HUMINT side of Military Intelligence

HUMINT side of Military Intelligence (MI)

HUMINT is military intelligence gathered from human sources (as opposed to technical or signals intelligence). It’s not just information that military officers collect, but also people like spies or informants. These individuals are typically collecting military intelligence for their own country and share it with the military. HUMINT has evolved throughout history; however, there’s no denying that its role in today’s society is evolving as well.

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The evolving role of human intelligence collector in today’s society:

The human intelligence collector has always been an important part of society, but their role has changed over time. In ancient times, they were mainly responsible for gathering information about the enemy in order to help plan military strategy. In modern times, they play a more complex role in collecting and analyzing information to help protect national security. They may also be involved in human intelligence operations, which can include espionage, counterintelligence, and sabotage. Additionally, HUMINT is being used more and more to build relationships with foreign countries in order to gain intel about potential threats to our country.

Gathering of HUMINT information:

HUMINT is military intelligence gathered from human sources and is often defined as the “INT” that deals with free-ranging sources. The means and methods used to gather HUMINT information include many of those in which journalists also engage such as: interviewing, researching public records, examining physical evidence and documents (i.e.: telephone directories or company registrations), cross checking stories from other witnesses and so on. HUMINT can also be gathered through a mixture of overt or covert means, such as: interception of communication, surveillance (watching from a distance), infiltration into groups to gather information surreptitiously.

On the ground, HUMINT is gathered by military personnel in a variety of ways including interrogation (questioning), debriefing (similar to an interview) and monitoring individuals or groups for their interactions with others which might disclose information about intentions or activities. Most often this work will be carried out through face-to-face contact between HUMINT collectors and the sources. However, it may also be done by telephone or even email where appropriate (i.e.: in an international terrorism investigation).

Military HUMINT personnel are employed to perform specific tasks related to information gathering on adversaries during peacetime operations such as: counter-drug surveillance of maritime drug trafficking, counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency and peacekeeping operations.

Military HUMINT personnel are also employed in the performance of their regular duties during times when war has been declared (i.e.: when there is an active armed conflict). Operating under military command structures they act as advisors to commanders on matters related to information or intelligence. HUMINT provides information about adversaries’ capabilities which may include force structure and order of battle data; it can also identify vulnerabilities to strengths or weaknesses within adversary operational systems. HUMINT can provide information about the adversary’s intentions such as: what they plan to do (i.e.: attack or withdraw) and their beliefs; it also provides information that might be used by decision-makers regarding how to respond to an adversary threat.

Military HUMINT Collectors:

Military MOS 35M and 35L are HUMINT collectors. They conduct and manage human intelligence operations to collect information from human sources.

Military MOS 35M is responsible for conducting interrogations of detainees and other persons suspected or known to have information pertaining to the enemy or its activities. This includes developing interrogation plans, strategies, techniques, and collection management plans.

Military MOS 35L is responsible for all-source intelligence analysis, including the evaluation of human source information. They also develop finished intelligence products and briefings for senior leaders. Additionally, they establish and manage HUMINT collector operations and tasking requirements.

Both of these Military MOS are essential to providing military intelligence.

HUMINT Spies and Informants:

In addition to the Military MOS, there are also HUMINT spies or informants. These are civilians who voluntarily provide information to the military about their knowledge of the enemy. They can be from many different backgrounds, including: business people, scientists, students, and refugees.

One example of a civilian HUMINT spy is Anna Chapman. She was a Russian national who was arrested in the United States for espionage. After being deported back to Russia, she became a celebrity and even competed on a Russian version of “Dancing with the Stars”.

Espionage, Counterintelligence, and Sabotage:

HUMINT can also be used for espionage and sabotage. Spies or informants, such as Anna Chapman mentioned above, use HUMINT methods to gather information from the enemy in order to provide it back to their own side (i.e.: they are spies on both sides). In some cases, this type of work is sanctioned by a government, while in other cases it is done illegally.

Counterintelligence is the activity of preventing espionage, sabotage, or assassination by identifying and neutralizing these threats. It also includes protecting classified information and equipment from unauthorized access or theft.

Sabotage is the deliberate destruction, damage, or alteration of something so that it cannot be used. This can be done to equipment, supplies, or information.

All of these activities are essential in order to provide military intelligence. Without HUMINT, the military would be at a disadvantage in gathering information about the enemy.

Building Relationships With Foreign Countries:

One of the main purposes of HUMINT is to build relationships with foreign countries. This allows the military to gather information from these countries, as well as gain an understanding of their culture and customs.

In order to do this effectively, the military must use different methods such as: engaging in cultural exchanges, providing humanitarian assistance, and conducting military training exercises.

All of these activities help to build trust between the military and the foreign country. This, in turn, allows for a better flow of information between the two sides.

Interception, Surveillance, and Infiltration:

In addition to using HUMINT spying techniques, the military also intercepts communication from foreign countries in order to learn about them. This can be done with electronic surveillance (i.e.: wiretapping) or by putting a spy into a group of people who are communicating with each other.

Some examples of this include collecting information on the location of a terrorist cell or intercepting communications between two countries during a time of war.

All of these activities are essential to understanding the enemy and providing military intelligence. Without them, it would be difficult for the military to gather enough information in order to effectively plan operations against an opposing force.


Military MOS 35M are responsible for conducting interrogations of detainees and other persons suspected or known to have information pertaining to the enemy. They conduct interrogations in order to gather intelligence on their adversary, which will help them provide military intelligence back to senior leaders.

The process begins by developing an interrogation plan, which includes the objectives for the interrogation, who will be present during this event, and how information obtained from it will be used.

If an informant is being interrogated by Military MOS 35M, they are known as a “source” instead of a detainee. This process requires that the source remain calm throughout their experience in order to gain the most accurate information.

After the interrogation is conducted, the Military MOS 35M will provide a debriefing to their superiors. This is an overview of what was learned during the interrogation and how it can be used to further military intelligence efforts.

In order to effectively gather information about the enemy, the military must use all of the tools at its disposal. HUMINT is a critical part of this process and plays a vital role in providing military intelligence to our leaders.

Monitoring Individuals or Groups:

Military MOS 35M are responsible for monitoring individuals or groups of people. This is done in order to identify changes in behavior that might indicate a threat, such as terrorism.

The Military MOS 35M conducts surveillance and may also employ technical devices during this process. These tools help to monitor an individual’s movements and activities which can then be used to provide military intelligence.

In order to be effective, the Military MOS 35M must have a good understanding of human behavior. This allows them to identify changes in an individual’s behavior that might indicate a threat.

All-Source Intelligence Analysis:

Military MOS 35L are also responsible for intelligence analysis. This process involves examining all-source data and using it to provide a detailed understanding of the enemy.

The information that’s gathered is analyzed in order to reveal important patterns, which can then be used to develop an effective military strategy against them.

This is a complex process that requires the use of various skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving.

The Military MOS 35L must also be able to effectively communicate their findings to other members of the intelligence community.

All-source intelligence analysis is essential in order to provide military leaders with the information they need to make informed decisions.

HUMINT military training:

Just as with other military intelligence disciplines, HUMINT training is critical to success in the field. Trainees learn how to collect and analyze information from human sources, as well as how to protect their own safety and that of their sources. They also learn how to build relationships with people in order to gain access to sensitive information.

This training includes:

– How to identify and mitigate insider threats in the field.

– Advanced interrogation techniques.

– The role of HUMINT in counterintelligence missions and operations, including how to avoid or respond to cyber security risks when collecting information online.

Other skills that are necessary in order for a military intelligence officer to be successful include foreign language proficiency and a high level of security clearances.


The role of HUMINT in today’s society is evolving. Now more than ever, military intelligence needs to rely on the person-to-person connection between a soldier and an informant or spy for information gathering efforts. In this day and age, it will be difficult for any country to win a war without strong HUMINT capabilities. Countries that want to build up their HUMINT need people with the right skillset who are willing to do what it takes. This doesn’t mean becoming a trained agent; instead, you may have some valuable knowledge about your community which could prove beneficial when working as a civilian source of information collection during conflicts abroad!

Thank you for reading, and be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information on subject such as – PSYOPS: Propaganda, Censorship, and Disinformation, Military Intelligence: What You Need to Know, and Betrayal: The Reasons Why People Turn

Photo By: U.S. Army releases new interrogation manual


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