Centralized Requirements in the DIA

22 SEPT 93


Real unification in the guidance of military intelligence collection.


Lowell E. May

The Defense Intelligence Agency, organized in the fall of 1961, includes a Directorate for Acquisition which is responsible for functions relating to intelligence collection. With respect to community-wide programs this responsibility means representation on the four USIB committees devoted to collection problems (the CCPC, SIGINT, IPC, and COMDR), management of the Foreign Materiel Exploitation Program, and participation in interagency activities such as the Travel Folder Program and special collection projects. With respect to Department of Defense intelligence collection, it means a centralized processing of all requirements.

This latter function is performed by the Directorate's Office of Requirements. This office is responsible for validating the requirements and assigning relative collection priorities. It allocates and levies them for collection action. It maintains a Central Requirements Registry. It prepares and publishes requirements manuals and related guidance documents. It provides the DoD items for inclusion in interagency requirements programs as on travel, clandestine procurement, and the several kinds of technical collection.

The Office of Requirements also provides the secretariat and staff work for a DIA Priorities Board which has established a standard for the assignment of collection priorities, in consonance with the Priority National Intelligence Objectives, called the Defense Intelligence Collection Requirements Priority Assignment Base. PACOM, EUCOM and LANTCOM are using the Base for assigning priorities to requirements originating in their commands and levied directly on their components. The other unified and specified commands will be using it as they centralize their processing of requirements: An Ad Hoc Priorities Panel of the Board meets weekly to review extant requirements in the light of current USIB Watch Reports, Special National Intelligence Estimates, and developments of immediate import in order to insure that priorities assigned particular requirements are consistent with national and DoD interests.

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The Integration of Requirements

In the development of the centralized requirements program those existing in the Services were carefully considered. Each Service had general and specific requirements and related guidance material, though requirements and guidance were intermingled in various combinations and a variety of terms were used to describe them. Each had organized its material differently, but the substance was much the same in all. They were unanimous, for example, in their interest in early warning, missiles, atomic energy, and electronics. Centralization of these separate service programs was not a mere linking of them as it were in a confederation. The best features of each were adopted for an integrated, single program.

The integrated program, designed to satisfy the needs of all DoD intelligence activities and using a consistent terminology throughout, has already eliminated considerable duplication and reduced very substantially the number of Defense Department requirements documents. When fully developed it will replace all Service guidance documents in the field. The new media for the guidance of collection are three:

The Defense Intelligence Collection Requirements Manual, which states general requirements.

Defense Intelligence Collection Guides, which develop information needs related to general requirements in the Manual.

Specific Intelligence Collection Requirements, which levy specific requirements for collection action.

The Manual. Published in August 1962, the Manual is the cornerstone of the requirements program. All general requirements for which Defense has collection responsibility, previously stated in 61 separate requirements documents, are consolidated in this single volume. It provides a stable basis for collection activities by all elements of the DoD intelligence structure. It serves as the framework both for the planning and for the management of collection. Each requirement is keyed, for management purposes, to the Intelligence Subject Code used in DoD, as elsewhere in the community, in registering requirements and in evaluating and retrieving reported information.

The Manual lists world-wide requirements, defining the scope of information desired on each subject. It gives current guidance with respect to selected requirements at the beginning of each of its seven chapters. It carries a summary of the Priorities Assignment Base established by the DIA Priorities Board and a detailed table of priorities by subject and area, enabling collectors to focus their efforts on first things first. It lists requirements scheduled for periodic coverage or levied to meet specific one-time production needs.

The Guides. Particularizing on the general requirements of the Manual, the Guides are being issued and consolidated in a series of loose-leaf binders keyed to the chapters of the Manual. Some will be brief, others more detailed according to the complexity of the subject. In planning them, conferences were held with the Services and seventeen subjects selected as embracing their priority needs. Consultation with the Services has continued and Service contributions to the Guides have been received, but the primary responsibility for contributions has now shifted to the new DIA Production Center. Guide production programmed in FY 1964 will cover all subjects on which DoD collectors need guidance.

Guidance on Factory Markings has been issued as a part of a Military Economics binder, superseding an Army Intelligence Collection Manual, a Navy Guide, and an Air Force Manual devoted to the subject. A Guide on Chemical-Biological-Radiological Warfare, one section of a Scientific and Technical binder, has superseded an Army Pamphlet, two Navy Guides and an Air Force Manual. Guides on early warning indicators, military weapons, electronics, telecommunications, mapping and geodesy, ports and naval bases, coasts and landing areas, industrial recognition, and transportation are planned. When the long-range program is completed, 10 binders will replace 17 Army Guides, 27 Air Force Guides, and 6 Navy Guides, plus Navy guidance covering 52 separate subjects. The entire Guides series and the Manual will occupy a little more than one cubic foot of file space when completed.

Specific requirements. Uniform policies and procedures have been prescribed for the processing of all specific requirements, and a single form has replaced the three separate Army, Navy, and Air Force forms. Standard terminology has been adopted to distinguish between a request for information, which might be satisfied by referral to an existing store of intelligence data, and a collection requirement, which can be satisfied only through collection action. The former is referred to production elements for satisfaction through research. If the production element is unable to satisfy the request, it writes a requirement for the collection of the information.

Such requests for information may be submitted to DIA through appropriate channels by any user of intelligence. They are submitted directly by the unified and specified commands, other DoD agencies, and the other agencies of the intelligence community. But collection requirements are submitted directly only by headquarters of the Services and non-DoD intelligence agencies in Washington. All collection requirements originating in or addressed to the Defense Department are processed as described below through DIA, specifically in the Office of Requirements, for levy on DoD or non-DoD agencies.

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The Validation Process

When a specific requirement arrives in Acquisition, it is assigned a number and put under machine control in the Central Requirements Registry. Validation officers then check it for duplication, adequacy of research, consistency with originator's field of responsibility, and specificity and clarity. Each validated collection requirement is assigned a collection priority and allocated for levy on appropriate collection activities. Collection, reporting, dissemination, evaluation, and notification to cancel or continue collection complete the requirements control cycle.

The screening to eliminate duplication includes checking against the latest Registry IBM listing of current requirements, looking up any similar requirements in the Case File (to be described presently), coordinating with personnel in the geographic and special intelligence areas who may be handling similar requirements, checking lists of requirements or specific targets compiled for specialized interagency programs, and comparing, if a requirement borders on the genaral, with published general requirements.

Adequacy of research is controlled by requiring DoD agencies to indicate what research facilities have been consulted prior to their submission of the requirement. The validator, in the light of his experience and judgment, decides whether all appropriate facilities are included. If in his opinion the indicated ones are questionable or other likely ones are not included, he personally discusses the possibilities with the originating officer. This check, although it cannot be exhaustive, does assure that the minimum of required research has been done. Moreover, it acquaints originators, over a period of time, with the fact that their requests are subject to careful scrutiny in this respect, and it builds up a knowledge in the validating officers of what repositories hold different types of information.

When it is evident that research has not been adequate the requirement is not validated for collection but forwarded as a request for information to the appropriate research facility for reply to the originator. If it is not fully satisfied by the research results the originator may resubmit his remaining requirement for collection.

The validator assures himself that the essence of the requirement is stated specifically enough to be understood by the collector. Normally he reformulates it only if he has information which will help the collectors understand or fulfill it better. In some cases he may have collection information, perhaps concerning transitory opportunities, of which the originator could have no knowledge.

Approved requirements are validated, a collection priority assigned, and allocation for collection levy determined from the collection capability inventory. Requirements not validated are returned to the originator with a complete statement of the reasons, sometimes with the information requested or a notation of where it can be found.

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Control Devices

Case Files are maintained on all specific requirements processed. These contain a copy of the requirement, the internal routing sheet which records all the processing data on it, copies of any correspondence with the originator, notation of significant reports in response to the requirement, and extracts from the originator's evaluation of the response. The Case Files, containing thus the life history of each specific requirement, are located centrally for reference. Special card files are maintained on collection requirements related to photographic reconnaissance objectives.

The Central Requirements Registry exercises centralized control of all Department of Defense collection requirements and provides a standard system for the registration and control of requirements in the Services and unified and specified commands. The Registry maintains machine control records on both general and specific requirements on an all-source basis. The Divisions of DIA supply the data needed on each specific requirement for recording on IBM punch cards. Card decks are exchanged with the unified commands and other intelligence agencies. Machine listings of all active requirements are compiled both periodically and on request.

IBM punch cards, prepared and updated as changes occur, are manipulated automatically to print out data organized for use in research, validation, and management. Listings may be made by priority, country, subject, or collector, as well as numerically or chronologically by date of receipt or expiration.

The format for machine registry of requirements evolved from meetings held with CIA soon after the office of Requirements was activated. The coordinated format insures compatibility with any future National Registry. It accommodates the control number, country code, Intelligence Subject Code, classification, a subject brief, collection priority, expiration date, collectors, and other Registry data on the status of the requirement. Consecutive numbers are assigned, DIA using the first 50,000 and CIA the next 50,000.

A suitably ordered requirements listing produced monthly for originators as a bookkeeping ledger permits them to identify and eliminate or update old and obsolete requirements. It thus becomes a management tool throughout the Department of Defense. It enables collection managers to direct collection assets toward the highest priority needs, and it aids the unified and specified commands in the control of requirements originated by or submitted to them for collection.

The Directorate for Acquisition reviews all incoming intelligence reports which refer to DIA control numbers to determine which requirements have been satisfied and can therefore be canceled. Concurrence of the originator prior to cancellation is obtained in each instance.

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Gains and Prospects

The channeling of the requirements flow through one clearing house has reduced duplication of effort to a minimum. The total of specific requirements levied has been held low and fairly steady, indicating on one hand a conscientious research effort on the part of originators and on the other a continuing need for centralized validation. The direct channel created between DIA and the unified and specified commands has improved the handling of their intelligence requirements. A system has also been developed to insure that the intelligence collection needs of these commands will be met in time of war.

As the nerve center for intelligence requirements, the Office of Requirements can often anticipate the need for levying specific requirements and take the initiative in soliciting and consolidating them in order to minimize last-minute emergency collection. Weekly reviews of requirements provide that higher collection priorities are assigned when warranted by changing conditions.

The unified requirements program has been developed within the relatively short time since the activation of the DIA. Experience with the system has shown how important, even imperative, it is that all requirements, regardless of security classification, be registered, validated, assigned priorities, and allocated by a central office if collection resources are to be fully and economically utilized.

At the other end of the cycle, it is also necessary that reported information be maintained in codified files for ready access and retrieval against users' needs; and the availability of relevant information impinges directly on the validity of collection requirements. The ultimate goal is to tie together the requirements system and the storage and retrieval system in a common language. A contract project now under way is studying methods of linking the requirements processing to the storage and retrieval elements of Project 438L1 or any other system used in the military departments. Programs are being written for the 1410 and 7090 computers to process requirements and provide a collection evaluation system.

After the centralization of requirements processing, an expansion of related computer operations will be a principal factor in improving the efficiency of our operations. The consequent fuller use of our resources, in turn, will offer almost unlimited opportunities for further improvements in the processing systems.

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1 The Air Force Intelligence Data Handling System was described in a Studies article in 1959, 111 3, pp. 57-59.


Posted: May 08, 2007 07:51 AM
Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 03:07 PM