What Is HUMINT, How Does It Work & Why Do We Need It?

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What is Human Intelligence (HUMINT)?

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War extolled the virtues of proper intelligence thousands of years before the technological advances we know today dotted the landscape. Even with the changes in information gathering, one of the greatest sources for gaining the advantage in any situation remains unchanged: humans.

Human Intelligence, known as HUMINT, is intel discerned through information gathered from human sources. The sources may run the spectrum, from interviews and conversations to surveillance and interrogation, but the results are invaluable.

How Does HUMINT Work?

Humans excel as a species thanks to our ability to communicate, both producing and collecting data. HUMINT thrives on that fact, using purpose-driven transfers of information involving human sources. Human intelligence officers can be responsible for managing several kinds of psychological operations, using data to understand, predict, and influence people and groups through continued contact.

Information collectors can gather knowledge from reports, media outlets and endless additional sources to identify crucial knowledge regarding an opponent’s personnel, equipment, capabilities, and vulnerabilities.

Why Do We Need To Have & Protect Against It? 

HUMINT plays an indispensable role in the intelligence and national security fields. Predicting terrorist networks, influencing allies and understanding political movements can all be essential to comprehending the human element that shapes our world.

While HUMINT can be used to gain insight into the global stage, it can also be used as a weapon in the wrong hands. Exploiting human weaknesses is still a major factor in espionage. Removing or bolstering the human element in security is vital to maintaining acceptable levels of protection.

Automated security, comprehensive scanning, and established protocols can make all the difference when dealing with threats armed with information. Mantrap entrances, weapons detectors, and breach control systems can work independently or hand-in-hand with established security teams to ensure the safety of those inside a targeted building. Take the human error and innocence-bias out of the equation by installing steadfast, calculating measures of detecting and controlling those that would seek to take advantage.

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