Military intelligence is a military discipline that uses information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to assist commanders in their decisions. This aim is achieved by providing an assessment of data from a range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to questions as part of operational or campaign planning. To provide an analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified, which are then incorporated into intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.
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Areas of study may include the operational environment, hostile, friendly and neutral forces, the civilian population in an area of combat operations, and other broader areas of interest. Intelligence activities are conducted at all levels, from tactical to strategic, in peacetime, the period of transition to war, and during a war itself.
Most governments maintain a military intelligence capability to provide analytical and information collection personnel in both specialist units and from other arms and services. The military and civilian intelligence capabilities collaborate to inform the spectrum of political and military activities.
Personnel performing intelligence duties may be selected for their analytical abilities and personal intelligence before receiving formal training.