Cover: Documenting Intelligence Mission-Data Production Requirements

Documenting Intelligence Mission-Data Production Requirements

How the U.S. Department of Defense Can Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness by Streamlining the Production Requirement Process

Published Aug 3, 2021

by Bradley M. Knopp, David Luckey, Yuliya Shokh


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Research Questions

  1. Are there policy changes that would reduce inefficiency in the processes?
  2. What are the equities of the stakeholders (i.e., customers and producers)?
  3. What is the optimal way to draft input to the COLISEUM database?
  4. When is a PR necessary?
  5. Can improvements in the assembly and communication of IMD requirements increase timeliness and quality of IMD production?

The Acquisition Intelligence Requirements Task Force (AIRTF) asked RAND Corporation researchers to examine the process for developing, validating, and tasking Intelligence Mission Data (IMD) requirements. In response, the authors prepared process maps depicting the current methods used to identify and manage IMD requirements and researched a set of process-improvement questions that arose from a continuous process improvement (CPI) meeting attended by IMD stakeholders.

The authors reviewed the handling of production requirements (PRs) resulting from a Life-Cycle Mission Data Plan (LMDP) against ad hoc requirements. Their analysis sought to validate the hypothesis that efficiencies could be gained by minimizing processing effort and backlog by combining requests.

The authors also pursued a theme of determining if efficiencies could be realized by gaining a better understanding of the business rules of the Community On-Line System for End Users and Managers (COLISEUM) and the Defense Intelligence Analysis Program, which determines who produces what in the intelligence community.

The researchers aimed to try to understand and correct persistent issues or at least provide workarounds for how LMDPs are processed through the IMD Management, Analysis, and Reporting System (IMARS). They also sought to confirm that intelligence personnel are managing and validating the IMARS system, its processes, and the input.

Key Findings

  • A standardized and effective acquisition-intelligence governance process is lacking, as is an accepted practice for developing IMD requirements and translating them into intelligence tasks.
  • There appear to be too many stakeholders involved in the IMD task-development process, and their responsibilities are ill-defined.
  • The IMD requirements identification and production development process comprises two distinct phases that vary by service.
  • IMD requirements can generally be binned into three categories: long-term requirements generally associated with an acquisition program; ad hoc requirements that come from combatant commands and operational forces; and requirements that are identified in the annual plan review of IMD requirements.
  • Guidance on PR introduction and processing is obsolete.
  • Some COLISEUM fields could be automated to improve standardization of inputs and ensure better-quality tasking inputs, add precision to tasks, and facilitate movement of tasks between systems. These enhancements would thus improve the timeliness and quality of IMD products.


  • Focus less on the acquisition side of the acquisition-intelligence process and more on the intelligence side, where impact is more likely.
  • Create a demand signal repository by exploring direct electronic connections among the tools and databases currently used to manage IMD issues.
  • Use the upcoming continuous process improvement event to seek consensus on the priorities laid out in this report.
  • Consider drafting an IMD manual, similar to the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System manual, to capture processes and standard operating procedures for IMD professionals.
  • Adopt the RAND-developed process maps.

This research was sponsored by the director of Air Intelligence Requirements Task Force and that organization's sponsors in the the Joint Staff, and the intelligence community and conducted within the Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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