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NATO OSINT Handbook

NATO OSINT Handbook

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NATO OSINT Handbook
NATO OSINT Handbook

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Published by: National Security Internet Archive on Oct 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/19/2014

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Open information sources are as easy for
NATO leadership to access as they are for
their intelligence staffs. No longer are
intelligence staffs in a position to regulate
the flow of relevant information to the
commander or his staff. Virtually all
decision-makers make regular use of open

sources to varying degrees. Knowledge of
those sources routinely consulted by the
staff principals is an important means with
which to stay ahead of their intelligence
needs.

Rather than attempting to stem the use of
open sources by the commander or his staff,
an effective OSINT effort facilitates it.
Intelligence staffs at both Strategic
Commands (SCs) have access to specialized
information retrieval tools and commercial
sources. In addition, both SCs are in a

position to provide training and advice on
the effective retrieval of information from
open sources. An OSINT process should
include the provision of validated
information sources for each issue that
affects the command. The provision of Link
Tables as well as quality assessments of

other information sources is an essential
OSINT product.

Typically, informed decision-makers make
reasoned requests for intelligence. While
not always the case, this statement generally
holds true. With an appreciation for what is
widely known, intelligence users will tend to
restrict their requests to that information
which they do not already have available to
them.

OSINT can support the direction phase of an

RESOLUTION

RESOLUTION

CONFLICT

CONFLICT

ESCALATION

ESCALATION

EMERGING

EMERGING

NORMAL

NORMAL

TRACK POLICY IMPLIMENTATION

REAL-TIME INFO TO UNITS
RAPID SUPPORT TO PUBLIC AFFAIRS
NON-NATO INTEL DISSEMINATION
PRODUCTS

FASTER DELIVERY OF PRODUCTS
ENHANCED SEARCHING
INCREASED DETAIL ON TARGET ISSUE

ALERTS
UNDERSTANDING OF THE CONFLICT
SUPPORT TO PUBLIC MEDIA CAMPAIGN

DETAILED ACCURATE INFORMATION
CONSISTENT REPORTING
SECURITY RELATED ALERTS

CONFLICT STAGE

INTEL USERS

UNIQUE OSINT
REQUIREMENTS

INTELLIGENCE STAFFS
POLICY STAFFS

POLITICAL
LEADERSHIP

PUBLIC
AFFAIRS

OPERATIONAL
FORCES

Figure 19 – Unique OSINT Requirements across the Conflict Spectrum

39

all-source intelligence effort through
discovery of an issue or providing context
with which to understand issues.

The intelligence problem varies depending
on the nature of the issue being addressed,
which elements of the staff are engaged and
what degree of information is required.
Figure 19 shows a representative range of
information products that a robust OSINT
capability can provide.

Assuming an OSINT capability is in place in
advance of a crisis, it is likely that the
leadership will have had access to quality
open source products prior to the onset of

mission requirements. In that case informed
RFIs can be expected. If there is no
familiarity with the issue, decision-makers
can be directed to either established OSINT
products or open sources of information that
can be made available through access to an
information portal such as a VPN of another
network. Finally, an OSINT collection
effort can be initiated to quickly produce
relevant background information. This
immediate OSINT effort will quickly
establish what is easily known about the
subject and guide the priorities for classified
collection and all-source production.

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