Document Exploitation as a New Intelligence Discipline

05.24.11 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A recent article in the Army’s Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin argued that Document and Media Exploitation, or DOMEX — which refers to the analysis of captured enemy documents — should be recognized and designated as an independent intelligence discipline.

“Without question, our DOMEX capabilities have evolved into an increasingly specialized full-time mission that requires a professional force, advanced automation and communications support, analytical rigor, expert translators, and proper discipline to process valuable information into intelligence,” wrote Col. Joseph M. Cox.

“The true significance of DOMEX lies in the fact that terrorists, criminal, and other adversaries never expected their material to be captured,” Col. Cox wrote.  “The intelligence produced from exploitation is not marked with deception, exaggeration, and misdirection that routinely appear during live questioning of suspects.”

See “DOMEX: The Birth of a New Intelligence Discipline” which appeared in the April-June 2010 issue (large pdf) of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, pp. 22-32.

The last six issues of Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, the U.S. Army’s quarterly journal of intelligence policy and practice, are newly available through the Federation of American Scientists website.

Although the Bulletin is unclassified and approved for public release, the Army has opted not to make it publicly available online.  Instead, it was released under the Freedom of Information Act upon request from FAS .  The latest issues address topics such as HUMINT Training,  Cross-Cultural Competence, and Intelligence in Full-Spectrum Operations.

Not all of the articles in the Bulletin are of broad interest or of significant originality.  But many of them are informative and reflective of current issues in Army intelligence.

An Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 302) on “Document and Media Exploitation” (pdf) was issued by the Director of National Intelligence on July 6, 2007.