Stephen Aftergood: US Army Field Manual 3-55 Information Collection

IO Impotency, Military
Steven Aftergood


An Army field manual published last week explains the Army's conduct of information collection activities in military operations.

“In this manual, the term ‘information collection' is introduced as the Army's replacement for ‘intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance' (also known as ISR),” the manual says.

“This publication clarifies how the Army plans, prepares, and executes information collection activities within or between echelons.”

“As the Army fields new formations and equipment with inherent and organic information collection capabilities, it needs a doctrinal foundation to ensure their proper integration and use to maximize their capabilities.”

See Information Collection, U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 3-55, April 23, 2012.


Intelligence is the product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign nations, hostile or potentially hostile forces or elements, or areas of actual or potential operations. (Page 1-1)

Reconnaissance, security, intelligence operations, and surveillance are the ways—with the means ranging from national and joint collection capabilities to individual Soldier observations and reports. The end is intelligence that supports commander’s decisionmaking. (Page 1-1)

The Army’s intelligence disciplines that contribute to intelligence operations are—
•  Counterintelligence.
•  Human intelligence.
•  Geospatial intelligence.
•  Measurement and signature intelligence.
•  Signals intelligence.
•  Technical intelligence. (Page 1-13)

IPB is one of the most important prerequisites to information collection planning. During IPB, staffs develop several key products that aid information collection planning. Those products include—
•  Threat characteristics.
•  Terrain overlays.
•  The weather effects matrix.
•  Enemy situational templates and course of action statements.
•  The enemy event template and matrix.
•  The high-payoff target list.
•  An updated intelligence estimate including identified information gaps. (Page 3-3)

4-10. Site exploitation is systematically searching for and collecting information, material, and persons from a designated location and analyzing them to answer information requirements, facilitate subsequent operations, or support criminal prosecution (ATTP 3-90.15). Refer to ATTP 3-90.15 for additional information on site exploitation.  (Page 4-6)

4-11. Site exploitation consists of a related series of activities to exploit personnel, documents, electronic data, and material captured, while neutralizing any threat posed by the items or contents. Units conduct site exploitation using one of two techniques: hasty and deliberate. Commanders chose the technique based on time available and the unit’s collection capabilities.  (Page 4-6)

Conduct Soldier sensor missions, as needed, to satisfy information requirements. (Page A-8)

Planning Tool for Resource, Integration, Synchronization, and Management (PRISM), a subsystem of collection management mission application, is a Web-based management and synchronization tool used to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of theater operations. PRISM creates a collaborative environment for resource managers, collection managers, exploitation managers, and customers. (Page C-3)

Community on-line intelligence system for end users and managers (known as COLISEUM) is a database application which allows the user to identify and track the status of all validated crisis and noncrisis intelligence production requirements. (Page C-4)

C-39. In addition to working with U.S. government agencies, unified action involves synchronizing joint or multinational military operations with activities of other government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and contractors. These organizations may have significant access, specialized knowledge, or insight and understanding of the local situation because of the nature of what they do. These organizations vary widely in their purposes, interests, and ability or willingness to cooperate with the information-gathering activities of U.S. forces. It is often preferable to simply cultivate a relationship that enables the exchange of information without revealing specific requirements. (Page C-7)

There is no single intelligence doctrine for multinational operations. Each coalition or alliance must develop its own unique procedures. Refer to JP 2-01 for more information on the intelligence considerations for multinational operations.  (Page C-7)

In most multinational operations, U.S. forces share intelligence with foreign military forces and receive intelligence from those forces. Unique intelligence policy and criteria are tailored to each multinational operation. In some multinational operations or campaigns, existing international standardization agreements may provide a basis for establishing rules and policies for conducting joint intelligence operations. Since each multinational operation is unique, such agreements may have to be modified or amended based on the situation. Policy and procedures are tailored based on theater guidance and national policy as contained in DODD 5230.11. Staffs never disclose classified information automatically. Any disclosure must be consistent with U.S. national policy and U.S. military objectives, be done with security assurances in place, present a clearly defined U.S. advantage, and be limited to only necessary information.
(Page C-8)

US Army FM 3-55

Phi Beta Iota:  Of note are the move away from Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance (ISR), substituting Information Collection.  A paranoid intelligence professional might interpret this as DoD preparing to break completely from “national intelligence.”  Also of note is the emphasis on “site exploitation,” perhaps a migration of the SOF practices modernized by then MajGen Mike Flynn.  Now if Army were to actually put intelligence specialists into every unit down to the platoon level, that would be most interesting.  Also of note is the emphasis on organic collection, and the absence of any reference to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT).  Finally we note with concern that evidently the US Army does not think that civilian information requirements are worthy of mention, and that in those rare instances that a non-governmental individual might be worth cultivating, an “informal relationship” is recommended, i.e. out of channels, out of HUMINT, and completely off the books.  This publication appears to reflect both a cultural shift within the US Army, and a lack of attention by the G-2 of the US Army.

Financial Liberty at Risk-728x90