HUMINT is collected information which we term positive intelligence after processing.HUMINT collectors access human sources and multimedia to gain information about enemy intent,composition,disposition,capabilities,table of order and equipment, command control nodes, centers of gravity,leadership,personnel—this is also called Order of Battle when conducted prior to a combat situation. The Commander specifies his intelligence requirements explicitly and going by these requirements , prioritized , human sources,informants,and other human elements possessing information compatible with the said requirements are utilized by application of specific techniques like tactical questioning,debriefing,document exploitation, eliciting and interrogation and reconnaissance and surveillance. The HUMINT collectors are not intelligence operatives with general intelligence education and training but specialists.

Counterintelligence is also a collection oriented discipline like HUMINT but not an intelligence discipline in the strictest sense. It is concerned with enemy intent while HUMINT is concerned with collection part only so as to satisfy Commanders intelligence requirements in order to answer certain information gaps.CI attempts to prevent sabotage,assassination,terrorism,subversive and enemy intelligence activities , deny the enemy access to installations and sensitive information , acts as a protective shield for the Commander by supporting OPSEC and force protection and acts in an advisory capacity recommending countermeasures to enemy intelligence activities.CI is a protection component in the Commanders repository of defensive tactics and techniques and CI also protects the intelligence cycle. Several definitions exclude personnel, physical, document or communications security programs from CI purview , but on close inspection it will be seen that CI invariably is resorted to while implementing force protection and denial/deception measures (information warfare) thus bringing in play the security aspects of personnel , physical,documents.CI support tio physical security , infrastructure, technology protection, military security,HUMINT –all these some way or the other involve those elements that are kept out of general definitions.

Definitions can be very confusing, may render doctrine imperfect and lead to redundancy. For example the Army ten ds to maintain a general perspective on threat—statements like our forces are prepared to deter /attack/defend against a wide spectrum of threats, ranging from criminal activity in our jurisdiction which may abet our main enemy, terrorism , subversion to small wars, wars and battles. Now this generalized concept is fine in that we can have several security programs, each tending to one specific threat type in the entire spectrum. But the disadvantage in this approach is we cannot focus on the main threat, say terrorism, and as security concepts like force protection, deception operations, physical security, military security,etc all have certain elements in common we land up with redundant programs designed to handle these security concerns. For example antiterrorism and force protection both have in common physical security as a passive defensive subcomponent where the installation critical points are protected after vulnerability assessments and red teaming. The same subcomponent is the major component in a physical security program. Thus there occurs good redundancy if we do not have a focused view of the threat and counter threat measures become diffused over the broad spectrum.


The same goes with the definition of intelligence and CI. Or rather I should say the general perspectives held by most Commanders and even intelligence officers.


The main idea is to remove uncertainty and gain a decision advantage. This should be the prime objective of the Commander.HUMINT and CI are both shaping operations but with a critical difference.HUMINT shapes the Commanders view of the battle space by providing him accurate intelligence about enemy order of battle. Plus other information requirements when ops are in progress.CI on the other hand penetrates the enemy commanders decision cycle and shapes his views ‘’like the way’’ our Commander desires by denying the enemy commander access to our operations, plans and information systems , and using offensive methods like penetration , infiltration and also denial/deception operations. Both shaping operations have one thing in common as goal. To act as force enabler. To heighten the Commanders situational understanding. In other words to gain that ‘’decisive ‘’ advantage. .To get a ‘’positional’’ advantage. HUMINT shapes the "Blue" forces' understanding of the "Red" forces while CI affects the Red forces' knowledge of Blue forces.

HUMINT shapes the understanding of the ‘’Blue forces’’ with respect to the ‘’Red forces’’ while CI does the reverse. True both use several techniques which are in common like interrogation and other low level source operations but going by what has been discussed CI is not HUMINT and not in the least a subset of HUMINT. Being a subset would mean CI operations would be counter-HUMINT only. But CI looks beyond that, by conducting offensive operations, denial and deception operations , exploiting enemy intelligence activities ,neutralizing them through collection of evidence and subsequent prosecution for national security crimes, and supporting tactical and theater operations by feeding inputs to the decision cycles. Thus we see CI goes far beyond Counter-HUMINT operations.


CI also provides positive intelligence about the enemy as a byproduct of its operations.CI and HUMINT operations overlap in that very similar techniques are often used. In fact in tactical operations a mix of HUMINT and CI operators plus a linguist carry out tactical HUMINT operations where the roles of both are more overlapping and confusion arises when either may operate like the other. We should not always justify HUMINT source operations..this leads to the mistaken impression that CI only lends support to HUMINT and has no other function and that HUNMINT and CI are the same thing.NO.Whereas HUMINT focuses on the enemy’s organization,composition,capabilities and decision making without any focus on the intent of collection , only collecting all require information laid down in the commanders prioritized intelligence requirements order , and reporting it through proper channels (and here full stop) CI will go much further , exploiting , neutralizing the enemy intelligence activities or doing both…CI is concerned with enemy ‘’INTENT’’.HUMINT focuses on the enemy’s decision making cycle to gain information for the Commander whereas CI attempts to ‘’INFLUENCE’’ that decision cycle and shape it the way we want it in order to achieve winning objectives. Thus the HUMINT operative tasking end after detecting and identifying enemy intelligence activities while the CI agents tasks begin afresh.

From all this discussion we can derive two things:


  1. HUMINT and CI are different.CI is not a subset of HUMINT.


2.As HUMINT and CI have many similar lines of operation , if both can be combined to satisfy tactical requirements ,(during theater or national-level requirements they can revert to individual role-this capability must be retained) , we will have an intelligence operator who will be more versatile,adaptable.and can confirm easily to all army requirements at the tactical level. Tactical intelligence formations can execute this tactical HUMINT asset (the operator) to satisfy commanders requirements. Merging the capabilities of HUMINT and CI results in a task organization of skills for the Commander—definitely an improvement over either HUMINT or CI enabled operations. Tactical HUMINT operations are most suitable for developing and maintaining an excellent informant/source base that provides timely, specific and accurate information. Tactical HUMINT operations combine both HUMINT and CI techniques and together with linguist assistance , are more capable of developing and maintaining contacts than only HUMINT or CI ops.For example , the Tactical HUMINT team comes across few individuals of interest near the forward area , the HUMINT operators conduct tactical questioning to extract information of intelligence value and then pass them over to their CI colleagues for further interrogation if they discern any information of interest to the CI operators. This can be switched to and fro and the application of the combined faculties of both results in more refined, relevant and timely/accurate information. If the individuals are of the witting type or have voluntarily offered to deliver information or are community members sympathetic to the forces, then they can be inducted into the source repository by establishing rapport/giving incentives etc and then later their assistance taken for more information. Tactical HUMINT teams can act as mobile interrogation teams at forward areas, quickly disposing off sources after tactical questioning and interrogations, thereafter detailing escort for those who may render more information or who, it appears are suppressing tactical information, sending them to detention centers and collocated interrogation areas near forward areas or in the rear. The standard procedure of detaining and escorting to rear interrogation areas is hereby bypassed as in this procedure , the time taken to assess , detain , segregate , and transport to rear areas can negate the availability of timely intelligence—intelligence is highly perishable ,. Especially combat intelligence, where time is of essence.

Hence as the repository of sources grows, the quality and content of available information is enhanced and for the commander tactical intelligence, most of the time, is at his fingertips. Compare this to the situation where earlier, HUMINT or CI operations had to be complemented by intelligence from theater or national agencies, and it so happens they cannot provide real time, ground intelligence always for combatant commanders.

The soldiers will be given language training, Basic CI training, operational debriefing training so that as and when required they can shift from tactical to operational briefing to CI functions. The focus of training should be cultivating the capability to conduct contact and informant operations, recognize information of CI value, and execute tactical questioning of civilians, and screen EPWs and detainees with the assistance of an interpreter.


Tactical HUMINT team functions:

  1. Tactical tasks with Language training
  2. HUMINT Ops=Strategic Debriefing
  3. CI

Here it should be stressed that intelligence nowadays is tactical—the focus should be at tactical level as soldiers fight wars nowadays more than battles. Small-wars in fact. Hence the dire need for actionable intelligence/tactical intelligence. Here the players are combatant commanders who must move swiftly in their maneuver and strike decisively. Higher echelons are there for planning, average intelligence support, but it is for the ground based Tactical HUMINT teams to do most of the work. And they do it—as their composition is quite what the modern day warfare demands.




Counterintelligence functional services are provided to promote the Commanders situational understanding.


  • Define and analyse mission
  • Execute CI Surveys
  • Prepasre a brief on CI Awareness
  • Execute CI Vulnerability Assessment
  • Execute CI Threat assessment
  • Execute CI Inspections
  • Execute CI Reviews
  • Execute CI Evaluations


Conduct CI support to HUMINT activities


Identify, exploit and counteract foreign intelligence activities across the full spectrum of HUMINT activities. CI activities include, but are not limited to, identifying friendly and hostile capabilities and vulnerabilities; providing CI review of HUMINT activities; conducting CIdamage assessments; providing support to Counter Espionage (CE) investigations; conducting and/or assisting in asset validation by physical and technical means.

Perform CI/HUMINT operational planning.


  1. Supervise the preparation of CI products, as required.
  2. Obtain necessary approvals.
  3. Supervise CI support to HUMINT operation.
  4. Supervise asset validation procedures.
  5. Conduct post-mission analysis.
  6. Disseminate required reports/products.


CI/HUMINT Collection management


The CI/HUMINT officer/JCO will match the requirements with the collection assets in hand , checks availability , usage by other adjacent units , deployable possibilities etc and then determines the best collection plan.


  • Receive prioritized intelligence requirements from higher headquarters or collection manager , conduct analysis
  • Create the collection plan
  • Study all CI/HUMINTcollection assets available and match them with the requirements
  • Decide on the course of action to fulfill collection objectives




The CI/HUMINT officer/Jco must be acquainted with the exploitation setup and the units exploitation SOP so that he may, after receiving, accounting and sending the captured materials he may be able to follow-up for results and give future feed inputs to the exploitation cell/agency.

  • Understand exploitation agency infrastructure
  • Identify exploitable materials
  • Categorize them as Biometric Examination or Forensic Examination.
  • Take possession of exploitable materials
  • Account for and categorize exploitable materials
  • Prepare catalogues
  • Dispatch the materials to exploitation agencys custody
  • Followup with the agencies for results

Identify orders of battle in given Area of operations


Identify Ground military attack and defense capability, Air-defense and attack capability, naval capability and all associated military weaponry systems and equipment, such as ground combat systems, antiaircraft systems, naval vessels, etc.Study the enemy infrastructure and locate/identify the keys areas.


Intelligence support to Targeting.

This includes identifying enemy targets , both high value and high payoff , nominating in order of priority , recommending kinetic or non kinetic attacks, and thus assist the Commander to destroy, neutralize or exploit the target in a manner which is in line with the units mission and in keeping with the Commander and his staffs requirements.

The Unit intelligence supervisor who controls the target intelligence collection and associated ops/recommendations to the Commander must be as thorough as possible, evaluating all factors and intelligence inputs carefully, studying imagery data and compiling and organizing target information efficiently so that while nominating to the Commander and making recommendations there is absolutely no ambiguity. Target descriptions including composition, location, importance, imagery, graphics, construction—all of these are spelled out correctly and particularly for HVTs/HPTs their location, significance, all associations determined and influence with respect to the leaderships decision cycle/battle space situation.


  • Targeting Categories
  • HVTs/HPTs
  • Areas of Target value
  • Build a list of targets
  • Locational factors of each target
  • Associations of each target(COIN)
  • Social circles of each target (COIN)
  • Assess target significance/value
  • Determine whether to employ kinetic or non kinetic attack
  • Contribute to attack guidance
  • Assess effect of removal of targets on battle space
  • Create and maintain target folders
  • Decide on target intelligence requirements
  • Create target nomination list
  • Combat assessment
  • Update target folder based on combat assessments.
  • Contribute to IO
  • decide on restrike options

Evaluate the Threat

Determine threat intent, capabilities, vulnerabilities, possible courses of action and the most dangerous course of action.

It is of prime importance to study enemy activity and indicators to assess his capability to attack, defend, withdraw, reinforce. Focus on the intelligence gaps and this focus can determine the direction of collection of intelligence. Enemy activity patterns should be studied.

Factors influencing the intelligence product are the time available for collection, assets available, unit size, the intelligence requirements, AO features and the mission. The enemy, terrain, weather, local populace are taken into consideration. Identify:

  • Enemy Intent
  • Enemy Capability
  • HVT
  • HPT
  • G.
  • Critical areas: Capabilities,Requirements