Collection Focus Development in Peacekeeping Operations

by Major Timothy L. Faulkner

The purpose of collection focus development (CFD) is to identify the commander’s intelligence requirements, hot spots (potential areas of violence), named areas of interest (NAIs), and high-payoff targets (HPTs). It also helps develop tasks and purposes for our collectors. CFD is a part of the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process that is employed continually in peacekeeping operations (PKOs). By exploiting CFD, the maneuver staff is proactive in collection planning, and this facilitates the use of all staff elements employed in a peacekeeping environment.

The S2 section is essential in identifying hot spots and assisting the commander to establish a scheme of maneuver to prevent violence and protect the force (prevention phase). This consists of:

Done correctly, CFD enables the unit—I will use a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) in my discussion—to detect and possibly defuse a developing hot spot, and to prevent the BCT from becoming a reactionary force.

CFD Model

Because this is within a PKO model, I suggest CFD begin during the initial mission analysis and continue through the orders issuance. This process will repeat throughout the deployment. The CFD process comprises seven phases.

Develop and identify priority intelligence requirements (PIR). From the commander’s mission statement, develop information requirements (IR) which will support the execution of the mission. The commander selects his PIR from the IR list. Next, the S2 develops indicators for each PIR  (see Figure 1) and distributes them to the lowest level. Validate your indicators by wargaming them with staff elements and other S2s. Having a PIR without indicators ensures that none of your collectors will answer that PIR. Use weighting criteria for each indicator. With each indicator hit, the overall assessment will change from green, to yellow, or to red. Remember that you may be depending on a young soldier on patrol to identify indicators crucial to the success of your unit.


Determine sector hot spots. The S2 identifies the potential hot spots based on intelligence summaries (INTSUMs), special operations reports, PIR indicators, division analysis and control element (ACE) assessments, CI and CA team reports, BCT analysis, and staff input. This intelligence officer analyzes all significant future events and prioritizes these events to determine which are more likely to elicit a violent response. The result is a potential hot spot list (see Figure 2); the staff and BCT assets should focus on the top three or four hot spots.

Develop the collection plan. Based on the collection focus, the S2 selects NAIs. (In PKOs, the NAIs are not limited to a geographic location on the battlefield.) Next, the S2 develops purposes and tasks for each mission and assigns specific information requests (SIRs); the S3 reviews each SIR. After validation of the SIRs, the S2 places each one on an IR register to establish an audit trail and assigns the LTIOV (latest time the information is of value).

The S3 reviews the troops-to- tasks matrix and may require additional assets. The S2 will then request the additional intelligence collectors through the collection manager at the division. The Analysis and Control Team (ACT) generates requests for information (RFIs) on any question that brigade assets cannot satisfy.

S3 publishes collection order. The S2 provides the intelligence paragraph and the collection plan for the S3’s collection order, which tasks the units to execute the collection matrix. All of the brigade’s S2s will answer their SIRs by the approved tracking method in nightly INTSUMs.

Evaluate reporting and dis- semination. The brigade S2 will evaluate and verify the validity of information received and share all answered SIRs with the staff ele- ments and disseminate them to higher and lower headquarters. The S2 also provides feedback to the collectors. Any unanswered information requirements may necessitate redirecting an asset or retasking.




Verify hot spots. Any information that answers or confirms the possibility of violence requires the attention of all staff elements. (Figure 3 shows an example of tracking several hot spots and the responsible collectors.) If the collectors’ SIRs deny (do not support) the possibility of violence, then you must move on to different events in your sector. Some information might cause the S2 to readjust a PIR or indicator. Once the S2 feels comfortable with the collection focus, the cycle begins again.


Collection focus development in peacekeeping operations requires staff element synchronization to create an effective collection order and matrix. The S5 and the information officer become more significant combat multipliers than the fire support officer is. Political figures such as mayors and regional police chiefs will have a greater influence on operations than will an enemy mechanized brigade. During CFD, use the different reports and staff elements to assist in identifying potential hot spots, wargame these possible events, and focus the unit’s efforts against them. This ensures the defusing of a situation before it becomes violent. When collecting against a target, have task and purpose statements included in the collection order. This will ensure that the soldier on the ground understands the mission and seeks the information the unit desires. Remember the battlefield is all around you in PKOs. Having a strong command of the CFD process will prevent a volatile situation from developing further.

The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Captain Matthew Helm and the Iron Brigade staff.  

Major Tim L. Faulkner is the S2 of the 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at Baumholder, Germany. He served for five months with the 2d BCT in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As a field artillery lieutenant, Major Faulkner served as a fire direction officer, platoon leader, and S3 plans officer in the 1-39 Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. His previous MI positions include Battalion S3, Operations Officer, Multi-Service Electronic Warfare Group, Company Commander, and Detachment Commander. MAJ Faulkner is a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute and has a  degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Readers can reach him at commercial 49-67836-6152, DSN 485-6152, and via E-mail at 2bdes2@ 2ndbdehq.1ad.army.mil.