Ready-for-Sea Handbook
United States Naval Reserve Intelligence Program


A. Briefing Topics 7-
1. Strike Support Brief 7-
2. Port Brief 7-
3. Platforms Brief 7-
4. Country Brief 7-
5. Current Intelligence Brief 7-
6. Operational Intelligence (OPINTEL) Brief 7-
7. Event Brief 7-
8. Intelligence Estimate 7-
B. General Briefing Techniques 7-
D. Reporting 7-
1. Maritime Reporting System 7-
2. Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) 7-
3. Reconnaissance Exploitation Reports (RECCEXREPs) 7-
4. Mission Report (MISREP) 7-


“Briefing is fun.”

CAPT D. Warshawsky, USN (ret.)
Former Commanding Officer,
Fleet Intelligence Training Center Pacific

Briefing, debriefing, and reporting constitute the most important activities of the intelligence officer or enlisted intelligence specialist. It is highly probable that you will be involved in one or more of these activities in some aspect during the period of your AT-at-Sea. This module will review both the content and execution of the various types of briefs intelligence personnel are expected to perform. Taking the time to hone your skills in these areas will help to ensure you report aboard prepared to make a significant contribution from day one of your AT-at-Sea experience.

A. Briefing Topics

Briefs given by CVIC personnel center around a number of topics depending on the type of mission or task at hand. For example, briefs can be used to transmit information to decision-makers as well as describe a task, such as an air mission, that needs to be accomplished. Briefing duties center on, but are not limited to, the following types of subject matter:

1. Strike Support Brief

CVIC and squadron intelligence officers and members of the embarked aircrew team up to give this type of brief to aircrew prior to a combat exercise or actual mission. It focuses primarily on the perceived threat in and around the target area. The Strike Leader (i.e., senior aviator) then summarizes the strike course, way points, refueling points, landfall points, the target characteristics and the return route back to the carrier. He also outlines in detail the objectives of the mission. In an actual combat situation, this is a crucial, if not the most important, type of brief you can participate in. It prepares aircrew effectively to carry out their mission, be it peacetime or wartime.

2. Port Brief

Prior to arriving at a certain port of call, the CVIC or intelligence personnel may be asked to give a Port Brief for the benefit of ship’s company. On a carrier this brief might be broadcast throughout the ship on the television system. This type of brief outlines the characteristics of the port, including customs regulations, local port authority, the identification of restricted or "off-limits" areas, and any special information pertinent to navy personnel visiting the area. This type of brief may be combined with a Country Brief (see below).

3. Platforms Brief

Prior to reaching a certain operating area or beginning an exercise, CVIC personnel may be tasked with giving a Platform Brief. This type of brief summarizes information on a particular platform of interest to the battlegroup and air wing. It may, for example, give the performance characteristics of foreign or U.S. aircraft, surface ships, or weapon systems. Such a brief may utilize graphics, imagery, line drawings, and/or video footage (if available) of the platform of interest.

4. Country Brief

A Country Brief details a broad overview of a specific country of interest to the deployed battlegroup. The country could be one the battlegroup will visit in port or potentially operate against. This type of brief summarizes political, economic, and military characteristics for the country of interest. The brief may treat each subject broadly or concentrate on one or more topics as required. For example, CVIC or intelligence personnel might be tasked with the preparation of a country brief that concentrates mainly on order of battle and current political information. For example, this country could be in the battlegroup’s expected area of responsibility.

5. Current Intelligence Brief

This type of brief constitutes an important intelligence "product." A Current Intelligence brief typically summarizes world political and military events using as inputs a variety of intelligence sources, both open and classified. Classified sources usually come in the way of received message traffic and documents in the classified vault or SCIF (if applicable). Open source intelligence (OSCINT) can come from commercial television (if receivable on the carrier), newspapers, on-line (or downloaded) commercial databases, or CD-ROM computer sources.*

6. Operational Intelligence (OPINTEL) Brief

This brief is narrower in scope than the current intelligence brief described above. The OPINTEL brief outlines the tactical picture relevant to the battlegroup. It summarizes the intentions of the battlegroup for a defined period of time (the next 24 hours, for example), identifies battlegroup assets available, ship positions, target locations, and other data of a tactical and perishable nature. Typical customers of this type of brief include members of the embarked flag staff and aircrew.

7. Event Brief

The Event brief is a generic term that describes many different types of briefs that are necessary to conduct regular battlegroup operations. The most typical Event brief supports air operations. For example, when the Carrier and Carrier Air Wing (CV/CVW) are involved in cyclic operations, there will be a requirement to present an event brief for each event to be flown. This event brief is to be made far enough in advance of launch time so as to support the subsequent section or element briefs being conducted by the aircrews in squadron ready rooms. This usually translates to two hours prior to launch time.

Normal Event Brief Topics:

    1. Introduction/level of classification/event number/date.
    2. Weather conditions.
    3. Current intelligence and/or threat of the day.
    4. Launch/recovery times.
    5. Launch/recovery states (case I, II or III).
    6. Battlegroup emissions control (EMCON) posture.
    7. Card of the day, which summarizes communications frequencies, etc.
    8. Carrier position and intended movement (PIM).
    9. Carrier mission/movement intentions.
    10. Divert fields/blue water operations.
    11. Hot areas and/or restricted airspace.
    12. Flight information derived from the AIRPLAN.
    1. Squadron numbers.
    2. Number and type of aircraft.
    3. Mission to be performed.
    4. Control/Communications Buttons.
    5. Sector Coverage.
    6. Vectors/Range & Bearings.
    1. Surface picture.
    2. Items of interest.
    3. ROE (Rules of Engagement).
    4. Photo of the day.
    5. Closing.

As can be seen, the Event brief is a comprehensive dissemination of information and preparation for it will take some time and effort. Fortunately, most CVICs have a watch staff that can assist the briefer to prepare. Most briefs prepared by the CVIC staff employ similar elements such as maps, charts, and photos. Chances are that a small library of briefing overhead "templates" will exist within CVIC (be sure to ask). Information gathered for previous briefs sometimes can be updated or overwritten as required for all the day’s following briefs.

8. Intelligence Estimate

In some cases, the Staff Intelligence Officer may be asked to prepare a written Intelligence Estimate (IE) to assist the commanding officer of the battlegroup or amphibious task force in the preparation of his overall estimate of a potential combat situation. The IE also disseminates intelligence information to embarked flag staffs and other concerned parties in the battlegroup. Although the IE is a formal, written document, it is often briefed to concerned individuals and is therefore included here for the reader’s interest.

The IE follows a formal construction of approximately five written paragraphs. The first paragraph describes the mission, focusing attention and comprehension to the purpose and required tasks involved. The second paragraph describes the enemy situation and outlines conditions in the area of operations (AOA). It also provides basic encyclopedic data such as geography of the AOA, transportation data, communications, political, social, and economic data. The third paragraph describes enemy capabilities, outlining courses of action available to the enemy, which, if followed, will affect the accomplishment of the friendly mission. No detailed analysis is provided in this paragraph. The fourth paragraph presents analysis of enemy capabilities, providing detailed examination of the each of the capabilities listed in paragraph three. Finally, the fifth paragraph lists conclusions drawn by the analyst, which the commanding officer uses to make operational decisions.

B. General Briefing Techniques

Much exists about what a brief should consist of, but it is also important to know how to give and prepare a brief, regardless of its content or type. Taking our cue from Captain Warshawsky at the beginning of this module, we also need to remember that briefing can be fun as well.

Above all, a good brief is: 1) accurate, 2) brief (hence its name), and 3) clear. These are the "ABCs" of briefing and should be kept in mind during all phases of brief preparation and execution. Before preparation of your brief can begin, you must first thoroughly understand the brief’s purpose. For example, will you give a brief that imparts information, such as a current intelligence brief, supports decision making, or supports a mission? First, analyze the problem. What are the who's, what's, when’s, where’s, and why of the problem? Research your task appropriately keeping in mind that quantity of research does not always equal quality research. Remember, never brief what you do not know. Know where to turn aboard ship for supplementary information that will support brief preparation and to answer any questions you may need to follow-up with later (e.g., charts, visual aids, photographs, mission planning systems, etc.). Next, outline and word your brief with appropriate notes, memory aids or other cues that will assist the brief’s execution. Finally, practice your brief with another member of the CVIC or ship’s intelligence support team. This is especially useful when participating in multi-person briefs.

Generic Brief Format:

A. Introduction

1. Greeting

2. Name (Rank/Rate)

3. Subject of Brief

a. Value Statement (why is brief important?)

b. Overview of brief (include name of other briefers as appropriate)

4. Classification (if applicable)

B. Body of Brief

1. Maintain logical organization (incorporate one of the following styles):

a. Chronological

b. Geographic

c. Order of importance

d. Cause and/or effect

2. Transition statements

a. Smooth flow from point to point

b. Keep to outline

3. Visual aids

a. One for each major point of the brief

b. Avoid complex or distracting graphics

C. Conclusion

1. Summary of brief

a. Verbal and graphic

b. Re-state specific or key terms

c. Do not present any new information

2. Re-state classification

3. Open for questions and answers

When giving a brief, avoid over-reliance on notes and scripts. Audiences bore easily when read to from a prepared script. Rather, think of the brief as a dynamic process in which information is transmitted from the briefer to the audience. As such, the briefer must remain actively involved in the briefing process. Maintaining proper eye contact with the audience is a good way to keep both yourself and those you brief involved and interested. Intelligence briefs are usually presented to a small group of individuals and the voice of the briefer is rarely electronically amplified. Therefore, speak distinctly and clearly so as to be heard in whatever spaces the brief takes place. Emphasize important points with hand gestures or use a pointer. When not in use your hands or pointing device should remain still at your sides. Avoid distracting gestures with your arms or legs (e.g., putting your hands in your pockets or tapping your foot unconsciously). Finally, maintain the proper bearing and attitude. In many cases, those who you brief will be senior in rank to you. Remember to show proper military respect and bearing.


After aircraft missions, pilots are debriefed in CVIC. Both the squadron intelligence officers and CVIC personnel take place in the debriefing process. Typical debriefs include analyzing how well mission objectives were met (or not met), describing any difficulties encountered, identifying intelligence errors, describing encounters with hostile or monitoring aircraft or ships, and generally the reporting back of information of interest for analysis. Good debriefing is a delicate balance of effort, knowledge and professionalism on the part of both the intelligence officer and the aircrew.

The basic information required is:

1. Where?

6. Why?

2. What?

7. How long?

3. How many?

8. Route to?

4. In what manner?

9. Route from?

5. When?

Other required information includes, ordnance released, fuel given/received, names of aircrew, frequencies copied, mission changes, etc.

Note: Debriefing requires the intelligence officer to at least know the basics of air operations at sea in order to know which questions to ask.

D. Reporting

Intelligence personnel aboard ship use several reporting formats to transmit contact and other observational data to the appropriate authority. The drilling Naval Reservist should have been exposed to some or all of these various reporting formats in the course of previous training ATs. It is a good idea to review the procedures for filing these reports so as to report aboard fully prepared to make a significant contribution. Several reporting formats are discussed below.

1. Maritime Reporting System

The Maritime Reporting System provides a standardized method for drafting requests, orders, contact reports, status reports, summaries, and planning messages within a maritime operational environment. The resultant messages are intended to be both human and machine capable. The formatted message most commonly used by intelligence personnel at sea is the Maritime Force Locator (LOCATOR). The LOCATOR message (formally called MAREP) is generated by maritime surveillance forces to report surface, subsurface, air, or special interest units operating in a maritime environment. The Maritime Reporting System is governed by the Navy publication, NPW 10-1-12 (Revision C).

2. Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs)

Intelligence Information Reports (IIRs) are used for the dissemination of non time- sensitive human intelligence (HUMINT). IIRs can be filed in response to standing intelligence collection requirements (ICRs), or be submitted as an "initiative" report to forward information of intelligence potential not covered by an ICR. There are essentially no format differences between the two. The Fleet Intelligence Collection Manual (FICM) governs IIR reporting.

3. Reconnaissance Exploitation Reports (RECCEXREPs)

The RECCEXREP is a formatted message used to report the exploitation of tactical reconnaissance imagery. Each reconnaissance mission flown normally requires a RECCEXREP, describing routes and results. This type of report is governed by the Navy publications NWP 10-1-13 (Supplement 1).

4. Mission Report (MISREP)

The MISREP is used to report the results of air missions. It provides timely details of mission results to theater operations commanders.