Intelligence cycle

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How the intelligence community handles info.

The Intelligence Cycle is a set of steps taken by military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies by decision makers to get the right information to the consumer.

Official narrative

"The traditional Intelligence cycle is the fundamental cycle of intelligence processing in a civilian or military intelligence agency or in law enforcement as a closed path consisting of repeating nodes. The stages of the intelligence cycle include the issuance of requirements by decision makers, collection, processing, analysis, and publication of intelligence. The circuit is completed when decision makers provide feedback and revised requirements. The intelligence cycle is also called the Intelligence Process by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the uniformed services. The intelligence cycle is an effective way of processing information and turning it into relevant and actionable intelligence.[1]".

Wikipedia calls the 9/11 Commission Report "a result of failures" in this cycle.[2]


In the 1948 book, Intelligence Is For Commanders by LTC Phillip Davidson and LTC Robert Glass, the use of the word Intelligence Cycle is mentioned.




Planning is where policy makers, the Senate Committee for Intelligence, and the President and his aids ask for information to be looked into.

Intelligence Requirements

Intelligence requirements are defining those questions where intelligence is expected.

  • Standing information requirements
  • Specific information requirements





See Also

A CIA document explaining kids how the cycle works: File:Briefing-intelligence-cycle.pdf


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