Ospery, the bird of the Selous Scouts.Selous Scouts "Pamwe Chete" title block.Ospery, the bird of the Selous Scouts.






























Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence



  1. This chapter deals with the more important aspects of intelligence and counter-intelligence during ATOPS.

Importance of Intelligence

  1. During conventional operations the enemy is clearly defined and easily identifiable. The nature of his Organization and equipment, together with the relative ease of identification, facilitates the intelligence personnel's' task of predicting future enemy actions. A major characteristic of ATOPS, however, is that the terrorist merges with or may be part of a local population. Enemy action is likely to be characterized by guerrilla tactics employing equipment requiring virtually no large-scale identifiable preparation.
  2. During ATOPS therefore, a more intensive intelligence effort is demanded in order to provide commanders with the detailed and timely intelligence required. Intelligence concerning the local population becomes a prime requirement. An efficient intelligence system is essential to ensure that ATOPS are successful and there is no waste of time, manpower or resources.

Importance of Counter-Intelligence

  1. The value of effective counter-intelligence cannot be overemphasized. To offset his inferiority in manpower, equipment and resources, the enemy relies on surprise to achieve success. The degree of surprise he attains is in direct proportion to the amount of intelligence he is able to collect. Unless the enemy's intelligence collection is countered, he will be able to concentrate his limited means with impunity against vulnerable areas and where reaction by forces will be weakest.
  2. Effective counter-intelligence during ATOPS is again complicated by the enemy infiltrating the local population. This can facilitate his collection efforts and prejudice the counter-intelligence task. Sound cooperation between all affected forces, services and civil authorities assumes even greater importance.

Responsibility Of Commanders

  1. Commanders at all levels are responsible for the coordination and processing of intelligence required for the planning and conduct of operations. This responsibility embraces the following:
    1. The collection of information.
    2. The collation of information.
    3. The dissemination of intelligence to all levels.
    4. Those counter-intelligence measures required to ensure military security within a commander's sphere of responsibility.
  2. Commanders must decide whether to react immediately upon information/intelligence received, or whether to delay reaction until additional information is obtained. Commanders must ensure that their actions do not prematurely betray the information they have at their disposal, as untimely action could compromise the success of future operations. Successful utilization of intelligence requires experience and a thorough knowledge of the enemy in the area.
  3. Coordination. The successful conduct of ATOPS dictates close cooperation and interaction between security forces, civil authorities and the local population. It also demands the coordination of the efforts of the various organizations and agencies contributing to the overall intelligence effort in the area. Duplication of gaps in the intelligence effort resulting from poor coordination could neutralize the effectiveness of the whole intelligence effort. Military forces are unable to collect all the information they require; on the other hand, they may acquire information which does not directly concern them. This emphasizes the need for the centralization and coordination of the entire intelligence effort.


Nature of Information

  1. In ATOPS the collection of information should concentrate on:
    1. The internal enemy and, if possible, the external support.
    2. Other important factors such as:
      1. Population.
      2. Terrain.
      3. Climatic and meteorological conditions.
  2. Internal enemy. It is essential to know:
    1. a. Military Characteristics.
      1. 1. Organization and strength.
      2. 2. Means at his disposal.
      3. 3. Tactical doctrine and procedure.
      4. 4. Operational capabilities.
      5. 5. Combat efficiency and morale.
      6. 6. Intelligence and liaison systems. The means used, e.g., couriers, post office, etc.
      7. 7. Standard of training.
    2. Leaders, their personalities, operational effectiveness, normal hideouts/bases, relatives, friends and lovers.
    3. Political, psychological and social objectives and activities; propaganda methods and infiltration into various organizations.
    4. Economic means and availability of food.
    5. Physical condition and standard of health.
    6. Professed or proclaimed ideology.
    7. Secret organizations.
    8. Bases which are, or could possibly be, used.
  3. External support.
    1. External aid its nature, importance and scope.
    2. Training bases, their location and strength.
    3. Procedures and routes used.
    4. Contact and links with local population (personalities and method of communication).
  4. Population. A thorough knowledge of the population, with emphasis on the following points, is necessary:
    1. Customs and dress.
    2. Tribes, languages and dialects.
    3. Religious, social and tribal organizations, including chiefs, advisers and organizers.
    4. Political tendencies.
    5. Causes of discontent and antagonism. Hopes and desires, fears and frustrations.
    6. Existing relations with the authorities, and with the enemy.
    7. Economic resources and limitations.
    8. Standard of health.
  5. Terrain. In order to neutralize any initial advantages the enemy may have resulting from his "perfect identification with the terrain," it is vital to obtain, as soon as possible, a thorough knowledge of the terrain. Points which should receive consideration are:
    1. Areas most likely to be used as bases which would usually have the following characteristics:
      1. Difficult access.
      2. Cover from aerial reconnaissance.
      3. Locations favoring defense and offering covered withdrawal routes.
      4. Availability of water.
    2. Most likely enemy target areas, e.g.. installations.
    3. Roads, tracks and paths, including those leading out of the area with special reference to areas bordering on hostile countries.
    4. Location and capabilities of bridges, ferries and obligatory crossing points.
    5. Areas where troop movement will be difficult.
    6. Location of villages, farms and other settlements.
    7. Crops, their cycles and the possibility of being advantageously used by the enemy or by government forces.
    8. Possible sources of water. Suitable locations for military bases.
  6. Climatic and environmental conditions. It is of importance to gather data concerning conditions which may restrict the mobility of troops or which may enable the enemy to carry out surprise actions. Information should therefore be collected on the following:
    1. Rainfall and its possible consequences.
    2. Temperature variations.
    3. Occurrence of fog -- normal times and locations.
    4. Occurrence of thunderstorms, high winds, etc.
    5. Infected and unhealthy areas, e.g., tsetse, bilharzia, etc.

Sources of Information

  1. There are numerous sources of information. Some of the more significant are:
    1. Population. The enemy will often live among the population, and thus these people (provided their confidence and trust is won through adequate and efficient protection) will be one of the best sources of information.
    2. Discontented elements. Civil servants, former chiefs or tribesmen who, for political or personal reasons, appear to be discontented or disillusioned with the subversive movement.
    3. Captured personnel, documents and material. These form vital sources of information. It is therefore essential that the circumstances of the capture should be recorded. Details of the record should include when, where, how, and by whom interrogated, as well as the gist of initial or combat interrogation. These sources of information should be handled as follows:
      1. Captured personnel. Personnel who surrender, or who are captured, are one of the most important sources of information in ATOPS, not only because of the knowledge they have, but also because of the documents or material they may have in their possession. It is important that prisoners be retained for the shortest possible time by the capturing unit before being sent back to undergo more detailed interrogation. Care should be taken that captured terrorists are not given an opportunity to communicate with each other.
      2. Captured documents. These will not normally provide information for immediate exploitation by the troops who capture them. They may, however, be of great value to higher headquarters. Therefore, after a brief perusal they should be sent, as quickly as possible, to the next higher headquarters.
      3. Captured material. Is generally of tactical and technical value, either of immediate or future interest. It is important to verify origin and manufacture.
    4. Maps and aerial photography. These are useful for obtaining knowledge of the terrain. Air photographs taken at periodic intervals are particularly useful for the detection of new tracks and changes in cultivation or settlements.
    5. Radio transmissions. These constitute another source of information of considerable value. Sophisticated equipment and well-trained specialists are necessary to exploit this source. in addition, radio intercepts from hostile neighboring countries may well provide information regarding terrorist activity.
    6. Local authorities. These may be a valuable source of information by virtue of their detailed and intimate knowledge of an area.

Collecting Agencies

  1. The collection and exploitation of information should be centralized at the level at which the ATOPS are planned and directed. Commanders at all levels must vigorously pursue an active policy of collecting information. Information will not be exclusively obtained by the military forces and should be acquired from all available collecting agencies. Some of these are:
    1. Reconnaissance patrols.
    2. Special agents.
    3. Local authorities.
    4. Observation posts (OP's).
  2. Reconnaissance patrols. Reconnaissance is an excellent way of gaining information. The entire area of interest should be covered by means of land and air patrols. Special emphasis should be given to roads, tracks, possible areas for base camps, and supply/arms caches. Patrolling must be undertaken by day and by night and should be intensified not reduced, during periods of bad weather (rain, fog, etc.). All patrols should be in radio contact with the local population to gain information.
  3. Special agents. The employment and control of special agents is normally a police function. The use of agents by military forces should be in full and constant cooperation and coordination with the police. Agents are infiltrated into or obtained from the enemy or from the population. Information gained from agents should be carefully compared with that received from other source. It is extremely important that the activities of specialized agencies be supplemented by units operating in the field, who would be trained to regard the collection and prompt reporting of information as one of their prime duties.
  4. Local authorities. The knowledge which they possess of the terrain and population should be fully exploited. In addition they could be tasked with gaining specific information.
  5. Observation posts (OP's).
    1. One method of operating clandestinely which has evolved from operations has been the use of observation posts. During the dry season, when the operational area is almost entirely burnt out, the use of OP's is difficult due to the lack of cover. During this period the use of OP's is reduced while the searching of kraals and isolated thick areas is increased. To do this effectively, African soldiers should be used to supplement European units wherever possible. This overcomes the communication problem when searching villages, questioning locals, and when doing listening patrols at night. Apart from this, the African soldier understands the local inhabitants better and is therefore more likely to pick up any unusual or suspicious actions.
    2. Because of the extensive use of OP's by military forces (14F), all locals and terrorists soon become aware of MF using high ground for OP's. Every effort should therefore be made to remain clandestine and effective. To achieve this:
      1. Choose unlikely op Positions (i.e.-, thick cover instead of high ground).
      2. When occupying OP's, walk in by night.
      3. Do not debus within 5,000 meters of OP positions to be occupied.
      4. Take precautions to ensure no tracks are left, i.e., use civilian footwear, wear socks over footwear, don't move over cultivated land or on well-used paths.
      5. Do not stay in one OP for too long.
      6. Use small, lightly equipped groups. Only two men should occupy the OP while the remainder of the stick is concealed nearby.
      7. Restrict movement on OP's to a bare minimum.
      8. Observe something specific, e.g., suspect kraal.
      9. Where necessary, use two-man OP's in immediate proximity to kraals.
      10. Use night-viewing equipment where possible.
      11. All listening OP's should have an African element, where possible.
  6. Maximum advantage must be taken of a unit's detailed knowledge of an area. To achieve this it will be necessary for a unit to maintain detailed records of all information it has gained concerning its area. This will ensure continuity and will provide a valuable source of information when units are rotated.


  1. One of the greatest difficulties that intelligence staff have to contend with during operations is incomplete and vague, and sometimes inaccurate and contradictory, reports on incidents or enemy activity. on other occasions reports are considerably delayed. Therefore, it cannot be too strongly stressed that the speedy and accurate passage of information from all levels can be vital to an operation.



  1. In the field of counterintelligence, military security is of the greatest interest and importance to the military forces. The security of the borders, harbors, airports, travelers and baggage, which also has great importance, is the responsibility of the police.
  2. Security is a subject that is not purely the concern of experts, but that of everyone. The expert will make a specialist contribution to security, but the success of his work will depend largely upon the efficiency, alertness and common sense of the average officer and soldier.
  3. It is not a practicable proposition to station specialists in every place where classified information is held, where vital equipment or stores are located, or where people are susceptible to subversion. Great reliance is therefore placed on the cooperation of individuals who must perfectly understand the importance of counter-intelligence with respect to security.

Military Security

  1. Military security, which is one of the facets of counter- intelligence, is concerned with the imposition of controls by the military within the military. These controls take the form of:
    1. Orders and instructions.
    2. Physical security means.
    3. Screening of service, personnel, when necessary.
  2. Constant vigilance is necessary if security is to be preserved. The terrorist with his numerous informers will be quick to exploit any breaches by security forces. Thus the education of all ranks in the dangers of the indirect attack and in the reasons for security orders and physical security measures is essential. Certain measures are therefore necessary to prevent the enemy from gaining information:
    1. Denial measures. These are measures aimed at denying the enemy the opportunity of obtaining information. Some examples of denial measures, and circumstances which may lead to a breach of security, are:
      1. Every military person is responsible to his commander for the safeguarding of information.
      2. Conversations on classified subjects which may be overheard in public places, or on the telephone or radio. Some of the worst examples have taken place in messes and bars within the hearing of barmen and other unauthorized persons. Individuals often boast of their position, achievements and knowledge.
      3. Discussions of operational or classified matters with wives, relatives and friends are not permitted. All these are unauthorized persons and such matters are not their concern.
      4. Routine should often be changed, e.g., relief of guards.
      5. The techniques and procedures in the mounting and execution of operations should periodically be modified, thus avoiding repetition which may facilitate the identification of military force activities.
      6. The number of persons involved in the planning of an operation should be restricted. The "need to know" and "need to hold" principles with regard to classified material should be applied; this applies particularly to operation orders.
      7. Avoid holding extraordinary conferences/orders which may reveal that an operation is to be mounted.
      8. Prior abnormal air and land reconnaissance should be avoided.
      9. Ensure that personnel participating in an operation do not carry any personal or official documents besides identification papers.
      10. Detain all persons encountered in the objective area, or its immediate vicinity until after the operation.
      11. Containers of classified documents should never be left unlocked and unattended.
      12. Classified documents should not be left unattended, thus permitting them to be read, stolen or photographed by unauthorized persons.
      13. Classified documents should be controlled through an efficient registry system.
      14. Classified documents should only be held in places where their security is guaranteed.
      15. Classified waste should be safeguarded prior to destruction.
      16. The access to military establishments and buildings should be strictly controlled. All persons working within military installations should be security vetted and issued with identification cards. A visitors' registry should be maintained.
      17. Keys to offices in which classified material is held or displayed should be strictly controlled.
      18. Security clearance should be obtained for lectures and articles before their delivery or publication.
      19. No classified letters should be included in "Daily Files" which are circulated.
    2. Deception measures. These are measures designed to mislead the enemy. Some of the steps which may be taken during the planning and execution of an operation are:
      1. Start rumors, giving the enemy false information concerning your plans, which may justify preparations for the intended operation.
      2. Information concerning areas of interest should not be restricted to the area of immediate concern. Simultaneous gathering of information will help to conceal the real intentions.
      3. Guides or local trackers should be obtained as late as possible and should not be restricted to those who come from, or have knowledge of the objective area.
      4. Advantage should be taken of the night and unfavorable weather conditions to mount operations.
      5. Deployments in false directions should be initiated. These could coincide with the deployment of the force which is to undertake the operation.
      6. Openly simulate the unloading of vehicles and secretly continue with the deployment.
      7. Carry out reconnaissance in areas other than the area of interest.
      8. Artillery or air force preparatory fire may be laid down in areas other than, but in close proximity to, the chosen objectives.
  3. Press. Because of public desire for news, the presence or intrusion of the press must be expected. In the interests of security it is therefore necessary to control their activities. Detailed below is a guide for handling members of the press:
    1. Whatever their level, commanders are to adhere to the directives issued by higher authority.
    2. Press members should always present their credentials in the execution of their duty. The purpose of their visit should always be made known by their higher authority. In all cases press representatives must be accompanied by a duly qualified officer or non-commissioned officer.
    3. They should only be granted freedom of action compatible with security.
    4. Relations with the press should be cordial without, however, divulging information on subjects which, for security reasons, should not be discussed.
    5. Unless authorized, press conferences should not be held. Questions asked should be written down and answers only provided after approval.
    6. Films and photographs should be strictly controlled. Restricted items and installations which should not be photographed should be predetermined.
  4. Censorship Measures.
    1. Censorship of correspondence of military personnel will only be implemented after a government decision.
    2. Personnel should be constantly reminded that they should not include details of a classified nature in their personal correspondence.




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