Sensitive Site Operations

04.26.07 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The U.S. Army yesterday issued a new Field Manual on “Sensitive Site Operations” (FM 3-90.15, 25 April 2007).

The document itself is restricted and the Army would not immediately provide a copy to Secrecy News. But a few blanks can nevertheless be filled in.

“A sensitive site is a designated, geographically limited area with special military, diplomatic, economic, or information sensitivity for the United States,” according to the Army Field Manual (2-0) on Intelligence (pdf).

“This includes factories with technical data on enemy weapon systems, war crimes sites, critical hostile government facilities, areas suspected of containing persons of high rank in a hostile government or organization, terrorist money laundering, and document storage areas for secret police forces.”

“Sensitive site exploitation consists of a series of activities inside a sensitive site captured from an adversary.”

“These activities exploit personnel, documents, electronic data, and material captured at the site, while neutralizing any threat posed by the site or its contents. While the physical process of exploiting the sensitive site begins at the site itself, full exploitation may involve teams of experts located around the world.”

For further background and description of some fairly recent sensitive site operations, see a seminar paper entitled “The Strategic Implications of Sensitive Site Exploitation” (pdf) by Col. Thomas S. Vandal, National Defense University, 2003.

See also “Managing Sensitive Site Exploitation — Notes from Operation Iraqi Freedom” (pdf) by Major Pete Lofy, 2003.

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