Effectiveness of Signals Intelligence

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Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) has access to many traditional and non-traditional dynamic elements that provide superior capabilities to collect and monitor visual, seismic, and acoustic signatures of motorized vehicles. SIGINT is the only system that can be operational and maintainable in any type of climate and terrain, which provides an advantage over the United States’ (U.S.) adversaries. The process of obtaining the intelligence starts with the collection of any type of signal, whether it be infrared, electro-optical, or electronic. After the signals are collected, analysts encounter the tasks of cryptanalysis, transcription, traffic analysis, and translations of the enemy information systems; analyst then determine size, location, distance, and terrain features. The data is usually processed in overlays and graphic displays within the United States. End products are then populated into National databases for the use of the Intelligence Community. The increasing utilization of computers, the internet, satellites, sophisticated encryption, and cellular telephones have streamlined effective and accurate Human Intelligence (HUMINT); implementation of Signals Intelligence has became an important role to maintain superiority over adversaries.

There are many agencies that have the ability to perform Signals Intelligence, electronic reconnaissance and most of all signals intelligence from all available sources inducive to the environment. The United States Army uses the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) as its main entity for signals collection. The Joint STARS platform was designed to provide a highly effective, real-time, collection tool to the ground task force commanders during battlefield engagements, but for the past ten years, the sensor has been used for peacekeeping missions. Army analysts can predict the enemy’s behavior by identifying choke points, potential avenues of approach and operating patterns such as supply routes and logistical points. The analysis gives the ground commander a more complete view of the enemy’s weaknesses. The United States Air Force employs the Joint STARS in a different mission than the Army. The Air Force uses Joint STARS as a battlefield management tool versus a collection tool as used for by the Army. The Air Force uses the platform to provide immediate and direct support to the Air Component Commander and continue to observe the enemy’s movement from a far distance in the sky. Providing essential data to commanders such as size, direction, and speed of the adversaries, with minimum casualties while under battlefield conditions, makes the Joint STARS an extremely effective tool. The Air Force also employs the Predator vehicles, which are unmanned aerial vehicles that are used for reconnaissance.
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