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Signals Intelligence Defined

Signals Intelligence Defined

Intelligence is data gathered within or outside the U.S. that entails threats to our nation, its individuals, property, or pursuits; development, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction; and another matter bearing on the U.S. nationwide or homeland security. Intelligence can provide insights not available elsewhere that warn of potential threats and opportunities, assess probable outcomes of proposed policy options, provide leadership profiles on foreign officials, and inform official vacationers of counterintelligence and security threats.

The U.S. Intelligence Community is a federation of executive branch businesses and organizations that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities essential for the conduct of overseas relations and the protection of the national security of the United States. The IC remains focused on the missions of cyber intelligence, counterterrorism, counterproliferation, counterintelligence, and on the threats posed by state and non-state actors challenging U.S. national security and interests worldwide.

The National Security Act of 1947, as amended, defines the Intelligence Community's clients as:

The President
National Security Council
Heads of Departments and Agencies of the Executive Branch
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees and senior military commanders
Types of Intelligence
The intelligence cycle is a process of amassing information and creating it into intelligence to be used by IC customers. The steps within the process are direction, assortment, processing, exploitation, and dissemination.

IC products can either be based on a single type of assortment or "all-source," that is, primarily based upon all available types of collection. IC products also will be produced by one IC aspect or coordinated with different IC elements, and delivered to IC customers in varied codecs, together with papers, digital media, briefings, maps, graphics, videos, and different distribution methods.

There are six fundamental intelligence sources, or collection disciplines:

SIGINT—Signals intelligence is derived from signal intercepts comprising -- nevertheless transmitted -- either individually or in combination: all communications intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT) and foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT). The National Security Company is responsible for amassing, processing, and reporting SIGINT. The National SIGINT Committee within NSA advises the Director, NSA, and the DNI on SIGINT coverage issues and manages the SIGINT necessities system.

IMINT—Imagery Intelligence contains representations of objects reproduced electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display devices, or different media. Imagery will be derived from visual photography, radar sensors, and electro-optics. NGA is the manager for all imagery intelligence activities, each labeled and unclassified, within the government, including necessities, assortment, processing, exploitation, dissemination, archiving, and retrieval.

MASINT—Measurement and Signature Intelligence is data produced by quantitative and qualitative analysis of physical attributes of targets and events to characterize, find, and establish them. MASINT exploits a variety of phenomenologies, from a wide range of sensors and platforms, to help signature development and analysis, to carry out technical analysis, and to detect, characterize, locate and establish targets and events. MASINT is derived from specialized, technically-derived measurements of physical phenomenon intrinsic to an object or occasion and it consists of using quantitative signatures to interpret the data. The Director of DIA is both the "Intelligence Community Functional Manager for MASINT" and the "DOD MASINT Manager." The National MASINT Office (NMO) manages and executes MASINT services of widespread concern and related activities for the D/DIA in response to National and Department of Defense requirements.

HUMINT—Human intelligence is derived from human sources. To the public, HUMINT stays synonymous with espionage and clandestine activities; nevertheless, most of HUMINT assortment is performed by overt collectors reminiscent of strategic debriefers and military attaches. It's the oldest method for collecting data, and till the technical revolution of the mid- to late 20th century, it was the primary supply of intelligence.

OSINT—Open-Supply Intelligence is publicly available data showing in print or digital kind including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the Internet, commercial databases, and videos, graphics, and drawings. While open-supply collection responsibilities are broadly distributed by means of the IC, the key collectors are the DNI's Open Source Center (OSC) and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC).

GEOINT—Geospatial Intelligence is the evaluation and visual representation of security related activities on the earth. It's produced via an integration of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.

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