UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


FM 34-36: Special Operations Forces Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations



This chapter describes the ARSOF IEW organization and C2, ADP links and support, and the collection management process.


SOF organizations are based on generic group or regimental and battalion structures. These structures are modified to meet specific environmental and operational considerations which may be unique to specific theaters where they are employed.

There are five theater SOF commands:

  • Special Operations Command, Europe (SOCEUR).

  • Special Operations Command, Pacific (SOCPAC).

  • Special Operations Command, Atlantic(SOCLANT).

  • Special Operations Command, Central (SOCCENT).

  • Special Operations Command, Southern (SOCSOUTH).

These SOF commands are subunified commands whose missions are to conduct special operations when authorized by each unit's combatant command. Theater Army Special Operations Support Commands (TASOSCs) and the active and Army reserve PSYOP groups and CA elements are also task organized in the same way. The ranger regiment can be committed to a specific theater CINC or held under national control, depending on the situation. Figure 3-1 shows the combatant command (COCOM) structure.


The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is the unified COCOM for special operations. All CONUS-based SOF are assigned by the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to the CINC, USSOCOM. Figure 3-2 shows the command relationships. The CINC exercises COCOM of assigned forces through a combination of service and joint component commanders.

USSOCOM and most of the theaters it supports have command arrangement agreements (CAA) which authorize direct liaison authority (DIRLAUTH) between US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) operational elements and the supported theater's Special Operations Command (SOC). These direct channels support ARSOF intelligence tasking and reporting requirements. That is why these DIRLAUTH arrangements are extended to the major subordinate units (MSUs) and the organizations that will exercise OPCON over them in contingencies and wartime. This ensures these elements get timely and accurate intelligence throughout the mission or operation.

The J2 USSOCOM establishes the policy, guidance, and overall direction of SOF intelligence operations. The policy, guidance, and overall direction of ARSOF intelligence operations in peacetime is executed by the USASOC DCSINT.


The SOC (J2), as the theater SOF intelligence mission tasker--

  • Develops in-theater IEW policy, planning, and coordination.

  • Ensures there is enough intelligence support requested for each mission tasked by the special operations commander.

  • Coordinates with theater service IEW organizations to collect, produce, and disseminate intelligence to meet SOF requirements.

  • Tasks collection and production assets to satisfy SOF intelligence requirements.

  • Coordinates joint special operations intelligence collection operations and the production and dissemination of TIPs to support SO targeting. (See FM 31-20, Chapter 1; and FM 100-25, Chapter 6.)

  • Coordinates with the SOC Communications-Electronics Directorate (J6) to ensure the availability of secure sensitive compartmented information (SCI) voice and data communications between SOC headquarters, SOC component commands, and the TASOSC.

  • Maintains direct liaison with operational and strategic level intelligence agencies.

  • Maintains direct liaison with combined and allied SOF intelligence staffs.

  • Develops IEW policies, plans, and programs for SOF.

  • Maintains maps and terrain and imagery products for immediate contingency use by the SOC headquarters.


USASOC is the major Army command (MACOM) for special operations. Its major subordinate commands (MSCs) are--

  • US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (USAJFKSWC).

  • US Army Special Forces Command (USASFC).

  • US Army Civil Affairs and PSYOP Command (USACAPOC).

  • 75th Ranger Regiment.

  • 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment.


  • Directs the intelligence, CI, and security support to all CONUS-based Active Component (AC) and Reserve Components (RC) ARSOF.

  • Advises the commander on all intelligence training matters. This includes current policy, doctrine, and concepts.

  • Develops and implements policy and guidance used to evaluate and monitor the readiness status of the AC and RC intelligence units.

  • Coordinates directly with USSOCOM and the Theater Army to ensure continuity and compatibility of theater SOF intelligence requirements.

  • Manages readiness training (REDTRAIN) and live environment training opportunities and programs for ARSOF personnel.

  • Is the SIGINT mission activities manager for all AC and RC SOF.

  • Serves as the functional interface between ARSOF and MI to resolve doctrinal, training equipment, and personnel issues.


The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ODCSINT), as shown in Figure 3-3, is discussed below.

Plans, Policy, and Programs Division

The Plans, Policy, and Programs Division--

  • Prepares long-range intelligence plans like medium- and long-range threat assessments and crisis impact analyses.

  • Identifies trends and issues in the intelligence field which may affect the SOF community.

  • Reviews, analyzes, recommends, and manages the ODCSINT segment of the USASOC goals and objectives.

  • Identifies intelligence production requirements (IPRs) in support of SOF.

  • Provides policy and guidance, higher and lower, for the production of intelligence studies in support of SOF.

  • Develops interoperability guidance for MACOM and MSC intelligence entities.

  • Establishes intelligence requirements for the commanding general and staff and develops the format, content, focus, and timing of periodic output by the MSC to meet these requirements.

  • Provides policy oversight of all intelligence programs.

  • Develops ODCSINT operating policies and SOP in accordance with guidance from the ODCSINT.

  • Manages the ODCSINT budget.

  • Compiles and maintains ODCSINT history; establishes suspense dates and registers requirements with the Requirements Management Division for tasking and tracking.

  • Maintains continuing liaison with policy makers at USSOCOM and Department of the Army.

  • Administers the Strategic Industrial Targeting Analysis Program.

  • Produces quarterly progress reports on ODCSINT goals and objectives.

IEW Support Division

The IEW Support Division--

  • Is the focal point for all incoming intelligence architecture taskings and actions.

  • Develops IEW equipment requirements.

  • Interfaces with the USAJFKSWC, USASOC, and US Army Intelligence Center on doctrinal, training, and other combat development matters as required.

  • Coordinates to acquire nondevelopmental items (off-the-shelf equipment) in conjunction with USASOC Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (DCSOPS).

  • Is the intelligence focal point for USSPACECOM actions.

  • Is the command focal point for the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program.

  • Coordinates and controls the DCSINT automation program.

  • Is the staff proponent for all intelligence training matters.

  • Represents USASOC to INSCOM, HQDA, and other agencies and commands to identify intelligence training requirements and training opportunities that support USASOC goals and its IEW personnel.

  • Directs the command's tactical intelligence REDTRAIN program.

  • Establishes an ARSOF Military Intelligence Specialty Training Element (MISTE) program and becomes the focal point for MISTE after the program is initiated.

  • Is the focal point for all USASOC M&CG activities.

  • Represents the DCSINT on intelligence matters related to the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) and the National Training Center (NTC).

  • Reviews doctrinal publications.

  • Manages the command's intelligence readiness reporting programs.

Requirements Management Division

The Requirements Management Division--

  • Serves as the ODCSINT focal point for all requirements levied by internal or external sources.

  • Publishes and develops intelligence requirements management guidance and policy.

  • Validates and processes statements of intelligence interests (SIIs) and requirements for recurring publications of subordinate units submitted through the MSCs.

  • Identifies CONUS-based ARSOF intelligence requirements and forwards them to USSOCOM or the appropriate national agency for incorporation into the national intelligence requirements collection apparatus.

  • Establishes an all-source intelligence ADP facility to support MACOM, MSC, and MSU automated intelligence information requirements in support of missions.

  • Validates and processes MSC and MSU requests for intelligence information.

  • Serves as the DCSINT focal point for all imagery-related matters and activities.

  • Performs SIGINT operational management in accordance with existing regulations.

  • Publishes, develops, and periodically updates the command's SIGINT architecture concept of operations.

  • Conducts SIGINT directives management in accordance with existing policies and guidelines.

  • Registers, validates, prioritizes, and processes all HUMINT requirements for integration into the all-source production effort of ODCSINT, USASOC.

  • Coordinates and participates in National Security Agency (NSA) field assistance visits to all MSUs through MSCs.

  • Coordinates with the theater J2 and applicable national level organizations and agencies for theater and national level SIGINT support.

  • Performs SIGINT operational coordination for requesting, validating, processing, maintaining, and prioritizing command SIGINT requirements for exercise, contingency, and real-world military operations.

  • Validates, maintains, and performs SIGINT authority tasks.

  • Provides technical support to the Fort Bragg imagery readiness facility.

  • Develops and maintains SIGINT training material and COMINT technical support packages for all SOF-supported contingency plans (CONPLANs) and OPLANs.

  • Plans and supervises all EW activities for the command and establishes priority targets for all EW operations.

  • Serves as the DCSINT focal point for the management and operation of the USASOC secondary imagery dissemination system.

  • Coordinates multispectral imagery requirements for USASOC.

  • Monitors and maintains the USASOC imagery reconnaissance objectives list (IROL).

  • Directs the overt collection programs. (See TC 34-5, Chapter 3.)

Security Division

The Security Division--

  • Directs the information security program. To do this, it--

      --Advises and represents commanders on information security matters.

      -- Takes action on reports of possible compromise and security violations within the command.

      --Develops policy and procedures to protect classified information within USASOC.

  • Directs CI activities. To do this, it--

      -- Develops policy, implements directives, and oversees the CI effort within ARSOF.

      -- Provides support to counter-HUMINT opera-tions, oversight of intelligence activities, CI and security support of DCSOPS special category (SPECAT).

      -- Recommends deception measures to support DCSOPS plans and operations.

      -- Provides CI and security support to the DCSOPS OPSEC program and to MACOM participation.

      -- Administers badge and access systems at the MACOM to physically secure restricted areas.

  • Directs--

      -- Foreign disclosure activities.

      -- The command's special access programs (SAPS).

      -- MDCI threat and combatting terrorism analysis.

      -- Personnel security program.

      -- Foreign visitor accreditation.

      -- Automation security program.

      -- Compromising emanations (TEMPEST) control program.

      -- CI and information security for the COMSEC program.

      -- Security education program.

  • Administers the intelligence property book account.

  • Administers the intelligence contingency fund account.

  • Manages the TOP SECRET billet control system.

Special Security Office

The Special Security Office--

  • Manages the established SSO support for USASOC.

  • Manages the SCI billet program for subordinate reserve and national guard units.

  • Ensures SCI is properly controlled, transmitted, destroyed, packaged, and protected.

  • Ensures hard copy SCI products are sent via defense courier service.

  • Administers the SCI billet program.

  • Disseminates SCI to persons who are authorized access.

  • Conducts--

      -- TEMPEST ADP security actions.

      -- All physical security actions for the sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).

      -- SCI security awareness programs for all SCI indoctrinated personnel.

      -- Required interface with SCI telecommunication center and ADP facilities to ensure SCI security and proper dissemination.

  • Provides privacy communications system (PCOMS) support for the command group.

  • Investigates SCI security infractions.

  • Maintains listings of available SCI hard copy products and ensures prompt dissemination to all authorized personnel.

  • Processes SCI incoming and outgoing visitor clearance certifications.

  • Tailors SSO support to the changing needs of the command.

  • Establishes temporary SCIFs as necessary.

  • Performs tier-duty-hour inspections of the SCIF.


The theater army DCSINT and the supporting EACIC are the theater's primary sources of intelligence products for ground OB. The DCSINT controls most theater army IEW collectors. He may request topographic support from the theater engineer command which controls theater topographic assets. The DCSINT also controls theater army intelligence training assets.

The EACIC directly links with all other theater and strategic level intelligence production agencies. Since most ARSOF operations are ground-based, the EACIC is the single most important intelligence production management center available to the TASOSC.

The TASOSC is a subordinate functional command of the theater army. The TASOSC mission is to plan and coordinate support and sustain theater ARSOF conducting SO. The TASOSC SIO ISE assists the theater SOF by providing all-source IEW support. The TASOSC commander collocates an ISE near either the unified command's joint intelligence center (JIC) or the theater army EACIC. The TASOSC ISE plans and coordinate ARSOF intelligence and security support requirements with the theater SOC J2, theater army DCSINT, and supporting theater and theater army organizations.

Under the staff supervision and control of the TASOSC Director of Intelligence (DOI) and based on SOC J2 guidance, the TASOSC ISE chief validates, consolidates, and prioritizes ARSOF standing and routine intelligence requirements and other RIIs. The ISE satisfies the RIIs or forwards them to either the EACIC or SOC J2, depending on theater requirements. Then the TASOSC ISE monitors RII status until the appropriate tactical, operational, or strategic level collection asset responds. It also supports the targeting process by producing TIPs. Figure 3-4 shows the doctrinal flow of ARSOF RII when in the theater.

The TASOSC ISE maintains an automated NRT intelligence data base to support ARSOF requirements. It relies on existing theater SCI communications channel to pass information to the supported in-theater SOF unit.

The TASOSC ISE has up to three intelligence support teams (ISTs). These ISTs collocate with supported major operational headquarters. Examples of major operational headquarters are subunified commands, joint task forces (JTFs), and NATO MSCs. Operating from the supported headquarters' SCIF, the IST helps expedite the flow of intelligence data to and from the supported headquarters.

The TASOSC ISE chief task-organizes his element to provide theater ARSOF with--

  • Intelligence CM&D support. The TASOSC ISE CM&D team processes and tracks ARSOF RIIs. The team disseminates ARSOF intelligence reports to the EACIC. Then it forwards required intelligence products to the supported ARSOF and reviews EACIC intelligence products to see if they can be used by ARSOF.

  • SO target development support. The ISE target development team develops and produces all-source TIPs and other target intelligence data. This data is used to support the SO targeting process. (See Chapter 9 for information about the SOF targeting process.)

  • Technical control and analysis element (TCAE) interface. The TASOSC ISE TCAE provides connectivity between the theater TCAE and ARSOF units that have EW and SIGINT capabilities.

  • Intelligence liaison. The TASOSC ISE places ISTs at the all-source intelligence centers (ASICs) supporting major operational headquarters; for example, subunified commands, JTFs, and NATO MSCs. This speeds the flow of combat information and intelligence between conventional forces and SOF. The TASOSC ISE and IST use established theater SCI channels to communicate with one another.

SFGs and battalions have organic intelligence staffs and MI detachments which provide DS to SF units. The PSYOP groups and battalions have small organic intelligence staffs. Other intelligence assets within PSYOP units include interrogation specialists on the interrogation and debriefing teams in the battalion's support company, and the test and evaluation teams in the battalion's headquarters company.

There is also a small tactical intelligence and interrogation section in the product development center (PDC) of each PSYOP tactical company. CA units have an organic intelligence staff but have no other organic intelligence resources. The SOA regiment and the rangers have regimental and battalion S2 staffs but have no other organic MI support.

The ARSOF unit SIO--

  • Identifies and prioritizes unit intelligence requirements.

  • Tasks unit collection and analysis assets.

Deployed ARSOF SIOs identify requirements that cannot be satisfied at unit level and forward them to the TASOSC ISE. While in CONUS, ARSOF SIOs forward these same requirements to USASOC.


The G2, US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) organization, as shown in Figure 3-5, is discussed below.

CI/Security Division

The CI/Security Division--

  • Performs foreign visitor accreditation and disclosure functions.

  • Develops CI threat to support terrorism counteractions.

  • Performs as information systems security manager for the command.

  • Performs all SSO functions for the command.

  • Maintains the personnel security program for the command.

  • Maintains the information security program for the command.

IEW Division

The IEW Division--

  • Maintains the REDTRAIN program for the command.

  • Identifies intelligence training requirements and training opportunities for the command.

  • Programs and reviews the intelligence readiness posture for the command.

  • Assists in developing the IEW force structure for the command.

  • Develops training in conjunction with the G3.

  • Performs mapping, charting, and geodesy requirements for the command.

  • Serves as the focal point for the EW training program.


The ACofS, G2 organization, as shown in Figure 3-6, is discussed below.

Special Security Office

This is a one-soldier section. It provides doctrinal SSO support for the headquarters and coordinates closely with USASOC SSO.

IEW Training Division

The IEW Training Division--

  • Serves as the focal point for intelligence architecture issues.

  • Manages the command REDTRAIN program.

  • Serves as the focal point for intelligence training for MSUs.

  • Plans and conducts the Intelligence Certification Program.

  • Reviews all intelligence doctrinal publications.

Security Countermeasures Division

The Security Countermeasures Division--

  • Directs the information, personnel, and automation security programs for USASFC.

  • Serves as the focal point for all CI issues for the command.

  • Provides oversight for SAP management.

  • Administers intelligence contingency funds.

  • Administers the badge and access program for the command.

  • Recommends programs and operations to support the command OPSEC program.

All-Source Intelligence Center

The ASIC--

  • Serves as the focal point for all intelligence requests for USASFC and MSUs.

  • Prepares mid- and short-term intelligence estimates on critical regional developments in support of current or planned USASFC or MSU operations.

  • Monitors, analyzes, and maintains data base files on current, all-source message traffic, multiple source and national level intelligence documents, and contingency support packages.

  • Prepares a weekly, all-source commander's intelligence briefing folder (Black Book) and collateral intelligence update for the headquarters staff.

  • Coordinates with MSUs to ensure current collection plans and PIR are on hand.

  • Manages the SF intelligence collection management system for the command and MSUs.

  • Coordinates with the MACOM to integrate higher priority RII into the USASFC collection and production plan.

  • Conducts analyst-to-analyst coordination when it is necessary to ensure adequate coverage of areas identified as areas of command interest.

  • Serves as a focal point for all IMINT and SIGINT activities for USASFC and MSUs.

Operations Division

The Operations Division--

  • Serves as the focal point for integrating new intelligence systems into SF.

  • Plans for and provides intelligence support to MSU exercises.

  • Develops interoperability guidance for the intelligence activities of the command and its MSUs.

  • Provides intelligence oversight for the command.


The Defense Communications System (DCS) and theater communications systems link EAC intelligence agencies with their supporting, supported, and adjacent commands. Many of these links are through ADP systems. For example, USASOC interfaces with USSOCOM and national or DOD production centers via these ADP systems. These ADP systems support all I&W tasks.

Depending upon system configuration, national and theater level ADP systems can provide--

  • NRT intelligence to users as requested.

  • Data supporting the deliberate planning process, contingency planning and training requirements.

  • Global access to secondary imagery.

  • Analyst-to-analyst communications.

  • Graphics or fused intelligence plotting.

  • Remote data base access.

  • Automated mission planning or rehearsal.

  • Automated intelligence message handling.

  • Electronic mail.

  • Automated collection and requirements management.

The timeliness, quality, and quantity of intelligence and combat information supporting SOF missions vary in proportion to--

  • The collection assets available.

  • The assigned collection priorities.

  • The analytical resources dedicated to the support of SOF requirements.

  • The availability and interoperability of supporting communications.


Collection requirements are always met by the lowest possible echelon so the requestor receives the information or intelligence as soon as possible.

The theater SOC J2 functions as the SOF collection management authority within the theater. He communicates directly with supported theater elements and with the national level agencies of other nations, as well as with our own national level agencies and organizations. Intelligence sections of MSUs in the theater act as requirements managers. They forward combat information and intelligence to the theater SOC J2 and to the requesting unit. This data is used to satisfy the supported commander's collection requirements (see Figure 3-4).

Liaison elements from the national level intelligence agencies (CIA, NSA, DIA, and other agencies) can be deployed into a theater area of responsibility. These are known as liaison national elements (LNE). They deploy with dedicated communications and provide real-time interface between these agencies and their parent agencies.

LNE provide limited in-theater analysis of national platforms and systems down-links in support of theater requirements. Normally, these LNEs are available only during contingency operations or for major exercises. When they deploy, they are collocated with the supported theater headquarters. In wartime, requirements to national and theater assets are requested or levied at the Unified Command level.

The J2 passes time-sensitive requirements for national level assets to the theater J2. The J2 also gives an information copy of the requirement to the EACIC in-theater. This way, if the EACIC already has the information or intelligence, it can cancel the original request and fulfill the requirement itself.

The theater J2 attempts to satisfy the RII with the data base by passing production requests to other service theater collection assets. If the request still cannot be satisfied at the theater level, it is passed to the appropriate national intelligence agency where a collection requirement is levied on assets available at that level.

All ARSOF SIOs are responsible for meeting their commander's intelligence and combat information requirements. Often, they cannot do this using organic resources; they need access to national and theater level resources. SIOs validate all subordinate unit SIIs requirements for collateral and compartmented recurring documents, one-time document requests, RIIs, and intelligence production requirements (IPRs).

During peacetime, if the S2 determines that organic resources cannot satisfy a request, intelligence support relating to OPLANs or CONPLANs are validated and prioritized by the SOF component S2. The S2 passes these requirements to the appropriate SOC J2 with an information copy to the appropriate MSC (for example, USASFC and TASOSC). The SOC J2 confirms and validates the request and forwards it to the JIC if the request cannot be satisfied by the SOC J2 data base.

Non-OPLAN related requirements are sent by the ARSOF S2 to the appropriate MSC (for example, USASFC) with an information copy of the request to USASOC DCSINT. Requests that the MSC cannot satisfy are validated and sent to USASOC DCSINT with an information copy to USSOCOM. USASOC attempts to fulfill the request; however, if it cannot, it is validated to USSOCOM with an information copy provided to DIA.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list