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Chapter 4

Processing Captured Enemy Documents

The information contained in CEDs can prove to be of intelligence value to commanders at all levels. CEDs are important because they can provide information directly from the enemy. Only on rare occasions will a single document or group of documents provide vitally important information. Usually, each document provides a small bit of a larger body of information. Each CED, much like a single piece of a puzzle, contributes to the whole. In addition to their tactical intelligence value, technical data and political indicators can be extracted from CEDs that are important to strategic and national-level agencies. CEDs can also be helpful in exploiting sources.

STANAG 2084 defines a document as any piece of recorded information, regardless of form, obtained from the enemy and that subsequently comes into the hands of a friendly force. CEDs can be US or allied documents that were once in the hands of the enemy. Types of CEDs are typed, handwritten, printed, painted, engraved or drawn materials; sound or voice recordings; imagery such as videotapes, movies, or photographs; computer storage media including, but not limited to floppy disks; and reproductions of any of the items listed above.

CEDs are mainly acquired two ways. Some are taken from sources. Most documents, however, are captured on the battlefield from former enemy locations and from enemy dead.

Generally, CEDs are of two types: official and personal. Official documents are of government or military origin. Examples of official documents are, but are not limited to, overlays, field orders, maps, codes, field manuals, identification cards, reports, sketches, photographs, log books, maintenance records, shipping and packing slips, war and field diaries, and written communications between commands. Personal documents are of a private or nongovernment origin. Examples of personal documents are letters, personal diaries, newspapers, photographs, books, magazines, union dues payment books, and political party dues payment books.

Interrogators are, from time-to-time, required to handle and translate a wide variety of nonmission-related documents. Some include identity and other documents associated with working and residing in a foreign country.


The accountability phase begins at the time the document is captured. Documents must be clearly tagged. The capturing unit attaches a captured document tag to each document. The capture data is always written on a captured document tag (see the following illustration of a captured document tag). When a captured tag is not available, the same information recorded on any piece of paper is acceptable. Nothing is to be written directly on the CED. The captured document tag should be assigned a sequential number at the first formal exploitation point, showing the nationality of the capturing force by national letters prescribed in STANAG 1059. Furthermore, the capturing unit will report the following information:

  • Time the document was captured, recorded as a date-time group (DTG).
  • Place the document was captured, including the six- or eight-digit coordinate and a description of the location of capture.
  • Identity of the source from whom the document was taken, if applicable.
  • Summary of the circumstances under which the document was found.
  • Identity of the capturing unit.


At each echelon, starting with the capturing unit, steps are taken to ensure that CED accountability is maintained during document evacuation. To establish accountability, the responsible element inventories all incoming CEDs. Thorough accountability procedures at each echelon ensure that CEDs are not lost. To record each processing step as it occurs helps correct mistakes in CED processing. Accountability is accomplished by anyone who captures, evacuates, processes, or handles CEDs. All CEDs should have captured document tags, and all captured document tags should be completely filled out. An incoming batch of documents includes a transmittal document (see the illustration 4-2) When a batch is received without a transmittal, the interrogation element contacts the forwarding unit and obtains a list of document serial numbers. The interrogation element records all trace actions in its journal. Accountability includes inventorying the CEDs as they arrive, initiating any necessary trace actions, and maintaining the captured document log. Whenever intelligence derived from a CED is included in a unit or information intelligence reports, the identification letters and number of the document concerned are quoted to avoid false confirmation. All CEDs are shipped with any associated documents.


An inventory of incoming CEDs is conducted initially by comparing the CED to the captured document tag and to accompanying transmittal documents. This comparison identifies any-

  • Transmittals that list missing CEDs.
  • Document tags not attached to CEDs.
  • CEDs not attached to document tags.
  • CEDs not listed on the accompanying transmittal documents.

Trace Actions

When necessary, the receiving unit initiates a CED trace action. Trace actions are initiated on all missing CEDs, captured document tags, and on all information missing from the captured document tag. Trace actions are initiated by first contacting the element from which the documents were received. This corrective action can be completed swiftly if that unit's captured document log was filled out completely. If necessary the trace action continues to other elements that have handled the document. If a captured document tag is unavailable from elements that have previously handled the CED, the document examiner fills out a captured document tag for the document using whatever information is available. Attempts to obtain missing CEDs are critical because of the information those CEDs might contain.


The captured document log is a record of what an element knows about a CED (see the following illustration of a captured document log). After trace actions are initiated, the CEDs are entered in the captured document log. The captured document log, in general, must contain the entries listed below:

  • File number (a sequential number to identify the order of entry).
  • DTG the CED was received at this element.
  • Document serial number of the captured document tag.
  • Identification number of the transmittal document accompanying the CED.
  • Full designation of the unit that forwarded the CED.
  • Name and rank of individual that received the CED.
  • DTG and place of capture (as listed on the captured document tag).
  • Identity of the capturing units (as listed on the captured document tag).
  • Document category (after screening).
  • Description of the CED (at a minimum the description includes the original language; number of pages; type of document such as map, letter, photograph, and so forth; and the enemy's identification number for the CED, if available).
  • Destination and identification number of the outgoing transmittal.
  • Remarks (other information that can assist the unit in identifying the CED to include processing codes. These are set up by local SOP to denote all actions taken with the document while at the element, including SALUTE reports, translations, reproductions, or return of the CED to the source from whom it was taken).

Accountability for the CED should be established at each echelon once the actions described above have been accomplished.


Technical Documents

A technical document (TECHDOC) is a document that pertains to equipment of any type. A captured TECHDOC should be evacuated with the equipment with which it was captured. If this is not possible, a cover sheet should be attached, with the word "TECHDOC" written in large letters across the top. The capture data is listed the same as other CEDs, and the TECHDOC cover sheet should contain a detailed description of the equipment captured with the document. If possible, photographs of the equipment should be taken, including a measurement guide, and evacuated with the TECHDOC.

Communications and Cryptographic Documents

CEDs containing communications or cryptographic information are handled as secret material and are evacuated through secure channels to the technical control and analysis element (TCAE).


As incoming CEDs are accounted for, the exploitation phase for intelligence information begins. Exploitation includes-

  • CED screening to determine potential intelligence value.
  • Extracting pertinent information from the CED.
  • Reporting the extracted information.

CEDs are processed and exploited as soon as possible within the constraints of the unit's mission. The main mission of some units is the exploitation of human sources rather than the translation of CEDs; therefore, manpower constraints may limit the time that can be devoted to translation. However, the translation of CEDs is necessary at any echelon where interrogators and translators are assigned. It is important, therefore, that interrogation elements possess qualified personnel to provide the translation support required. Intelligence units ensure that there is no delay in the exploitation of CEDs. Qualified personnel or document copying facilities should be available to handle CEDs, and personnel should be available to exploit the volume or type of documents concerned. If not, the documents are forwarded immediately to the next higher echelon. Copying availability is determined by the echelon in question, as well as mission and mobility considerations.


Document exploitation begins when personnel are available for document exploitation operations. CEDs are screened for information of immediate intelligence interest; and as each document is screened, it is assigned one of the four following category designations. The category assigned determines the document's priority for exploitation and evacuation.

Document Categories

Category A. Category A documents contain SALUTE-reportable information, are time sensitive, contain significant intelligence information, and may be critical to the successful accomplishment of friendly courses of action. Significant intelligence topics include the enemy's OB, new weapons or equipment on the battlefield, and may contain information that indicates a significant change in the enemy's capabilities or intentions. When a document is identified as category A, the document examiner immediately ceases screening operations and submits a SALUTE report of the critical information from the document. The examiner then resumes screening operations.

Category B. Category B documents contain information pertaining to enemy cryptographic or communications systems. Once a document is identified as category B, it is considered to be classified secret. This is done to limit the number of people having knowledge of either the capture or its contents. A category B document may contain SALUTE-reportable information, thereby requiring immediate exploitation.

In every case, category B documents will be transferred through secure channels to the TCAE as soon as possible.

Category C. Category C documents contain no SALUTE-reportable or timesensitive information but do contain information that is of general intelligence value that does not indicate significant changes in the enemy's capabilities or intentions. A category C document may be of interest or of value to other agencies. When identified as category C, it requires exploitation, regardless of the content.

Category D. Category D documents appear to contain only information that is of no intelligence value. Documents are not identified as category D until after a thorough examination by document translation specialists at the highest command interested. This is accomplished at EAC. Category D documents are to be disposed of as directed by the appropriate authority.

Special Document Handling

Technical Documents. TECHDOCs, containing information associated with specific items of enemy equipment, are given special handling to expedite their exploitation and evacuation. TECHDOCs are handled as category A CEDs until screened by technical intelligence personnel. Generally, TECHDOCs accompany the captured equipment until the intelligence exploitation is completed. TECHDOCs include maintenance handbooks, operational manuals, and drawings.

Air Force-Related Documents. Documents of any category that are captured from crashed enemy aircraft, particularly if they are related to enemy antiaircraft defense or enemy air control and reporting systems, are transmitted to the nearest Air Force headquarters without delay.

Maps and Charts of Enemy Forces. Captured maps and charts, containing any operational graphics, are evacuated immediately to the supporting all-source analysis center. Captured maps and charts without graphics may be transmitted to the topographical intelligence section attached to corps.

Navy-Related Documents. Documents taken from ships (code books, call signs, frequency tables, identification symbols, and so forth) are forwarded without delay to the nearest Navy headquarters.

Recording Document Category

The category assigned to each CED is recorded as part of the captured document log entry for that CED. The entry includes a brief description of the CED. This description-

  • Identifies the CED by type (sound recording, written material, painting, engraving, imagery, and so forth).
  • Identifies the language used in the CED.
  • Specifies the physical construction of the CED (typed, printed, handwritten, tape cassette, photographs, film, and so forth).
  • Gives some indication of the size (number of pages, rolls of film, cassette, and so forth).

Screening at Higher Echelons

CEDs can be recategorized during screening conducted at higher echelons. The information may have become outdated, or the echelon currently exploiting the document may have different intelligence requirements.


Once a CED has been screened, the document must be exploited. The translator must be able to translate the document. For anyone else to gain benefit from the document translation, it must be clearly and accurately written (typed or handwritten). Also, as part of interrogation duties, the interrogator may have previously translated a document by sight to help gain a source's cooperation.

Types of Translations

Full Translation. A full translation is one in which the entire document is translated. It is very manpower- and time-intensive, especially for lengthy or technical documents. It is unlikely that many full translations will be performed at corps or below. Even when dealing with category A documents, it may not be necessary to translate the entire document to gain the information it contains.

Extract Translation. An extract translation is one in which only a portion of the document is translated. For instance, a technical intelligence analyst may decide that a few paragraphs in the middle of a 600-page helicopter maintenance manual merit translation and a full translation of the manual is not necessary. Therefore, he would request an extract translation of the portion of the text in which he has an interest.

Summary Translation. A translator begins a summary translation by reading the entire document. The translator then summarizes the main points of information instead of rendering a full translation or an extract translation. This type of translation requires that a translator have more analytical abilities. The translator must balance the need for complete exploitation of the document against the time available in combat operations. A summary translation may also be used by translators working in languages in which they have not been formally trained. For instance, a Russian linguist may not be able to accurately deliver a full translation of a Bulgarian language document. However, he can probably render a usable summary of the information it contains.

Translation Reports

Except for SALUTE reports, all information resulting from document exploitation activities will be reported in a translation report (see the following illustration for a sample translation report). After all required SALUTE reports have been submitted, the translator will prepare any required translation reports. CEDs that contain information of intelligence value that was not SALUTE reported are the subject of translation reports. Translation reports are prepared on all category C CEDs and include portions of category A, TECHDOCs, and category B CEDs not SALUTE reported.

Priorities. The priority for the preparation of translation reports is-

  • Category A.
  • Category B.
  • Category C.

Format. A translation report should contain the following information:

  • Destination. The element to which the report will be forwarded.
  • Originator. The element which prepared the report.
  • Date of preparation.
  • Report number as designated by local SOP
  • Document number taken from the captured document tag.
  • Document description including number of pages, type of document, and enemy identification number.
  • Original language of the CED.
  • DTG document was received at the element preparing the report.
  • DTG document was captured.
  • Place document was captured.
  • Circumstances under which the document was captured.
  • Identity of capturing unit.
  • Rank and full name of the translator
  • Remarks for clarification or explanation, including the identification of the portions of the document translated in an extract translation.
  • Classification and downgrading instructions, according to AR 380-5.

Dissemination and Records

Recording in Captured Document Log. The translator records each exploitation step taken in the captured document log. Transmission of SALUTE and translation reports is entered in the element's journal.

Reports Dissemination and Records. At least two copies are prepared for each SALUTE and translation report. One copy is placed in the interrogation element's files. The other accompanies the CED when it is evacuated. When the CED cannot be fully exploited, a copy of the CED should be made and retained. The original CED is forwarded through evacuation channels. Even when copies of an unexploited CED cannot be made, the original CED is still forwarded through evacuation channels without delay.


For friendly forces to benefit from a document to the greatest extent possible, send CEDs to the element most qualified to exploit them as quickly as possible. Information gained from a CED is frequently time sensitive. If a document is not sent to the element most capable of exploiting it, time will be lost. Any time lost in exploiting the document may reduce or even negate the value of the information. The CED evacuation procedures in use at any element must ensure that documents are shipped to their proper destinations in a timely manner.


CEDs are normally evacuated from echelon to echelon through the intelligence organizational chain. The capturing unit evacuates the CEDs to the first intelligence section, usually the battalion S2. The battalion evacuates them to brigade, brigade to division, division to corps, and then, to EAC. Depending on the type of documents they may, then, be evacuated to the National Center for Document Exploitation. Take care to protect the document from weather, soil, and wear. Interrogators and translators can exploit CEDs at every echelon and will make an attempt to exploit CEDs within their expertise and technical support constraints.


Some CEDs are evacuated to different elements based upon the information contained and the type of document concerned. Direct evacuation to an element outside the chain of command takes place at the lowest practical echelon. The previous guidelines, discussed in evacuation procedures, are followed when dealing with documents requiring special handling.


When transportation assets are limited, CEDs are evacuated according to priority. The priority is the category assigned to the CED. All category A CEDs will be evacuated first, TECHDOCs will be considered category A CEDs until examined by the captured material exploitation center (CMEC), followed in order by categories B, C, and D.

Category B documents are evacuated to the TCAE, which maintains a signals intelligence (SIGINT) and EW data base. Category B documents, pertaining to communications equipment, are duplicated if possible, and the duplicate documents are sent to the CMEC.

CEDs that are not evacuated are held until the next transportation arrives. These remaining CEDs are combined with any other CEDs of the same category that have arrived and have been processed in the meantime. When determining evacuation priorities, interrogators consider all CEDs that are ready for evacuation. Lower priority CEDs, no matter how old, are never evacuated ahead of those with higher priority. A package of documents contains documents of only one category. All unscreened CEDs are handled as category C documents, but they are not packaged with screened category C documents. CEDs in a single package must have the same destination.


When CEDs are evacuated from any echelon, a document transmittal is used (see the following illustration for a sample CED transmittal). A separate document transmittal is prepared for each group of CEDs to be evacuated. When second copies of category B CEDs are being sent to a technical intelligence element, a separate document transmittal is required. The transmittal identification number is recorded in the captured document log as part of the entry for each CED. The exact format for a document transmittal is a matter of local SOP, but it should contain the information listed below:

  • The identity of the element to which the CEDs are to be evacuated.
  • The identity of the unit forwarding the CEDs.
  • Whether or not the CEDs in the package have been screened and the screening category. (If not screened, NA is circled.)
  • Whether or not the CEDs in the package have been screened and the screening category. (If not screened, NA is circled.)
  • A list of the document serial numbers of the CEDs in the package.


All CEDs being evacuated must be accompanied with the appropriate-

  • TECHDOC cover sheet.
  • SECRET cover sheet on category B documents.
  • Translation reports and hard-copy SALUTE reports accompanying translated documents.
  • Translation reports and hard-copy SALUTE reports accompanying translated documents.


The preparations for further CED evacuation begin with verifying the document serial numbers by comparing the entry in the captured document log with the entry on the captured document tag attached to each CED. Once all CEDs are present, copies of all reports derived from the CEDs are assembled. A copy of all SALUTE and translation reports is placed with the CEDs that were the sources of those reports. Whenever possible, all category B CEDs and their captured document tags should be copied.


CEDs are first grouped according to their assigned screening code. Personnel must be careful when sorting the CEDs to ensure that no CED is separated from its associated documents. These large groupings can then be broken down into smaller groups. Each of these smaller groupings consists of CEDs that were-

  • Captured by the same unit.
  • Captured in the same place.
  • Captured on the same day at the same time.
  • Received at the interrogation element at the same time.


The documents captured with a source play a very important role in the interrogation process and can contain reportable information the same as with a CED obtained on the battlefield. During source screening operations, for instance, documents can indicate that a specific source may have information pertaining to the commander's intelligence requirements. The interrogator uses various pieces of information in forming his interrogation plan. Documents captured with the source may provide the key to the approach necessary to gain, the source's cooperation.

Guidelines for the disposition of the source's documents and valuables are set by international agreement and discussed in more detail in AR 190-8 and FM 19-40. Additionally, one way the source's trust and continued cooperation can be gained is through fair and equitable handling of his personal possessions. In some instances, such treatment can make it more likely that the source will cooperate during interrogation questioning. Furthermore, fair treatment by the interrogator and the holding area personnel can ease tensions in the confinement facility.

Guidelines for the disposition of the source's documents and valuables are set by international agreement and discussed in more detail in AR 190?8 and FM 19-40. Additionally, one way the source's trust and continued cooperation can be gained is through fair and equitable handling of his personal possessions. In some instances, such treatment can make it more likely that the source will cooperate during interrogation questioning. Furthermore, fair treatment by the interrogator and the holding area personnel can ease tensions in the confinement facility.


The disposition of documents captured with a source is normally a function of the military police and other holding area personnel. Because of their language capabilities, the interrogators at the compound will probably be required to provide assistance and guidance. The military police sign for all documents taken from sources; and to ensure proper handling and most expeditious disposition of these documents, the interrogation element should sign for any documents captured with a source. When the interrogation element assumes control of documents, they process them according to established procedures.

When documents are captured with a source, the immediate reaction is to take them away from him so that he cannot destroy them. In general, this is good, but there is one major exception. Under no circumstances is a source's identification card to be taken from him.

When documents are taken from a source, it is necessary to ensure the source from whom they were taken can be identified. The easiest way to accomplish this is with the source's captive tag (see standardized captive tag in Appendix D). The bottom portion of the tag is designed to be used for marking equipment or documents. Three possible actions may be taken with documents captured with a source. The documents may be confiscated, impounded, or returned to the source.


Documents confiscated from a source are taken away with no intention of returning them. Official documents, except identification documents, are confiscated and appropriately evacuated. The intelligence value of the document should be weighed against the document's support in the interrogation of the source. Category A documents require exploitation and should be copied. One copy should be translated and exploited separately, and the other copy should be evacuated with the source. If copying facilities are not available, a decision should be made on whether to evacuate the document with the source or evacuate it separately. Category B CEDs should be evacuated to the TCAE for appropriate exploitation. Category C official documents can best be used in the interrogation of the source. Therefore, these CEDs and category D official documents should be evacuated with the source.


Impounded CEDs are taken away with the intention of returning them at a later time. When a document is impounded, the source must be given a receipt. The receipt must contain a list of the items impounded and the legible name, rank, and unit of the person issuing the receipt. All personal effects, including monies and other valuables, will be safeguarded. An inventory of personal effects that have been impounded will be entered on DA Form 4237-R (Appendix B). Also, DA Form 1132 will be completed and signed by the officer in charge or authorized representative. A copy will be provided the source. Further procedures for the handling of personal effects are provided in AR 190-8.


Returned CEDs are usually personal in nature, taken only for inspection and information of interest, and immediately given back to the source. Personal documents belonging to a source will be returned to the source after examination in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Copies of such papers may be made and forwarded if considered appropriate. An identification document must be returned to the source.


In a fast-moving tactical situation, it is possible that documents captured with sources will not be handled expediously. Final disposition of these documents may not be made until the source is evacuated at least as far as the corps holding area. Some documents captured with a source will aid in the interrogation of the source. Others, particularly category A documents, should be copied and evacuated separately. One copy can then remain with the source to aid in the interrogation, and the other can be translated and exploited separately. This makes it particularly important for the capturing unit to correctly identify the documents captured with the source. This is more easily done when the interrogation element rather than the military police element signs for the documents captured with sources element rather than the military police element signs for the documents captured with sources.


For more efficient exploitation of CEDs and sources, documents captured with a source are normally evacuated with the source. A document of great significance may be evacuated ahead of the source, but a reproduction should be made and kept with the source. If reproduction is not possible, the captured document tags should be annotated as to where the document was sent. Significant documents such as category A documents and TECHDOCs, Category B documents, maps, charts, and Air Force- and Navy-related documents are evacuated directly.


The evacuation of documents captured with a source follows the same accountability procedures as with documents found on the battlefield. The capturing unit prepares a captive tag listing details pertaining to the source and the place and circumstances of capture. The bottom portion is used to list documents captured with the source.

Documents captured with a source are subject to the same screening and exploitation procedures as those found on the battlefield. These documents are categorized as category A, B, C, or D. Category A documents have SALUTE reportable information extracted and are copied, if possible. A copy can then be used to aid in the exploitation of the source, and the other copy is sent forward for prompt exploitation and translation. Category B documents should be treated as secret and evacuated to the TCAE. Category C documents are exploited. A category C document may also require copying and evacuation. Official documents should be evacuated through document evacuation channels. If they would aid in the interrogation of a source, personal documents may require similar copying.

Page last modified: 26-04-2005 16:40:24 Zulu