Intelligence Collection


The act of collecting intelligence about individuals, groups, or states of interest has come under increasing scrutiny since September 11, 2001. RAND has examined how nations successfully collect intelligence, how the U.S. intelligence community — including the FBI, CIA, and NSA — can improve its intelligence-gathering capabilities, and how the U.S. military can make better use of its limited land-, sea-, and air-based intelligence collection assets in the rapidly changing battlefields of the future.

  • A pro-Russian rebel sends messages over his smartphone in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk, May 16, 2014


    How Commercial Tech Can Affect Military Intelligence Operations

    Jun 6, 2016

    Commercial technologies such as smartphones are primarily about identifying and tracking people and patterns of behavior. Their presence is greatest in urban environments. This happens to be where most military intelligence operations are conducted and where most future insurgencies and wars are likely to take place.

  • Hands on a keyboard in a dark room


    Cyberterrorism and the Role of Silicon Valley

    Jun 13, 2016

    As national security and war are being redefined for the digital age, Silicon Valley will need to be on the front line of counterterrorism. Its inventors and entrepreneurs are driving the information revolution, and they must figure out how to protect vital systems against malevolent intrusions.

Explore Intelligence Collection

  • Report

    How Do You Know Friend From Foe? DoD’s Automated Biometric Identification System

    Explains a system used by the U.S. Department of Defense that allows biometric data gathered by U.S. military forces abroad to be searched in various U.S. databases in order to identify national security threats.

    Jan 1, 2004

  • Report

    Identity Protection

    Discusses three forms of identity protection used by the Department of Defense and the creation of an oversight body to determine how best to deploy these technologies.

    Jan 1, 2004

  • Commentary

    Connect the Cops to Connect the Dots

    commentaries by RAND Staff: insightful commentaries on current events, published in newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide.

    Jun 1, 2003

  • Commentary

    The Big Difference Between Intelligence and Evidence

    Usually intelligence does not offer crystal-clear answers, and we should not hang decisions to go to war or do anything else on its ability to do so, writes Bruce Berkowitz in a Washington Post commentary.

    Feb 2, 2003

  • Commentary

    Countering al-Qaeda: The Next Phase in the War

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Sep 8, 2002

  • Commentary

    Face Terror with Better Spying, Not Moats of Fear

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Jul 10, 2002

  • Commentary

    Intelligence in the Information Age; Spy Data For Sale

    Published commentary by RAND staff.

    Apr 8, 2001

  • Research Brief

    Quantifying the Battlefield

    The result was a project that has spanned more than a decade and that has addressed a variety of topics over its history, ranging from battalion command and control to the employment of specific systems such as mortars and anti-tank missiles.

    Jan 1, 1999

  • Report

    Bettering the Balance: Large Wars and Small Contingencies

    This paper explores the Army's options: using contractors; relying on the reserves; redesigning existing organizations; improving routine training; reducing equipment problems; and improving its information operations.

    Jan 1, 1997

  • Report

    Strategic Information Warfare: A New Face of War

    Future U.S. national security strategy is likely to be profoundly affected by the ongoing, rapid evolution of cyberspace -- the global information infrastructure.

    Jan 1, 1996

  • Research Brief

    Strategic War ... in Cyberspace

    In short, there will exist the capability for strategic information warfare.

    Jan 1, 1996

  • Journal Article

    A Deafening Silence: US Policy and the Sigint Facility at Lourdes

    On the Soviet (now Russian) monitoring station on Cuba, and why the US has not made an issue out of it.

    Jan 1, 1994

  • Report

    Intelligence Constraints of the 1970s and Domestic Terrorism: Volume II, Survey of Legal, Legislative, and Administrative Constraints

    This Note presents a selective survey of legal and administrative regulatory constraints on the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information pertaining to domestic security during the 1970s.

    Jan 1, 1982

  • Content

    Sina Beaghley

    Associate Director, Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center; National Security Research Division; Senior International/Defense Researcher
    Education M.A. in international affairs/international security, George Washington University; B.A. in political science/media communications, University of San Diego

  • Content

    James B. Bruce

    Adjunct International and Defense Researcher
    Education Ph.D. in international relations, University of Denver; M.A. and B.A. in political science, Kent State University

  • Content

    Ben Connable

    Senior Political Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
    Education Ph.D. in war studies, King's College London; M.A. in national security affairs, Naval Postgraduate School; M.A. in strategic intelligence, American Military University; B.A. in political science, University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Content

    Richard S. Girven

    Director, Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center; Senior International/Defense Research Analyst
    Education M.A. in Asian Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa; M.M.A.S. in strategic studies, U.S. Army Command And General Staff College; M.S. in national resource strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces; B.S. in business management, Park College

  • Content

    Derek Grossman

    Senior Defense Analyst
    Education B.A. in Political Science and Asian Studies, University of Michigan; M.A. in U.S. National Security Policy, Georgetown University

  • Content

    Jeff Hagen

    Senior Engineer
    Education M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics, University of Washington; B.S. in engineering, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

  • Content

    Bradley Knopp

    Senior International / Defense Researcher
    Education BA in political science, Furman University; MA in political science, Georgetown University; Cert in national security studies, National War College