Free Essay on Intelligence: MASINT, OSINT, and HUMINT

Published: 2022-06-07
Free Essay on Intelligence: MASINT, OSINT, and HUMINT
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Intelligence services
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1084 words
10 min read

Use and Capabilities of MASINT, OSINT, and HUMINT

Although signals information (SIGINT) was reliable in combating terrorist bombing activities in New York and India, the use of intelligence information from open sources could have been reliable in unraveling the terrorist bombing plots. Information from OSINT could have been collected from published newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, books, and information shared over the internet radio and television broadcasts. Information from OSINT requires an in-depth analysis because they provide significant leads to terrorist activities. The analysis also requires decoding of the data into understandable language. The use of human intelligence (HUMINT) under unofficial cover could help in averting terrorist plans (Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 2009). The intelligence personnel under unofficial cover possess expert skills in intelligence collection and diverse language competence.

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Additionally, intelligence officers under HUMINT are capable of providing undercover reports on the bombing plans by terrorist hence allowing responsible agencies such as Central Intelligence Agency to act on the information provided once its credibility is determined. HUMINT could have averted the threat of bombing the New York subway. The Measurement and Signatures Analysis (MASINT) is also an appropriate intelligence gathering approach in the case of bombing America and its allies. MASINT utilizes information collected from Image Intelligence sensors (IMINT) and SIGINT under Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). MASINT provides reliable intelligence because a specialized team undertakes a thorough technical evaluation.

Information Collected by MASINT, OSINT, and HUMINT

MASINT provides intelligence that supports military operations regarding the location of enemy weaponry. Radar and acoustic MASINT is used to sense and locate enemy artilleries, warships, and submarines. More so, chemical sensors are used to identify chemical agents that can be used in warfare including explosives. Therefore, the primary information provided by MASINT includes details on enemy location and location of bombs. MASINT also contains factual information on geographical mapping, and weather forecast to help the DIA in proper planning of military missions (Chesney, 2012).

Open source Intelligence, on the other hand, provides information on reported terrorist activities by various media groups as well as trending military and terrorist activities on the online platforms. The information on military and terrorist activities collected under OSINT supplements classified detail analyzed by MASINT supporting the data collected by the other intelligence agencies. HUMINT under unofficial cover provides information on terrorist plans and nature of their organization such as networking. Unofficial undercover personnel give first-hand information on terrorist organizations because they can interact and work along with them.

Limitations of MASINT, OSINT, and HUMINT

MASINT requires highly qualified personnel in computer science, engineering, and information technology because it involves the use of sophisticated analytical tools to assess the information available on IMINT and SIGINT database. MASINT also requires expertise on spectral imaging which is costly. The capability of DIA and DOD to retain this class of personnel is hard because they are offered better remuneration in private sectors. In general, it is costly to educate and train officers to work in MASINT when the state government is considering cutting on its budget (Heidenrich, 2008). The future of MASINT application is limited because it is complicated to the intelligence community hence not easily understood like other intelligence disciplines. The credibility of information collected by OSINT is questionable because there is an increasing trend of the information shared on the internet.

Information overload from open sources makes it difficult to identify reliable facts. It is challenging to handle classified information overload effectively. It is also costly to train personnel in using OSINT technology. Open sources are also competitively used by the terrorists to educate their outlawed groups and raise funds compromising the value of open sources over classified information obtained from HUMINT (Heidenrich, 2008). The credibility of HUMINT intelligence is also questionable because recently the intelligence personnel has been conspiring with terrorists, weapon and drug smugglers across the borders. There is also a deficit of trained persons who are competent in using different language.

Steps for Analyzing Information in INT's

The first step in analyzing information is through planning and directing priorities. At the stage of the plan, a specific INT is selected and support technology identified with clear objectives. After, planning, then there is a collection of information technical or human means such as HUMINT, OSINT, IMINT, SIGINT or MASINT. The information is then processed through interpretation, translation, and conversion into the consumable level for intelligence users. At this stage, assessment focuses on facts findings and situation forecast on the outcome of events (Chesney, 2012). During analysis, the INT personnel should be free from analytical misconception to ensure the evaluated results are value adding to national operations. Finally, the information is disseminated to specific agencies in the stated official format to facilitate necessary action through coordination of agencies.

Gaps in Collection Capabilities and Strength of Intelligence Community

HUMINT provides crucial information regarding enemy plans but lack scientific accuracy because the information provided is subjective. MASINT works as a scientific solution to intelligence accuracy and speed of reporting and call for action. MASINT has developed and improved in sophistication as countries have started pursuing weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear arsenals. It is difficult for HUMINT, IMINT, and SIGINT to gather information on acquisition and to test atomic weapons. However, Nuclear MASINT and Radar MASINT provide accurate information about the nature of the nuclear arsenal such as the shooting range and designs.

Additionally, acoustic MASINT, a sub-discipline of MASINT empowers the military to collect details on submarine ballistic missiles. Therefore, intelligence community continues to be a great intelligence collector because of the improved ability of MASINT enhanced computing and assessment capacity. More so, SIGINT, HUMINT, and IMINT create a robust information gathering technique because it follows human expressed senses. For instance, SIGINT is believed to the ears of the American intelligence, IMINT eyes of American intelligence while HUMINT the eyes and ears of information (Federation of American Scientists, 1996).


Chesney, R. (2012). Military-intelligence convergence and the law of the title 10/title 50 debate. Journal of National Security Law & Policy. 14(1-19), 539-628. Retrieved from

Federation of American Scientists (1996). The evolution of the U.S. intelligence community: An historical overview. Retrieved from

Heidenrich, J.G. (2008) the state of strategic intelligence: The intelligence community's neglect of strategic intelligence. Retrieved

Office of the Director of National Intelligence (2009). U.S. defense intelligence strategy, 2009. Retrieved from:

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