A category of intelligence comprising either individually or in combination all communications intelligence COMINTelectronic intelligence ELINTand foreign instrumentation signals intelligencehowever transmitted. Intelligence derived from communications, electronic, and foreign instrumentation signals.
Disciplines shared across the branches[ edit ] Targeting[ edit ] A collection system has to know to look for a particular signal. Targeting is an output of the process of developing collection requirements: An intelligence need considered in the allocation of intelligence resources.
Within the Department of Defense, these collection requirements fulfill the essential elements of information and other intelligence needs of a commander, or an agency.
An established intelligence need, validated against the appropriate allocation of intelligence resources as a requirement to fulfill the essential elements of information and other intelligence needs of an intelligence consumer.
Basic countermeasures against interception include frequent changing of radio frequencypolarizationand other transmission characteristics. An intercept aircraft could not get off the ground if it had to carry antennas and receivers for every possible frequency and signal type to deal with such countermeasures.
Triangulation and more sophisticated radio location techniques, such as time of arrival methods, require multiple receiving points at different locations. These receivers send location-relevant information to a central point, or perhaps to a distributed system in which all participate, such that the information can be correlated and a location computed.
Even if some platforms are clandestine, there is still a broadcast of information telling them where and how to look for signals. Before the detailed process of targeting begins, someone has to decide there is a value in collecting information about something. While it would be possible to direct signals intelligence collection at a major sports event, the systems would capture a great deal of noise, news signals, and perhaps announcements in the stadium.
If, however, an anti-terrorist organization believed that a small group would be trying to coordinate their efforts, using short-range unlicensed radios, at the event, SIGINT targeting of radios of that type would be reasonable.
Targeting would not know where in the stadium the radios might be located, or the exact frequency they are using; those are the functions of subsequent steps such as signal detection and direction finding.
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Once the decision to target is made, the various interception points need to cooperate, since resources are limited. Knowing what interception equipment to use becomes easier when a target country buys its radars and radios from known manufacturers, or is given them as military aid. National intelligence services keep libraries of devices manufactured by their own country and others, and then use a variety of techniques to learn what equipment is acquired by a given country.
Knowledge of physics and electronic engineering further narrows the problem of what types of equipment might be in use.
An intelligence aircraft flying well outside the borders of another country will listen for long-range search radars, not short-range fire control radars that would be used by a mobile air defense.
Soldiers scouting the front lines of another army know that the other side will be using radios that must be portable and not have huge antennas. Signal detection[ edit ] Even if a signal is human communications e.
If the targeting function described above learns that a country has a radar that operates in a certain frequency range, the first step is to use a sensitive receiver, with one or more antennas that listen in every direction, to find an area where such a radar is operating.
Once the radar is known to be in the area, the next step is to find its location. Simplified spectrum analyzer display of superheterodynedamplitude modulated signals.
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