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the totality of measures taken by the military command on all levels to collect information concerning the state, activity, and intentions of enemy troops, as well as the terrain, radiation and chemical conditions, and other information necessary to develop a comprehensive evaluation of the situation and to make correct decisions.
The development of the equipment and methods of military intelligence is closely related to changes in the methods of warfare and military operations. With the refinement of the latter, military intelligence has continuously increased in importance. Before the 19th century, when battlefields and armies were relatively limited in size, the commander could personally observe the enemy and evaluate their activity. Intelligence at that time consisted mainly of sending agents before the battle behind enemy lines to determine the intentions and strength of the enemy. In the 19th century the use of mass armies, the increase in the scale of combat, and the changes in the nature of warfare greatly expanded the functions of military intelligence. As a result, military intelligence became a constant necessity, enabling the commander in chief or a commander to make well-timed and correct decisions and to implement them. The appearance of nuclear arms, missiles, and space weapons, the development of conventional weapons, and the increased technology available to ground and naval forces still further expanded the missions of military intelligence; and its importance in general combat, specific operations, or the war as a whole increased immeasurably.
Military intelligence is obtained by means of airplanes; submarines; surface vessels; radar; radio-interception and direction-finding equipment; optical, illumination, sonar, magnetic, and thermal devices; photographic and television apparatus; infrared equipment; indicators and measurement instruments for radiation, chemical, and bacteriological intelligence; and, in foreign armies, weather and reconnaissance satellites and drones. Depending on the scope of the mission, intelligence is classified as strategic, operational, and tactical.
Strategic intelligence is conducted constantly in peacetime and in war. It is organized by a higher command to obtain information on the economic war potential of a probable enemy and on their plans and intentions, as well as information necessary to prepare the country for defense and for war and strategic operations. The most important function of strategic intelligence is the study of the enemy’s forces (composition, armament, disposition, training, and state of military science and equipment), the economic and morale capabilities of the enemy country or countries, and the preparation and organization of military theaters.
Operational intelligence is organized by the commanders and staffs of operational commands of the armed services to obtain the information on the enemy and on the military theater necessary to conduct successful operations and to employ most effectively all the combat arms. The most important missions of operational intelligence are (1) the disclosure of the designs and plans of the enemy and of the composition, disposition, and activity of the main enemy groupings in the zone of action of the commands and on the flanks and (2) the discovery of new methods of enemy warfare.
Tactical intelligence is organized by the commanders and staffs of units of all sizes in order to correctly plan and successfully wage combat. The chief missions of tactical intelligence are to ascertain the composition, armament, morale, type of activity, and groupings of the opposing enemy forces and to discover their intentions. All combat arms participate in carrying out these missions. The intelligence agencies of the staffs of the commands and larger units closely direct the activity of reconnaissance subunits and plan the gathering of intelligence. The commanders and staffs report the information on the enemy, terrain, and so forth to the superior staff and communicate it to subordinate commanders and staffs as well as to the staffs of adjacent units.
Depending on the mission, the forces, and the methods used to obtain intelligence information, intelligence may be divided into such major categories as agent, special, space, aerial, radio, radio-engineering, radar, naval, army, artillery, radiation, chemical, bacteriological, and engineer intelligence.
Space intelligence in foreign armies is carried out with the help of reconnaissance and weather satellites. It is strategic and operational in scope. Space intelligence makes it possible to survey large land and sea areas in a short time, detect the launching of land- and sea-based missiles, and transmit the information to intelligence-collection points on the ground. Space intelligence uses survey photography for large areas and detail photography to obtain small-scale pictures, making it possible to detect small stationary and moving targets. Satellites equipped with radio and electronic reconnaissance devices can detect the location of ground radio and radar stations.
Aerial intelligence is conducted by means of special piloted airplanes and helicopters that are included in the armament of the air force, navy, and ground troops. In addition, it is carried out by all aviation categories in the course of their basic combat missions. Aerial intelligence employs visual observation, aerial photography, and a variety of special instruments.
Naval intelligence is conducted by the submarine and surface forces of the navy by means of various technical instruments for observation, interception, and direction finding. In their intelligence operations foreign navies widely use reconnaissance-diversionary and reconnaissance-diver subunits.
Army intelligence is conducted by units of all sizes and of all combat arms of the ground forces, including motorized rifle, armor, and artillery troops, as well as by special forces and services, such as engineer and chemical troops. Army intelligence obtains important information by questioning prisoners, deserters, and local inhabitants. An important part of army intelligence is reconnaissance in force, or the action of reconnaissance subunits to capture prisoners, documents, and specimens of weapons and military equipment. The struggle against certain types of enemy intelligence—mainly agent intelligence—is conducted by counterintelligence.
The successful fulfillment of armed forces intelligence missions in all types of combat activity is achieved through close coordination of all the means and methods of intelligence, thorough organization, and prompt study of the information obtained.
S. N. PATRIKEEV