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The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection

The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection

Edited by:

An all-new groundbreaking title on Intelligence Collection

January 2015 | 264 pages | CQ Press

Leading intelligence experts Mark M. Lowenthal and Robert M. Clark bring together an all new, groundbreaking title. The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection describes, in non-technical terms, the definition, history, process, management, and future trends of each intelligence collection source (INT). Authoritative and non-polemical, this book is the perfect teaching tool for classes addressing various types of collection. Chapter authors are past or current senior practitioners of the INT they discuss, providing expert assessment of ways particular types of collection fit within the larger context of the U.S. Intelligence Community. This volume shows all-source analysts a full picture of how to better task and collaborate with their collection partners, and gives intelligence collectors an appreciation of what happens beyond their “stovepipes,” as well as a clear assessment of the capabilities and limitations of INT collection.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Some Important Definitions  
Eliot A. Jardines
Chapter 2: Open Source Intelligence
Defining Open Source Intelligence  
History of OSINT  
How OSINT Is Managed  
Who Produces OSINT?  
International OSINT  
Private Sector OSINT  
Types of Targets OSINT Works Best Against  
Future Trends in OSINT  
Michael Althoff
Chapter 3: HUMINT
What It Is  
How HUMINT is Managed  
Foreign Collectors of HUMINT  
Best Targets  
Future Trends  
William N. Nolte
Chapter 4: Signals Intelligence: Continuing Evolution
SIGINT: The Cryptologic Base  
From Morse Code to the First World War  
The First World War  
The Continued Evolution of SIGINT: The Interwar Years  
The Evolution of SIGINT: The Second World War  
SIGINT in the Cold War  
SIGINT: An Assessment  
The Information Revolutions and SIGINT: Computers, the Internet, and Cyber  
Darryl Murdock and Robert M. Clark
Chapter 5: GEOINT
GEOINT Defined  
A History of GEOINT  
GEOINT’s Main Attributes or Components  
How GEOINT is Managed  
International GEOINT  
The Types of Intelligence Targets Against Which it Works Best  
John L. Morris and Robert M. Clark
Chapter 6: MASINT
MASINT Defined  
A History of MASINT  
MASINT’s Main Sub-elements or Components  
How MASINT is Managed  
International MASINT  
The Types of Intelligence Targets Against Which MASINT Works Best  
Chapter 7: Managing Collection

The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection fills a real need for a basic guide to the key intelligence disciplines.  It will be especially useful to intelligence practitioners and users of intelligence who need to know how intelligence is collected as well as the strengths and limitations of collection methods. Those who teach intelligence and national security issues, as I do, will find this book of immense utility. Lowenthal and Clark are extremely well qualified to compile this work because both are "insider" career intelligence professionals of the highest order who know their subject.”

R. Heitchue
The Bush School of Government and Public Service

“Lowenthal and Clark have done us a major service with this edited work. By organizing it around the five major intelligence “disciplines” (human, signals, geospatial, measurement and signature, and open source), they show us how each has developed over time, in collecting and analyzing information, in support of U.S. national security. Though all the authors have technical expertise, the work is clearly written and is accessible to a wide variety of audiences, including students, novice analysts, policymakers, and even the public, who need to understand the strengths—and limitations—of intelligence. I highly recommend it.”

Mark T. Clark, Ph.D.
National Security Studies and Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence
Key features


  • Well-qualified authors explain how the disciplines are managed—a critical necessity for any customer, analyst, collector, or teacher seeking to understand how the discipline is organized and how its unique processes develop intelligence.
  • A description of the collection discipline’s evolution, from its history to its traditions, provides readers with an essential disciplinary background.
  • Each chapter looks at the types of targets the collection discipline works best against, and evaluates their advantages and limitations.
  • Future trends are analyzed to help readers understand the discipline today and determine where its future.


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 6

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