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



This chapter discusses IEW support to SF operations. It describes the organization and missions of SF and the intelligence units that support SF. It describes the role of the MI Group S2, the MI Battalion S2, and the MI Detachment S2. Finally, it describes the organic and nonorganic IEW support the Army provides to SF. (See FM 100-25, Chapter 13.)


The Special Forces Group (Airborne) (SFG(A)) is a unique combat arms organization. It is capable of planning, conducting, and supporting SO in all operational environments and across the operational continuum. SF is an unconventional combat arm. It combines at the lowest tactical level the functions performed by several conventional branches of the Army. In effect, it is a combined arms branch. SF commanders must integrate and synchronize their organic capabilities with those of other SOF and theater assets.

As a component of ARSOF, SF plans, conducts, and supports the full range of SF activities in all operational environments in peace, conflict, and war. Each SFG is assigned an AO, depending on OPLAN requirements. SFGs also conduct DA, SR, CT, UW, and FID missions and collateral activities, as required and within their capabilities.

All military forces stand ready to perform missions for which they are not specifically organized, trained, or equipped. (See FM 31-20, Chapter 3, for more information about the SOF missions and collateral activities.) These collateral or secondary missions include--

  • Humanitarian assistance.

  • Security assistance.

  • Search and rescue.

  • Counter-drugs.

  • Antiterrorism.

  • Other security and special activities.

These wide-ranging missions, which are discussed below, require accurate, detailed, and timely intelligence that can be obtained only by a multidisciplined collection and analysis intelligence organization.


SF conducts DA missions to achieve various goals. The goals include--

  • Degrading the enemy's C2 and destroying his critical assets.

  • Developing desired psychological effects.

  • Preempting enemy operations.

DA missions require, at a minimum, detailed knowledge of the target site, infiltration and exfiltration routes, and OB of any threat counter-responsive forces. Facts about the target must be more detailed than required for conventional targeting.

DA missions are often launched against targets deep within enemy-controlled territory, far beyond the sensing capabilities of tactical collection systems. Each target requires construction of its own mission planning folder containing detailed target specific data and in-depth area studies of the AI.

A complete picture of the situation is developed after a multidisciplined analysis of all categories of intelligence is completed and provided to the SF in response to their PIR.

Each mission is an individual effort requiring--

  • Development and maintenance of a data base.

  • Continuous monitoring of pertinent crisis situations and other specific geographical AIs.

  • Accessibility to and coordination with national, strategic, and operational level collection systems.

  • Multidisciplined analysis of all information in support of the mission.


SR missions require capabilities that exceed the operational capabilities of tactical collection systems in order to obtain information not available through other means. These operations generally have the same requirements for detailed intelligence information as DA missions. However, these missions are designed to satisfy intelligence gaps or to confirm information in the intelligence base.

Operations on the ground could detect indicators that help to develop the needed intelligence. Forces conducting these missions must understand the intelligence needs that the missions are designed to fill. Planning for these missions must be accomplished jointly by the SF unit and the intelligence agency requesting the mission.


CT missions involve offensive measures against terrorists. They include preemptive, concurrent, and punitive actions. This category of SF mission is not generic to all SF units. SF participation in CT is limited to those specially organized, trained, and equipped SF units designated in theater CONPLANs.

Because terrorist organizations maintain a very low profile, it is extremely difficult to identify targets for these missions. The IEW system supports these missions by providing accurate, detailed, and responsive intelligence.

Intelligence must identify terrorist personalities and locations, organizational composition, and logistical support systems; and describe their weapons, equipment, training and tactics as well as pertinent information about any hostages. Close coordination between mission planners and various national and military intelligence agencies is required to collate, analyze, and immediately provide the SF unit performing the CT mission with the information it requires.


UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations against an established government or occupying power. They are normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source.

UW includes guerrilla warfare (GW) and other direct offensive, low-visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence collection, and evasion and escape (E&E). UW normally involves inserting SF elements into areas controlled by hostile forces. These elements need outside support.

Intelligence gathering during UW comes from various sources including those developed within the AO. SF elements make effective contact with partisans and guide them in operations that support US national objectives. They conduct extensive preemployment preparation. They need detailed intelligence about their geographical AO. (Refer to Appendix C for details of the information requirements.) This intelligence includes, among other things--

  • Knowing and being able to recognize the languages spoken in the area.

  • Economics.

  • Politics.

  • Climate.

  • Geography.

  • Sociology.

  • Ethnic groups.

  • Religious groups.

  • Key personalities.

SF elements need detailed information and all-source intelligence on targets and target systems in the area; the situation within and between partisan groups; and virtually all other pertinent information that can be gathered. They also require the aid of indigenous support personnel prior to insertion to help them survive and make contact with the partisan movement.

SF teams conduct LLSO to provide security and meet intelligence requirements within the UW operational area.

The local intelligence nets must be organized and resourced to provide the best possible security for UW forces and to meet the intelligence requirements of the supported commander.

SF operational elements must receive multidisciplined intelligence tailored to their specific mission. This intelligence must be all-source, processed, and be presented in a usable format for planning and operational employment of assets. SOF uses national and theater intelligence means to identify potential in-country sources. This allows SF elements to successfully accomplish their missions.

Because UW operations are diverse, they need a wide range of support. This includes everything from basic support to a very sophisticated system using ADP and intelligence specialties. All-source intelligence is essential regardless of the mission.


In FID missions, SF and other ARSOF support the host-nation government. These missions include civic, psychological, and military operations.

US personnel must know the host nation's population, psychology, religions, customs, and moral attitudes to perform FID missions. They should also know sources of friction and irritation within the host country that could impact on the acceptability and success of the government.

Successful FID missions require using the IPB process to develop the following intelligence products:

  • The supported host country's defense and security establishment's OB.

  • Details on foreign intelligence organizations active within the host country.

  • OB on insurgent groups with the potential to overthrow the host-nation government.

  • Country studies about the host nation, its people, and its infrastructure.

  • Key personalities.


Organic IEW support is essential to successful infiltration, exfiltration, survival, and mission execution of operational units in various hostile environments. The SF commander requires organic IEW support with commensurate analysis, collection management, security, weather, and communications capabilities tailored to supported regional command requirements across the operational continuum.

Intelligence assets organic to SF are organized according to operational and analytical needs. IEW assets are located at the group, battalion, company, and operational detachment-A (ODA) levels. Each intelligence asset has its own missions, functions, and limitations.

The SF detachment intelligence staffs and MI detachments are the key components of the organic IEW team. The SF staff plans, organizes, directs, coordinates, and controls while the MI detachment commander executes the directives. The SF MI detachment is led by the detachment commander who gives the team leadership, motivation, focused perspective, and direction.


The group S2 is the principal staff officer for all intelligence and security matters. Based on the commander's requirements, he develops intelligence collection missions and tasks subordinate elements, including organic and supporting MI units.

A group S2 section generally consists of an S2, assistant S2, SSO, SF technician, senior NCO, and additional NCOs for operations, intelligence, C-SIGINT, imagery analysis, and intelligence analysis.

The group S2--

  • Directs the group collection effort, tasking appropriate organic and attached assets and forwarding RIIs to higher headquarters.

  • Supervises the group information, ADP, and personnel security programs.

  • Advises the commander in the employment of SF unit intelligence assets.

  • Provides intelligence support to OPSEC, EW operations, and deception planning.

  • Exercises staff supervision over the unit's MI detachment.

  • Coordinates CI activities in support of operational requirements.

  • Coordinates and manages the group intelligence training program.

  • Exercises staff supervision over the special staff functions of the USAF SO weather team when a weather team is attached.

  • Identifies, validates, and coordinates priorities for unit geographic area requirements for MC&G products to support OPLANs and CONPLANs, and monitors and validates map requisitions.

  • Requests topographic support through command channels for specific AIs. This support may include tailored terrain products, terrain studies, and over-printed MC&G products and services.

  • Provides integrated all-source intelligence collection management, analysis, production, and dissemination in support of group level situation and target development. This includes DS to the ODAs.

  • Establishes and operates a tactical or field SCIF in the SFOB OPCEN.

  • Provides SCI communications between the SFOB and the deployed forward operations bases (FOBS).


The group MI detachment provides integrated all-source intelligence collection management, analysis, production, and dissemination in support of group level situation and target development. These functions correspond to, but are much broader than, those performed by the tactical operations center (TOC) support element of a conventional MI unit.

The detachment establishes and operates a tactical SCIF in the SFOB OPCEN and provides SCI communications between the SFOB and the deployed FOBs. It provides interrogation and CI support.

The detachment commander may work for the deputy group commander under the staff supervision of the group S2. When the detachment is formally detached from the support company, the detachment commander exercises normal company level command, but the detachment remains dependent on the support company for administrative and logistical support. Figure 4-1 shows this structure.


The battalion S2 is the battalion's principal staff officer for all matters pertaining to intelligence and CI. The duties are similar to those of the group S2. He provides special security representative (SSR) support to the battalion. The SSR functions are under the technical control of the supporting SSO. The supporting SSO will be the group SSO only when the two headquarters are collocated.

The SF battalion S2 section generally consists of the S2, a senior intelligence NCO, an intelligence analyst sergeant, and a junior intelligence NCO.


The battalion MI detachment mission and organization are similar to the group MI detachment. Figure 4-2 shows this structure. Six exceptions are listed below. The MI battalion detachment--

  • Is limited in its organic capability to perform--

      -- Intelligence collection management.

      -- All-source intelligence analysis.

      -- Production for the SF battalion and its attached elements.

  • Depends on the group intelligence data base and other technical assistance from the group MI detachment.

  • Has three organic support operations teams-A (SOT-A). They deploy with SF teams to provide SIGINT and EW support.

  • When authorized and directed, participates in active CI operations through the CI section.

  • Does not have any organic interrogation teams. This support is obtained from the SF group MI detachment or from other external agencies, as required.

  • Works for the battalion commander under the staff supervision of the battalion S2.


The SF group commander exercises C2 through a network of operational bases. These operational bases combine the functions of the CP and unit trains into a single entity. They are normally located at secure and logistically supportable sites in the communications zone (COMMZ). The SFOB is a command, control and support base established and operated by an SF group from organic and attached resources. FOBs are also command, control, and support bases but they are established by the SF battalion.

Each SF group and battalion commander normally organizes the SFOB or FOB into an OPCEN, a support center (SPTCEN), and a signal center (SIGCEN). All three centers have their own organization and functions but their activities are interdependent. Figure 4-3 shows this structure. (FM 31-20, Chapter 6, discusses the OPCEN, SPTCEN, and SIGCEN in detail.)

Organic IEW assets are normally located at the OPCEN. The OPCEN is the fictional activity that directs and controls SF operations in a designated operational area. It performs the functions of a conventional unit's TOC.

The OPCEN, as shown in Figure 4-4, has staff super-vision over a separate isolation facility (ISOFAC) with an area specialist team (AST); headquarters commandant; MI detachment; liaison section; consolidated plans section; and S2, S3, and S5 sections.

Based on approved plans and guidance from the base commander, the OPCEN director supervises all operational aspects of mission planning and execution. The OPCEN director synchronizes S2, S3, and S5 activities within the OPCEN.

The S2 section and the MI detachment are discussed below. FM 31-20, Chapter 6, discusses in detail the other sections located within the OPCEN.


Under the staff supervision of the unit S2, the OPCEN S2 section is the focal point for all-source intelligence production and collection management. This section consists of the S2 staff, elements of the group or battalion MI detachment, and the USAF weather team.

These personnel are then task organized into four elements which are organic to the S2 section: S2 operations branch, SSO, S2 security branch, and USAF weather team. In addition, elements from the MI detachment are OPCON to the S2 section. These personnel staff the ASPS, CM&D section, SSO communication section, TCAE, IA, and the terrain team.

S2 Operations Branch

The S2 operations branch directs and coordinates the daily operations of the S2 staff. It exercises staff supervision of the tactical SSO; the attached USAF weather team; and the MI detachment's ASPS, CM&D, TCAE, imagery analysts, and terrain team.

S2 Plans Section

The consolidated plans section maintains OPLANs for the entire OPCEN. The S2 representative to the consolidated section coordinates and plans intelligence support for future and contingency SF operations. It physically locates with the S3 plans branch or the consolidated plans section.

S2 Security Branch

The S2 security branch develops unit personnel, information, ADP, and physical security programs and supervises their implementation. Under its staff supervision, the MI detachment CI section provides CI support to the S3 OPSEC program and to deception planning.

USAF Weather Team

The USAF staff weather officer (SWO) serves as a special staff officer to the group commander on all weather matters. The team provides--

  • Current and forecast weather data.

  • Climatic analysis studies in support of all group missions.

  • Forward area limited observing program (FALOP) training and mission support information to ODAs in isolation.

When approved by the group commander, the SWO may attach weather team members to ODAs, operational detachments-B (ODBs), or SOT-A's to gather critic weather observations from denied territory and data sparse regions.


The MI detachment forms the ASPS in the OPCEN and provides collection management, all-source production, and S2 support to OPSEC and EW planning and mission management.

The MI detachment commander, as the principal intelligence producer and executor--

  • Provides, through the group S2, intelligence support to the commander.

  • Establishes and operates a tactical SCIF in the OPCEN. Within the SCIF, the unit SIO provides the SSO.

  • Responds to formal taskings from the operational base SIO.

  • Directs and controls the TCAE, the SSO communications team, and the interrogation and CI sections with guidance from the S2.

Proper IEW support depends on direct daily contact and informal tasking and coordination between the SIO staff elements and the various sections of the MI detachment.

All-Source Production Section

The ASPS performs IPB and consolidates information from all sources to meet the SF commander's needs. The ASPS--

  • Processes, correlates, and integrates all-source intelligence in response to taskings from the CM&D section.

  • Is the focal point for all situation and target development.

  • Develops and maintains the unit's intelligence data base, to include the intelligence journal, OB information, IPB products, targeting data, and the situation map.

  • Monitors the CM&D collection plan and recommends revisions to close identified gaps.

  • Receives and processes intelligence products and combat information from higher, lower, and adjacent commands.

  • Prepares intelligence estimates, reports, summaries, and briefs as required.

CM&D Section

The CM&D section formulates detailed collection requirements and tasks collectors for required information. The CM&D section--

  • Performs intelligence collection management for the SIO operations branch.

  • Obtains the commander's approved requirements from the unit SIO, prioritizes them based on SIO guidance, and translates them into collection missions.

  • Prepares the unit collection plan and forwards the unit's PIR to the TASOSC ISE and the SOC J2.

  • Tasks organic and attached MI collection assets.

  • Through the S3, requests intelligence collection mission tasking of SF teams or other subordinate non-MI assets.

  • Disseminates combat information and intelligence within the command and to higher, adjacent, and lower headquarters.

SSO Communications Section

The SSO communications section is located within the SCIF. It provides--

  • Secure communication to the SF commander.

  • Secure SCI communications between the SFOB and its deployed FOBs.

Higher headquarters provides SCI communications to the SOC J2 and TASOSC ISE.

Technical Control and Analysis Element

The group TCAE carries out the SIGINT and EW management functions. It--

  • Produces the SIGINT collection plan.

  • Is collocated with the ASIC in the SCIF.

  • Provides centralized technical control and collection tasking authority over deployed SOT-A's through the battalion TCAE (SOT-B).

  • Analyzes and correlates intercepted SIGINT traffic from the SOT-A's with data from other sources including TENCAP; and then passes these products to the ASPS and the TASOSC's ISE.

  • Develops and maintains the SIGINT technical data base and the EOB database.

  • Interfaces with theater and national intelligence systems to complete the integration of technical data generated by tactical units with the technical data produced by the National Security Agency (NSA).

  • Provides technical support (such as SIGINT technical data) to the battalion TCAEs as required.

  • Performs all functions of the SIGINT Collection Management Authority (CMA). The OIC performs these functions, which are detailed in a separate CMA directive. He also provides technical support to the battalion TCAE as required. (The battalion TCAE does essentially the same functions as the group TCAE.)

CONUS-based TCAEs interface directly with the Army TCAE during peacetime for all technical support requirements and USSID-required readiness reporting.

Imagery Analysts Section

Imagery analysts extract information and develop intelligence mainly from imagery collected from aerial TENCAP sensors. Within SF units, imagery analysts are assigned to the group and battalion MI detachments. A thorough knowledge of threat tactics and ground OB enables them to recognize, identify, locate, describe, and report information concerning objects, activities, and terrain on a variety of imagery products.

Imagery analysts make associations between visible objects and configurations and analyze the results to determine strength, disposition, and enemy capabilities. They--

  • Analyze imagery and report specific information on threat operations, activities, dispositions, logistics, communications, installations, and civilian activities and their possible effect on SF operations.

  • Prepare and maintain imagery prints to supplement and update maps for SF operational planning.

  • Brief and debrief air crews.

  • Extract information from imagery in DS of unit mission area analysis, target feasibility analysis, and ODA mission planning and target analysis.

  • Prepare battle damage assessments (BDAs).Prepare mosaics and terrain models to support operational planning.

  • Accomplish imagery exploitation, reporting, and production in DS of SFOB and FOB requirements from a joint or theater army imagery exploitation activity.

  • Prepare and maintain a decompartmented TENCAP imagery data base for the unit's mission area.

  • Provide technical assistance to the unit CM&D section, as required.

Battalion SOT-A

Both the battalion and group MI detachments provide support to the SOT-A. In turn, the SOT-A provides organic SIGINT and EW capabilities to the SF group. The SF group commander exercises technical control of SIGINT and EW operations through the group TCAE.

The group TCAE translates each SOT-A mission tasking into a technical tasking and forwards the tasking and IPB products and technical data to support mission areas analysis to the appropriate battalion TCAE. Then the battalion TCAE tasks the SOT-A to execute the mission. If no deployed SOT-A is capable of collecting the information, the battalion S3 commits and deploys another team to meet mission requirements.

SOT-A's are normally deployed with an SF team to provide ESM to the SF team commander and the battalion TCAE during the operation. This may require SOT-A's to--

  • Deploy independently and then infiltrate to join a deployed SF team.

  • Deploy with the SF team.

  • Deploy independently from the SF team.

When a SOT-A is deployed with an SF team, they combine security tasks and CSS requirements. A SOT-A has the capability to support an SF team with limited interrogation, translation, interpretation, and communications support.

The SOT-A team leader executes the technical aspects of the mission. In addition to providing EW to support the SF team commander, the SOT-A transmits collected information to the battalion TCAE for decryption, processing, analysis, and dissemination. The TCAE forwards this information to the group TCAE where it is further processed within the group TCAE and then disseminated to the appropriate users.

The SOT-A's are capable of operating in all environments and across the operational continuum in support of special operation elements. Their small size and ability to task organize in a variety of combat configurations supports SF commanders' intelligence requirements.

CI Section

The primary function of the CI section is to perform MDCI analysis to support the ASPS and the unit's OPSEC and deception programs. It performs source administration functions in support of all group LLSOs. It also supports the unit's personnelsecurity and information security functions. Its CI teams conduct liaison with other US and host-nation security organizations located in the vicinity of the base.

The CI section manages CI support to OPSEC and deception. It is located within the OPCEN and maintains direct contact with S2 security personnel and the ASPS.

Counter-SIGINT teams are able to provide communications monitoring and analysis of commercial and military landlines and radio telephones at the SFOB. When authorized, organice SOT-A teams can provide limited communications monitoring support. When necessary, the CI section coordinates this and other non-organic support with the supporting theater Army CI element.

The CI Section--

  • Conducts MDCI analysis to support ASPS situation and target development.

  • Develops detailed assessments of foreign intelligence and security threats near SF operational bases and in SF operational areas.

  • Recommends appropriate OPSEC measures to reduce friendly vulnerabilities.

  • Evaluates, if possible, the effectiveness of OPSEC measures implemented to correct identified friendly vulnerabilities.

  • Briefs deploying SF teams on the latest threat data.

  • Provides SF teams with technical advice and assistance to prepare them to establish and operate LLSOs during long-term UW and FID missions.

  • Supports SF deception operations by determining foreign vulnerabiities to deception.

  • Provides the S3 with recommendations for deception measures and evaluates their effectiveness through MDCI analysis.

  • Requests external support, when necessary, to evaluate foreign reactions to friendly deception operations.

When directed, the SF battalion's CI teams participate in LISOs. Also, when directed, they conduct CI investigations of suspected sabotage, subversion, and espionage activity directed against the SF group.

Terrain Team

The supporting terrain team, while not part of the group MI detachment, collocates with and functions as an essential element of the OPCEN. The S2 tasks the team and controls its activities. The terrain team collects, compiles, and produces graphic and textual terrain data to support the group's needs. It also assists the ASPS in its IPB function by producing general and detailed terrain analysis, terrain studies, overlays, and overprinted maps.

Interrogation Teams

The group's MI detachment has two interrogation teams. They normally deploy three two-person teams, as required, to support group operations. One of the teams may be attached to the joint interrogation facility (JIF). SF interrogation activities include--

  • Interrogating EPWs and debriefing detainees, returned US personnel, and other persons of intelligence interest to the supported commander.

  • Exploiting documents that appear to directly satisfy the supported commander's SOR.

  • Participating in overt elicitation activities. These activities include liaison, escort, observer, and treaty verification missions.


In addition to the support provided by the OPCEN, the SF company, ODA, and S3 also provide organic support.

SF Company

The SF company technician has staff responsibility for the organization, training intelligence and CI activities, and combat operations of the company and its operational detachments.


At the ODA level, the assistant operations and intelligence NCO supervises intelligence training, collection, analysis, production, and dissemination activities. The NCO--

  • Assists the operations sergeant in preparing all studies, briefbacks, OPLANs, and OPORDs.

  • Processes and questions EPW.

  • Briefs and debriefs patrols.

  • Conducts LLSO, as directed by higher headquarters; this is done with the assistance of the detachment members.


The S3 has primary coordinating staff responsibility for operations, organization, and training. These include orchestrating, developing, and tasking for EW, OPSEC, and deception operations.

Medical Section

The group and battalion medical sections are excellent sources of information about the health threat and the medical personnel and facilities of deployment locations.


IEW support for SF consists of HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, TECHINT, MASINT, EW, and CI. Although organic IEW assets provide dedicated support to their respective operational bases, nonorganic support still is required. In CONUS, this nonorganic support is normally requested through USASFC G2, USASOC ODCSINT, and USSOCOM. Outside continental United States (OCONUS) nonorganic support is requested through the SOC J2 and the TASOSC S2.


Intelligence requirements for SF operations are unique, highly sensitive, and compartmentalized. The Requirements Management Division of USASOC coordinates with USSOCOM and theater intelligence organizations to provide the intelligence that cannot be provided by MSCs.

The SOC J2 primarily is concerned with in-theater IEW policy formulation, planning and coordination. The SOC J2--

  • Ensures sufficient intelligence support is available for each mission tasked by the SOC.

  • Relies on the theater service IEW organizations collect, produce, and disseminate intelligence to meet service component SOF requirements.

  • Coordinates joint SO intelligence collection operations and the production and dissemination of TIPs to support SO targeting. (See Chapter 9.)

  • Tasks subordinate ARSOF units to collect and report information that supports SF intelligence requirements.

The SOC Director of Communications-Electronics (J6) coordinates to obtain secure SCI voice and data communications among the headquarters of the SOC, its component commands, and the TASOSC.

The TASOSC DOI provides all-source IEW support to all in-theater ARSOF. Complying with guidance from the SOC J2, the DOI validates, consolidates, and prioritizes standing and routine IR and RIIs. He then forwards them to the TASOSC ISE collocated at the theater army MI brigade's EACIC.

Under the staff supervision of the TASOSC S2, the ISE--

  • Responds to RIIs by integrating them into the EACIC requirements list.

  • Monitors RII status until the appropriate collection assets respond.

  • Maintains an intelligence data base to support ARSOF requirements.

  • Supports the targeting process by producing TIPs.

HUMINT Support

HUMINT is collected using a variety of methods. HUMINT collectors--

  • Interrogate EPWs and debrief or interview civilian internees, detainees, and refugees.

  • Debrief returned captured US personnel, escapees, and evaders.

  • Exploit CEE and CEM.

  • Perform controlled collection operations.

  • Conduct LLSOs.

  • Conduct LRSO, patrols, (OPs).

  • Conduct liaison with local and observation posts military or paramilitary forces and the local populace.

  • Obtain reports from friendly troops.

The supported command's MI brigade or tactical exploitation battalion provides additional interrogation support for SF missions if required and authorized.

SIGINT Support

SIGINT is the product of information gathered when electromagnetic emissions are intercepted, collected, evaluated, analyzed, or integrated with other intelligence and combat information, and then interpreted. SIGINT subdivisions include communications intelligence (COMINT), foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT), and electronic intelligence (ELINT). By integrating SIGINT with intelligence from other resources, accurate targeting and threat data can be obtained.

Although SOT-A's of the battalion MI detachment provide an organic SIGINT/ESM capability to the SF group, additional SIGINT support maybe required. The type of support needed depends on the target and threat capabilities. SIGINT support for SF missions is available from the supported command's MI brigade.

IMINT Support

IMINT comes from radar, photographic, infrared, and electro-optic imagery. Imagery analysts use imagery to identify and locate threat activity, installations, and equipment for SF actions. Imagery and IA are significant sources of information and intelligence for SF elements.

IMINT, which covers various seasons, conditions, and angles of a target, provides details on terrain. To a lesser extent, personnel movement and EOB patterns also can be analyzed from IMINT.

IMINT tasking is done through either fragmentary orders (FRAGOs) or intelligence annexes to the OPORD, SOP, or the RH. Formats to request support from national systems are in the J-TENS Manual, Sections 3, 4, and 5; and in FM 34-2, Appendix C. IMINT systems controlled by a higher headquarters, other services, or national agencies respond to approved RIIs through appropriate channels.

The channels used depend on the agency and the requirement, the agency receiving the request, and command procedures. Corps and division assets can provide IMINT when the target area falls within the range of their organic systems. Other services and national assets also can provide IMINT in support of SF operations.


TECHINT consists of S&TI and battlefield TECHINT. TECHINT provides SF personnel with intelligence about foreign technological developments and the performance and operational capabilities of foreign materiel. Battlefield TECHINT, a subdivision of TECHINT, provides the tactical commander with countermeasures to neutralize and defeat enemy systems and materiel.

TECHINT products are produced by the Captured Materiel Exploitation Center (CMEC) or by a battlefield TECHINT team. TECHINT teams provide a variety of support to SF personnel preparing to deploy. This support includes training and information on foreign weapons, equipment, and vehicles. Requests for TECHINT team support must go through the SOC J2 (when in theater) or through intelligence channels to USASOC ODCSINT. For more information on TECHINT, see FM 34-54.

EW Support

Superior and aggressive EW is a vital capability of ARSOF. The application of EW in ARSOF is not unlike that of conventional warfare operations, with the exception of the proximity of ECM and the vulnerability of ARSOF.

EW will require ESM or the collection, analysis, and location of threat emitters and the decision of which targets will be subject to ECM. ECM will consist of both jamming and deception.

  • Jamming will be used to deny the intended receipt of communications from the transmitting station to deny threat C2.

  • Deception will be used to spoof the intended receiver for a period of time in which to achieve an immediate objective.

ECCM is also an essential element of EW in SOF operations based on the vulnerability of SOF and the proximity to the threat. Detailed communications operating procedures must be established and practiced to ensure SOF operations are not vulnerable to threat EW.

CI Support

CI detects, evaluates, counteracts, or prevents foreign intelligence collection, subversion, sabotage, and terrorism. The organic group and battalion CI sections primarily perform MDCI analysis. In addition, SF commanders normally receive additional CI investigative and technical support from the supporting CI unit of the theater army MI brigade. (See FM 34-60 and FM 34-60A for details on CI.)


A working relationship between the supporting CA unit and the SF S2 aids the commander's mission planning preparation, and execution. A good relationship ensures information passes quickly between the two elements and eliminates duplicated effort.

CA Support

In daily operations, CA personnel deal with people, equipment, and documentary material that may provide valuable intelligence. This is important since many SF missions depend upon the support of the civilian population. UW and FID missions can fail without popular support. That is why SF commanders must consider the impact of all of their activities on the civilian population.

In support of SF mission planning, preparation, and execution, CA elements--

  • Train and advise members of the supported SF unit in civil military operations (CMO) and the political, economic, social, and cultural factors that influence SF operations.

  • Identify and acquire foreign resources.

  • Coordinate with other agencies to minimize civilian interference.

  • Assist in meeting legal and moral obligations to the local population, families of supported indigenous forces, and persons displaced by SF operations.

  • Supplement the intelligence effort by collecting information during CMO.

  • Act as staff focal point for cultural aspects that affect SF operations.

  • Coordinate and integrate CA activities with PSYOP activities.

  • Provide technical advice and assistance on civil assistance, military civic action, and humanitarian assistance programs.

  • Provide input during pre-mission planning and preparation. This minimizes civilian interference and reduces collateral damage to the civilian populace and economy.

PSYOP Support

PSYOP are particularly important to SF. PSYOP units can provide SF intelligence personnel with key information concerning influential population segments, vulnerabilities of hostile groups, and other information that adds to the overall intelligence effort in the operational area. The earlier a close working relationship is established between the SF unit and the supporting PSYOP unit, the greater the chances of mission success.

SF PSYOP elements--

  • Provide advice and assist SF units as they work to obtain and sustain the support of neutral and uncommitted segments of a foreign power.

  • Exploit hostile vulnerabilities in the operational area.

  • Design PSYOP for deployed SF teams to execute.

  • Recommend and plan actions like civil disobedience, rallies, and demonstrations that degrade or neutralize hostile influences on the target audiences.

  • Review SF plans to identify potentially adverse effects on target audiences that could affect mission accomplishment.

  • Train SF soldiers in the customs they must honor in the operational area.

  • Provide basic and special PSYOP assessments that add to the overall intelligence effort in the operational area.

  • Advise SF commanders and their staffs on the psychological impact of military operations on target audiences within the operational area.

SF Support to IEW

By using SR in denied areas, SF can provide the IEW system with human eyes on the objective.

SR operations encompass a broad range of intelligence collection activities to include reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. The SR collection effort emphasizes US unilateral (or alliance) intelligence requirements, not the requirements of an indigenous resistance organization. SR complements national and theater collection systems (such as high altitude imagery or SIGINT) that are more vulnerable to weather, terrain, masking, and hostile countermeasures.

SR operations can be broken into two categories:Battlefield reconnaissance and surveillance, which involves the use of standard patrolling tactics and techniques. Such missions are often for extended durations beyond or in the absence of conventional fire support and sustainment means.

Clandestine collection, which is complex and sensitive, involves the SIGINT and HUMINT techniques normally reserved to the US intelligence community. SF teams may conduct unilateral clandestine collection missions in crisis situations, in support of national and theater CT forces, or in other conditions short of war. In wartime or as a special activity, SF teams may conduct unilateral clandestine collection missions in hostile areas where the threat precludes the use of other HUMINT means. Clandestine collection may require oversight, interagency coordination, and control of SF teams by the US intelligence community.

Typical SR missions include--

  • Initial contact with an indigenous resistance organization and assessment of resistance potential.

  • Collection of strategic, political, economic, psychological, or military information.

  • Collection of critical military OB information (for example, NBC capabilities and intentions, commitment of second-echelon forces, and location of high-level headquarters).

  • Collection of technical military information.

  • Target acquisition and surveillance of hostile C2 systems, troop concentrations, deep strike weapons, LOC, and other military targets of strategic or operational significance.

  • Location and surveillance of hostage, PW, or political prisoner detention facilities.

  • Poststrike reconnaissance.

  • Meteorologic, geographic, or hydrographic reconnaissance to support specific aerospace, land, or maritime operations.

MC&G and Other Intelligence Products

Each SF group and battalion has an up-to-date DIA account which ensures automatic dissemination of intelligence products, studies, and reports based on the unit's SII recurring document list and SIGINT end product requirements. The SII provides the vehicle for unit registration of requirements for intelligence information reports (IIRs), all-source nonrecurring finished intelligence (NRFI), and first issuance of all-source recurring intelligence.

AC units with proper Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) accounts obtain MC&G products from the DMA Combat Support Center, which is the OCONUS Army map depot. RC units in CONUS obtain MC&G produces from their continental United States Army (CONUSA) map depots.

USASOC and its MSCs assist units to obtain special MC&G products and services. When maps of a required area are outdated or nonexistent, units request multi-spectral imagery (MSI) or grid imagery through regular intelligence channels.

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