What is the most important aspect of Intelligence Collection Human Intelligence (HUMINT)?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

HUMINT and Intelligence collection are two separate things. HUMINT refers to human intelligence, which is the totality of potential acumen of information, cognition and abilities stored within our brains. Intelligence collection is a process of obtaining data and information related to a particular thing. The steps to the process in intelligence collection are:

  • planning and direction- what to collect and where to get it
  • collection- gathering of the data
  • processing- analyzing, categorizing, and studying the data
  • production- applying the data where it is needed
  • dissemination- conveying the data to the appropriate channels.

This being said, the most important part of intelligence collection is working without bias. When you are able to go to the appropriate channels without pre-determination you can collect more data because there are less limitations and parameters interrupting the objective gathering of information. Collection is a decision-making and problem solving process because you have to critically determine what is important and what is not. Hence, clearing your mind from all bias is the most important step to take prior to even coming near the data.

Contrastigly to intelligence collection, HUMINT occurs naturally and depends entirely on the capabilities of the individual to

  • listen to the information
  • store the information into short-term memory
  • internalize the information by building schema (making connections)
  • use the information and apply it in everyday activities
  • storing the information into long-term memory

This being stated, the most important aspect of HUMINT is perhaps the internalization of information and building schema. Building schema equates to building new memories and experiences. It entails making the connection to yourself, to something else, or to the world in general. Making that connection is essential to store data into long term memory; there is no other way of doing it. A person "learns by doing" and hence, internalizing information through activity is the most essential thing to do.

Therefore, intelligence collection in the process of acquiring data is basically the process of integrating information into our memory. It is through making connections that the information becomes relevant and makes sense.