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The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection

The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection

Edited by:

An all-new groundbreaking title on Intelligence Collection

January 2015 | 264 pages | CQ Press

Leading intelligence experts Mark M. Lowenthal and Robert M. Clark bring together an all new, groundbreaking title. The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection describes, in non-technical terms, the definition, history, process, management, and future trends of each intelligence collection source (INT). Authoritative and non-polemical, this book is the perfect teaching tool for classes addressing various types of collection. Chapter authors are past or current senior practitioners of the INT they discuss, providing expert assessment of ways particular types of collection fit within the larger context of the U.S. Intelligence Community. This volume shows all-source analysts a full picture of how to better task and collaborate with their collection partners, and gives intelligence collectors an appreciation of what happens beyond their “stovepipes,” as well as a clear assessment of the capabilities and limitations of INT collection.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Some Important Definitions


Eliot A. Jardines
Chapter 2: Open Source Intelligence
Defining Open Source Intelligence

History of OSINT

How OSINT Is Managed

Who Produces OSINT?

International OSINT

Private Sector OSINT

Types of Targets OSINT Works Best Against

Future Trends in OSINT


Michael Althoff
Chapter 3: HUMINT
What It Is


How HUMINT is Managed

Foreign Collectors of HUMINT

Best Targets

Future Trends


William N. Nolte
Chapter 4: Signals Intelligence: Continuing Evolution
SIGINT: The Cryptologic Base

From Morse Code to the First World War

The First World War

The Continued Evolution of SIGINT: The Interwar Years

The Evolution of SIGINT: The Second World War

SIGINT in the Cold War

SIGINT: An Assessment

The Information Revolutions and SIGINT: Computers, the Internet, and Cyber


Darryl Murdock and Robert M. Clark
Chapter 5: GEOINT
GEOINT Defined

A History of GEOINT

GEOINT’s Main Attributes or Components

How GEOINT is Managed

International GEOINT

The Types of Intelligence Targets Against Which it Works Best


John L. Morris and Robert M. Clark
Chapter 6: MASINT

MASINT Defined

A History of MASINT

MASINT’s Main Sub-elements or Components

How MASINT is Managed

International MASINT

The Types of Intelligence Targets Against Which MASINT Works Best


Chapter 7: Managing Collection


The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection fills a real need for a basic guide to the key intelligence disciplines.  It will be especially useful to intelligence practitioners and users of intelligence who need to know how intelligence is collected as well as the strengths and limitations of collection methods. Those who teach intelligence and national security issues, as I do, will find this book of immense utility. Lowenthal and Clark are extremely well qualified to compile this work because both are "insider" career intelligence professionals of the highest order who know their subject.”

R. Heitchue
The Bush School of Government and Public Service

“Lowenthal and Clark have done us a major service with this edited work. By organizing it around the five major intelligence “disciplines” (human, signals, geospatial, measurement and signature, and open source), they show us how each has developed over time, in collecting and analyzing information, in support of U.S. national security. Though all the authors have technical expertise, the work is clearly written and is accessible to a wide variety of audiences, including students, novice analysts, policymakers, and even the public, who need to understand the strengths—and limitations—of intelligence. I highly recommend it.”

Mark T. Clark, Ph.D.
National Security Studies and Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence

The textbook provides a basic overview of the five Intelligence collection disciplines that is easily digestible for undergraduates and establishes a solid framework for students to then apply the information to case studies and practical exercises.

Dr Roberto Flores
Criminal Justice, Utah Valley University
September 30, 2022
Key features


  • Well-qualified authors explain how the disciplines are managed—a critical necessity for any customer, analyst, collector, or teacher seeking to understand how the discipline is organized and how its unique processes develop intelligence.
  • A description of the collection discipline’s evolution, from its history to its traditions, provides readers with an essential disciplinary background.
  • Each chapter looks at the types of targets the collection discipline works best against, and evaluates their advantages and limitations.
  • Future trends are analyzed to help readers understand the discipline today and determine where its future.


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 6

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483381114

ISBN: 9781452217635