escalated and spread rapidly throughout the city and country. The violence initially overwhelmed law enforcement agencies, resulting in the burning of large areas of the city. The governor of California committed the state police and two thousand National Guard soldiers to assist in restoring law and order on 30, April. Following a Presidential Executive Order on 1 May, JTF-LA was formed. The Executive Order federalized units of the California Army National Guard (CAARNG) and authorized active military forces to assist in the restoration of law and order. JTF-LA formed and deployed within 24 hours. It operated a unique domestic disturbance environment while working with city, county, state, federal agencies, and the CAARNG. JTF-LA was completely successful in meeting the three objectives defined in its mission statement which were--assume command and control of federalized National Guard and AC Marine and Army forces, establish liaison with local law enforcement agencies, and conduct civil disturbance operations to restore order in the greater LA area.

A full complement of intelligence analysts were required to support the assault command post (ACP) during Operation Garden Plot. Law enforcement agencies generally have adequate data collection capabilities, but lack the ability to perform detailed intelligence analysis. Considerations for the G2 (S2) in an operation such as Garden Plot may include points similar to the following:

  • Conduct the IPB process in an exceptional degree of detail to support the JTF commander's decision making process. This detail will require a full demographic analysis of the area. IPB graphics produced during a terrain analysis of the target area may include a population status overlay, a key facilities and target overlay, and a LOC overlay.
  • Evaluate the threat and build an accurate threat model which will require dependence on information from a wide variety of sources and agencies. In Operation Garden Plot, military forces established intelligence exchange with suburban police departments, local city command posts, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the LAPD emergency operations center, the city command center, the sheriffs office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Close and effective liaison must be established with all potential sources and agencies. Local law enforcement agencies have access to HUMINT, often unavailable to the military. The intelligence staff of the law enforcement agencies have unparalleled expertise in civil disturbances and gang behavior, while military analysts are in the best position to apply this experience to civil-military operations.
  • Analyze threat patterns and activities. Analysts should keep in mind that gangs and other criminal elements may change their normal patterns of activity when military forces are present, making pattern analysis extremely difficult.
  • Obtain force protection information. Civil disturbance missions require an especially robust MDCI capability. MDCI personnel can be used to obtain force protection information, but given the restrictions of AR 381-10 on the use of Ml assets to collect on US citizens, it may be more appropriate for military police and other non-Ml personnel to perform the function.
  • Anticipate the need to procure additional communications equipment to support intelligence operations during civil disturbances. During Operation Garden Plot, units used a variety of government-owned, off-the-shelf purchased, and personally owned equipment to effectively conduct operations. Additional communications equipment included such things as cellular phones, faxsimile machines, and police scanners.
  • Use imagery assets whenever possible. Aerial photographs of the target area to include key facilities, intersections, rally and staging areas, and potential trouble spots, can be an invaluable aid to commanders and staffs for planning and assessing operations.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. Humanitarian assistance (HA) includes programs conducted to relieve or reduce the results of natural or manmade disasters or other endemic conditions, such as human pain, disease, hunger, or privation that might present a serious threat to life and result in great damage or loss of property. HA, provided by US Forces, is designed to supplement or complement the efforts of the host nation, civil authorities, or agencies that may have the primary responsibility for providing HA. Disaster relief operations fall within the overall context of HA and are conducted in emergency situations to prevent the loss of life and property. Such operations may be in the form of immediate and automatic response by US military commanders or in response to requests from domestic authorities, foreign governments, or international agencies. Army elements are often responsible for supporting the implementation of assistance programs developed by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance within the Department of State.

Historical Perspective

Operation Provide Comfort

On 5 April 1991, President Bush announced the beginning of a relief operation in northern Iraq. Operation Provide Comfort joint and combined post-conflict activity with extensive SOF involvement, focused on providing humanitarian assistance and protection to the displaced Kurdish population of Iraq, following an unsuccessful attempt by Kurdish rebels to overthrow the Iraqi government. The US responded immediately. By 7 April, US aircraft from Europe dropped relief supplies over the Iraq borders. More than 6,000 soldiers from units which just had participated in Operation Desert Storm eventually redeployed to Turkey and Northern Iraq in support of Operation Provide Comfort. The initial objective of the operation was to reduce the death rate among the 400,00 Kurdish refugees forced to survive in the mountains. Subsequent objectives included establishing a security zone in northern Iraq so that refugees would feel safe to return setting up refugee camps within the secure zone, and begin repatriating Kurds to the secure zone. There were a number of problems encountered during the operation. The Iraq governments hostility towards the Kurds, combined with the continued presence, threats and harassment of Iraqi military, police, and secret police, made many Kurds reluctant to return to their homes. Additionally, the initial security zone did not include the city of Dahuk, which was the origin of most of the refugees.

IPB for HA and disaster relief operations must be part of the deliberate planning process. For disasters, as in all no-notice operations, there is always danger. A military presence is often required before IPB can be completed. HA missions are not immune to danger and uncertainty as was evidenced by the destabilizing effects of competing factions in northern Iraq and in Somalia. Considerations for the G2 (S2) in HA operations may include some of the following:

  • Collection sources and agencies for the operation include those used in conventional military operations, as well as some that are not normally considered. Potential sources and agencies include news media, liaisons with host nation police, government, and military, as well as liaisons with nongovernment organizations, private voluntary organizations, and international organizations. As in any operation, the standard collection plan format is a valuable aid, but if PIR and IR are many and varied, then the analyst should consider the use of the dispersed battlefield collection plan format.
  • Employment of IMINT, whenever possible. Use aerial platforms to photograph the extent of damage to the area and to conduct reconnaissance on key supply routes.
  • Establish effective liaisons with all parties participating in HA operations.

Support to Counter-Drug Operations. Military efforts in counter-drug operations are directed primarily to support --

  • Law enforcement agencies, other US agencies, and cooperating foreign governments to interdict the flow of illegal drugs at the source, in transit, and during distribution.
  • Host nations which include assisting their forces to destroy drug production facilities and collaboration with host nation armed forces to prevent export of illegal drugs.
  • Interdiction efforts which center on monitoring and detecting illegal drugs in transit.
  • Domestic counter-drug operations which include military planning and training assistance for domestic law enforcement agencies, equipment loans and transfers, use of military facilities, and other assistance as requested and authorized.

Historical Perspective

Joint Tasks Force Six

The Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) has made counter-drug (CD) operations a high priority mission for the DOD and consequently, the Department of the Army (DA). In response to DOD guidance, the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff signed and distributed the Army Counternarcotics Plan on 17 April 1990. This plan articulates a clear statement of intent and provides major subordinate commanders and DA staff with the broad guidance required to develop COA's. In further defining the DOD role in CD operations, the SECDEF directed all US major commands to draw up plans spelling out how they proposed to assist in the reduction of drugs coming into the US. United States Army Forces Command participation in the plan came with the activation of JFT 6 at Ft Bliss,TX. JFT 6 is designed as a planning and coordinating HQ to provides operational support from the DOD to federal state and local law enforcement agencies along the southwest border. The southwest border is the principal corridor for moving drugs. Over 50 percent of illegal drugs entering the US cross the international boundary extending from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Coast. Drugs are smuggled via land, air, and water. Not only is Mexico a supplier of drugs, it is also a transit country for shipment from other countries. It is estimated that in 1991 there were 150-200 organized Mexican groups whose sole purpose was drugs smuggling. MI personnel at JFT 6 are continually working to establish "modus operandi" for the drug smugglers. MI personnel also coordinate with the National Guard of four border states to ensure unity of effort in providing intelligence analyze, detection and monitoring, use of ground sensors, and photo reconnaissance.

Counter-drug IPB, particularly analysis of the terrain combined with knowledge of the drug trafficking organizations, can help to identify the best locations for law enforcement agency response teams and maximize their ability to apprehend large numbers of suspects. Although counter-drug IPB a successful tool, commanders and intelligence professionals should be cautious not to overemphasize it. Planners should be prepared to adjust all collection assets, such as listening and observation posts as experience is gained in counter-drug operations for a particular region. The drug traffickers will adjust their operations in reaction to your presence in the area.

Establishing the "modus operandi" for drug producers and traffickers will require the exchange of information between many sources and agencies. Potential sources of information may include domestic and host nation governments, military, police, the US Border Patrol, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the US Customs Service, and the US Coast Guard.

Drug production and trafficking has profound influence on the local population, so the analyst must be able to recognize the effects of these influences. Examples can be subtle, such as an unexplained increase in affluence within the population or increased corruption within the government. Domestic and host nation HUMINT sources will be most suited to detect the subtle changes in the population. Other effects may be more pronounced, such as an abrupt change from food crops to drug crops, the transfer of large cash deposits to out-of-country or off-shore banks, or the eradication of extradition laws. Effective liaisons with domestic and host nation government agencies, military, and law enforcement agencies will be the key to identifying the effects of the drug trade.

Use IMINT assets to the maximum extent possible. Assets should be used to look for suspected laboratories or their construction, cache sites of drugs or materials, and agricultural areas for drug crops. Assets may also be used to look for transshipment of drugs over rugged, isolated areas and the existence of newly-constructed or cut roads or trails which may suggest new transshipment routes, agricultural areas, or drug laboratories.

Anticipate increased capabilities on the part of the drug traffickers. Communications, for instance, may begin as telephone and amateur radio, but could rapidly move to encrypted digital SATCOMS. Money is seldom an issue in drug operations and the traffickers will spend the money to acquire the technology necessary to keep their operations secure. SIGINT collectors can be very useful in supporting counter-drug operations outside US borders, especially at locating remote production or transshipment facilities.

FM 100-5 and FM 34-7 provide more detailed information on OOTW activities and IEW support to OOTW.


ARSOF include Special Forces (SF), Rangers, CA, PSYOPS, and Army Aviation (ARSOA) units. All types of ARSOF perform strategic, operational, and tactical missions in war and OOTW. SOF operations are conducted during peacetime competition, conflict, and war independently or in coordination with allied forces. The Intelligence BOS supports the IEW requirements of all ARSOF missions. The five principal missions of special operations are --

Direct Action:

Direct action missions are short duration strikes or small-scale offensive actions which seize, destroy, or damage specific targets and capture or recover personnel or materiel. Army SF and Rangers conduct direct action missions often against targets deep within enemy controlled territory. The most frequent ARSOA mission is infiltration, exfiltration, and resupply of ARSOF by air. ARSOA supports SF or Rangers in direct action or can conduct direct action missions autonomously. Examples of IEW support include -- -

  • Acquiring detailed knowledge of the target site.
  • Identifying routes in and out of the target area.
  • Determining the strength and order of battle of any threat forces that may respond.
  • Identifying countermeasures to defeat enemy systems.
  • Locating and suppressing enemy air threat.

Special Reconnaissance:

Army SF or ARSOA conduct special reconnaissance to obtain information not available by other means, Special reconnaissance complements national and theater collection systems to satisfy intelligence gaps and confirm information in the intelligence data base.

Special reconnaissance operations can be broken into two categories: battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance using standard tactics and techniques, and clandestine collection. Clandestine collection is complex and sensitive and may require control of SF teams by the national intelligence community.


Counterterrorism missions involve offensive measures against terrorists including preemptive and punitive actions. Only SF units specially organized,trained, equipped, and designated in theater OPLANs conduct counter-terrorism. They require detailed, responsive intelligence on terrorist personalities, organizations, logistical support, weapons, equipment, training, tactics, and information about any hostages. Counterterrorism mission planners and various national and military agencies must coordinate closely to gather, analyze, and immediately deliver the needed information to the SF unit performing the Counterterrorism mission.

Unconventional Warfare:

Unconventional warfare is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations against an established government or occupying power. Unconventional warfare normally involves inserting SF elements into an area controlled by hostile forces. The SF organize, train and equip indigenous forces, and support them in conducting guerrilla warfare or other direct offensive low-visibility operations, as well as indirect operations such as sabotage, subversion, or intelligence collection.

PSYOP missions are designed to influence the attitudes and behaviors of foreign enemy, friendly, or neutral audiences. In unconventional warfare, PSYOP elements try to demoralize hostile forces and reduce their will to fight.

The Intelligence BOS provides detailed all-source intelligence on the geography, targets in the area, the situation within and between partisan groups, and in-country sources of intelligence or support. Examples of IEW support to PSYOP elements include --

  • Gathering information on the ethnic or religious makeup of a town or village.
  • Determining attitudes and beliefs of the people.
  • Identifying enemy activities or plans.
  • Locating mobile target groups.
  • Locating and jamming threat PSYOP transmitters.

Foreign Internal Defense:

Foreign internal defense missions support the host nation government.These missions may involve --

  • SF elements which conduct actions to strengthen the host country's defense establishment.
  • CA elements which set up a temporary civil administration at the request of the host nation to maintain law and order, and provide life-sustaining services until the host nation can resume normal operations. Examples of other CA actions are supporting NEO, coordinating local resources and facilities, and controlling civilian interference with US military activities.
  • PSYOP elements which act to counter threat propaganda and weaken the influence of insurgent groups.
  • ARSOF elements which require the same types of IEW support for foreign internal defense as well as unconventional warfare. They also need to know the sources of friction within the host country that impact on the acceptability and success of the government.

In addition to the five principal missions listed above, SOF may participate in collateral activities of security assistance, HA, antiterrorism, counter-drug operations, personnel recovery, and special activities with other components.

The Joint Publication 3-series, and FM 34-7 and FM 34-130 provide detailed planning guidance for OOTW. FM 34-36 describes IEW support to ARSOF missions.

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