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FM 34-2: Collection Management And Synchronization Planning


The collection plan provides a framework that collection managers can use to determine and evaluate intelligence needs. Then they use the plan to meet those needs. Because of the diversity of missions, capabilities, and requirements, the collection plan has no prescribed doctrinal format. However, a dynamic collection plan should--

  • Have as its basis the commander's intelligence requirements (PIR and IR).
  • Help the commander see as deep in depth and time as possible.
  • Cover deep, close, and rear operations.
  • Have a four dimensional battlefield approach: width, length, height, and time.
  • Cover the collection capabilities of higher and adjacent units.
  • Be flexible enough to allow response to changes as they occur.
  • Cover only priority requirements.
  • Be a working document.
  • Contain precise and concise language.

The selection of a format by any particular command is based on the requirements of that command and the resources available for collection management. However, regardless of the format selected, it must follow the logical sequence of collection management described in Chapter 3. In addition, the plan must be easily adjustable to changing requirements, situations, and missions. This appendix provides several recommended formats, any of which may be adjusted to fit your specific requirements.

Collection Plan Worksheet

The intelligence collection plan worksheet is a valuable aid in planning and directing the collection effort. For many requirements, particularly those concerned with enemy capabilities and vulnerabilities, a written collection worksheet is advisable. The detail in which it is prepared, however, depends on the requirements collection managers need to satisfy and the overall coordination needed during the collection effort. At battalion and brigade, the collection plan worksheet is very informal. It may consist of a list of available collection means plus brief notes or reminders on current intelligence requirements and specific information to collect.

At division level and above, collection planning is more complex. The PIR of a corps commander often require in-depth analysis, and the coordination of the overall collection effort is a major undertaking. For that reason, written collection worksheets prepared at these echelons are detailed.

Figure A-1 shows a format commonly used at division and corps level. EACs as well as brigades and battalions can modify this format to fit their own requirements.

Figure A-2 provides an example of a completed collection plan using sample entries.

Another method for maintaining a collection plan is in the form of a visual file index using 5- by 8-inch cards (see Figures A-3 and A-4). In this method, a collection requirement is displayed across the bottom of a card. The remainder of the card may contain the following:

  • Priority.
  • Request or request number.
  • Time requested and LTIOV.
  • Additional distribution of results.
  • Collection agencies tasked and time.
  • Time the answer was received.
  • A summary of the actual answer received.
  • Time the answer was disseminated to the requester.

Priorities can be shown by using different colored cards or index tabs. For example, a red card or index tab could indicate a highly time sensitive request to the collection manager, no matter how many shift changes take place.

The collection manager can group the cards in the visual files in a number of ways: OB factors, NAIs, requester, or collector. In each operation, the file may start out one way and, by necessity, change as the situation changes. This can be done quickly since the cards are easy to manipulate.

When the collection requirement is satisfied, the card is removed from the visual files. The remainder of the cards are not disrupted. The collection manager can then place the 5- by 8-inch card in a small file organized by geographic areas. This enables the collection manager to build a data base on the responsiveness of the collection agencies within specific geographical areas.

If the visual file method is used, the collection manager must maintain two charts. One depicts the PIR and IR which drive the collection effort; the other lists the available units and agencies and those tasked with each requirement. This latter chart is needed to prevent overloading or overlooking any single available collector. These two charts are shown in Figure A-5.

The collection plan worksheet at maneuver battalion and task force level is discussed below. Figure A-6 is an example of one type of modified format. Each column has a letter designator. For example, the priority column is "A," the NAI column is "B, " and so on. The lettering makes it easy to quickly assign a new R&S mission, or modify an existing mission. Just transmit pertinent information within each column. For example:

  • Column B - 4.
  • Column C - 1800 to 2000.
  • Column D - BRDM, BMP, platoon-size (3 Soviet vehicles) with possible tanks.
  • Column L - Action.
  • Column P - Coordinate with Echo.
  • Column Q - Report by type (light/heavy wheeled and tracked), number of vehicles, location, speed, and direction of movement.

The S2 told the attached GSR team to monitor NAI 4 from 1800 to 2000, They should expect to see BRDM or BMP vehicles (possibly reinforced with tanks) up to platoon size (3 vehicles). He also told the GSR team they must coordinate with A Company, and should report targets by type (light, heavy wheeled; light, heavy tracked) and number of vehicles, location, speed, and direction of movement.

Figure A-7 is a similar collection plan format. The horizontal lines are identified by number and the vertical columns are identified by letter. Use this system to modify one specific element of the matrix. For example:

  • Line 3C - 8.
  • Line 3D - All 434160.
  • Line 3E - Refer to 7E.

In this example, the S2 told TF 1-10 to establish an observation post overlooking a particular NAI. The observation post is to observe a templated alternate position for a motorized rifle company at NAI 8.

These are just two examples of techniques the S2 can use to quickly re-task deployed R&S assets. There are many more techniques. The key is to establish a standard way to quickly and easily modify the collection plan based on the commander's changing needs.

"Non-Linear Battlefield" Collection Plan Worksheets

It often occurs that the availability of collection systems is far outweighed by the number of the command's intelligence requirements. A useful technique in such circumstances is to carefully prioritize each indicator and SIR in addition to the PIR and IR they support. The "non-linear" collection plan format especially lends itself to these techniques.

Figure A-8 shows one format, an "indicator worksheet" which aids in determining the relative priority of indicators. After identifying the complete set of indicators which will satisfy the command's PIR and IR, enter each indicator onto the indicator worksheet.

  • The far left column is the indicator number (IND NO). This number is used for reference only and does not indicate priority.
  • The next column is INDICATOR. Write in a short description of each indicator.
  • The third column records the PIR and IR that each indicator supports. Note that one indicator often supports more than one intelligence requirement. In this example, the collection manager is using numbers to identify each PIR and letters to identify each IR. Here, indicator 1 supports PIR 1 and 5 and IR A, B, and C.
  • The fourth column is the INDICATOR PRIORITY. Evaluate each indicator to determine its relative priority. Base this on the priority of the PIR or IR each supports as well as the amount of PIR or IR it supports.

In the example at Figure A-8:

  • Indicator 1 answers PIR 1 and 5 and IR A, B, and C.
  • Indicator 2 answers PIR 1, 2, and 5 and IR B and C.
  • Indicator 3 answers PIR 1, 2, and IR A, B, D, and E.
  • After evaluating the relative value of each indicator, indicator 1 is rated as the 17th priority, 2 as second, and 3 as third priority.

Figure A-9 shows another technique for prioritizing indicators that is especially useful when there is a large number of them. This format is commonly referred to as a "prioritization matrix. " Its distinguishing feature is the use of ''weighted values" for each PIR and IR.

Use judgment to assign a weighted value to each PIR or IR. You can set the value of each PIR and IR by counting the number of PIR and IR and then giving the highest PIR the highest number Each successive PIR and IR would get a progressively lower priority (as in the example in Figure A-9). Alternatively, you can place a greater weighting on individual PIR and IR to more accurately reflect its relative importance.

  • Enter numbers or letters (or a combination technique as used above) which refer to your PIR and IR down the left column, Indicate the weighted value of each PIR and IR in brackets next to the reference number or letter.
  • Enter the reference number of each indicator across the top, then, using a matrix technique, indicate which PIR and IR each indicator satisfies by marking the appropriate box.
  • Using the weighted value allocated to each PIR and IR, add the total value of each indicator, This will give an overall weighting for each indicator. The indicators with the highest weighted values have the highest priority.

Those with lower weighted values have lower priorities. In cases where two or more indicators have the same weighted value, discriminate which has the highest priority based on the command's needs.

Both of the above techniques for prioritizing indicators are useful when using a "non-linear battlefield" collection plan worksheet format. An example of a completed collection plan using the "non-linear battlefield" collection plan format is at Figure A-10.

  • The far left column of the format is the SIR number. It is used as a reference point. Each line is labeled numerically to quickly orientate personnel to the SIR on the worksheet.
  • The next column is TIME. List the start and stop times that the corresponding indicator should confirm or deny a particular SIR. These SIRs may be extremely time sensitive, such as reporting a threat force leaving its post to reinforce a target. The indicator may remain in effect throughout the entire operation, such as the local populace avoiding a specified area.
  • The third column is NAI. NAI can be shown vertically or horizontally on the chart. The NAI listed in the vertical NAI column indicates where the SIR should be observed. An NAI may pertain to one or more SIRs or vice versa. List the NAIs that each particular source is responsible for in the horizontal NAI column. A CI team may be responsible for only one NAI while an IMINT source may cover several NAIs.
  • The fourth column is SIR description. In this column the CM&D section lists the SIRS they believe will confirm or deny particular indicators and which help to answer one or more PIR and IR. It is common to develop several SIR from one indicator or for each SIR to provide information on several indicators and PIR and IR.
  • The next column is PIR and IR. Record the PIR number and IR letter that can be answered by the SIR in this column.
  • The next column is SIR PRIORITY. In this column each SIR is prioritized; using one of the two techniques discussed above or one of your own devising.
  • The next column is the AGENCIES AND AGENCY COLLECTION PRIORITY. Listed across the top of this section are all organic and supporting collection agencies. In the blocks immediately below the agency's name, its assigned NAIs are listed.
  • If the collection manager determines that a particular agency is capable of satisfying a particular SIR, he places a check in the small square located in the lower left corner of the appropriate block.
  • Next he determines which agency or asset, out of all that were marked capable for that SIR, can best answer the SIR. He places a number reflecting this relative capability in the small square located in the lower right corner of the block.

Using Figure A-10 as an example:

  • The CM&D section determines that the CI team, Civil Affairs (CA) unit, and host nation (HN) law enforcement agencies (LEA) are capable of answering SIR 4 - Report sighting of groups of strangers in and around the area.
  • The CMO places a check in the square located in the lower left corner of the block that corresponds to that particular SIR and each of the three capable agencies. After further consideration, he determines that HN LEA can best answer the SIR, followed by the CA unit, then the CI team. He then puts 1 in the square located in the lower right corner of the block that corresponds to SIR 4 and the HN LEA; 2 in the CA unit's block, and 3 in the CI team's block.

In the final step, the collection manager determines the relative priority of each of the SIR with which each agency is tasked.

Again, using Figure A-10 as an example:

  • The support operations team-Alpha (SOT-A)(1) is tasked with SIR numbers 1, 6, and 28. SIR 1 has a SIR priority of 20; SIR 6 has a priority of 10; and SIR 28 has a priority of 3. This means the collection manager officer must provide the SOT-A (1) with a prioritized tasking list as follows:

    1. Report any radio traffic or EW activity (SIR 28).

    2. Report the number, size, equipment, composition, route, and time of suspected insurgents in the area (SIR 6).

    3. Report location, quantity, and type of unexplained firings in the area (SIR 1).


There is no prescribed doctrinal format for the collection plan or its worksheets. Use whatever format is best suited to the needs of your command. Those shown above are only examples that can be adapted, as needed, or completely replaced with one of your own design.

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