Medical intelligence

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Medical intelligence (MEDINT) is a type of intelligence that includes collection, analyzing, and disseminating information on foreign medical, bio-scientific, and environmental information. The information developed is useful for strategic planning and to operational medical planning the conservation of the fighting strength of friendly forces and the formation of assessments of foreign medical capabilities in both military and civilian sectors.[1]. Medical intelligence is often considered a subset of technical intelligence. It can also include the health analysis of domestic facilities.

A worldwide assessment of health considerations is published from the National Intelligence Council; see CIA transnational health activities

Medical intelligence, on a worldwide basis, considerably overlaps with public health epidemiology. Every military medical officer, whether assigned to a medical intelligence function or not, must keep its principles in mind. [2]

United Kingdom

Written to be consistent with Allied doctrine, the UK defines MEDINT as

‘Intelligence derived from

medical, bio-scientific, epidemiological, environmental and other information related to human or animal health. Note: this intelligence, being of a specific technical nature, requires medical expertise throughout its direction and processing within the

intelligence cycle.[3]

Preparing MEDINT is part of Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace.

United States


For the United States intelligence community, the organization with principal responsibility for MEDINT is the ormer Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), now the National Center for Medical Intelligence with participation by the Department of Homeland Security. There is a blurred line between the basic responsibility of epidemiology as practiced by civilian organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), general epidemiological research by military organizations such as the Navy Medical Research Units (NAMRU), and specific medical intelligence units.

The National Intelligence Council has developed both near- to moderate-term projections of major trends as well as a methodology for national-level approach to nalysis of patterns of infectious diseases and impacts


For the U.S. military, it is not "any medical information of military importance; however, the term “medical intelligence” officially refers to finished intelligence on medical and related matters. By this definition, medical intelligence includes only finished intelligence products produced by an authorized intelligence agency such as AFMIC through the intelligence cycle."[4]

Sample collection: [5]

Medical Capabilities

In U.S. medical intelligence doctrine, these are formal finished studies that discuss things such as environmental health factors, diseases, civilian health services, and military health services.

They are intended to be specifically oriented to the needs of friendly troops and the health issues of the opponent. Medical Civilian Action Program work is outside their scope.

Disease Occurrence Worldwide

This is a monthly email with separate classified and unclassified sections, focusd militarily or strategically significant disease occurrences and events.

Scientific and Technical Intelligence Studies

Scientific and technical intelligence is not only a medical responsibility, but involves other strategic intelligence organizations. In the military, it consists of finished intelligence studies prepared by AFMIC on militarily significant life science issues and published and disseminated through DIA. Examples of generic topics covered include biological warfare and biotechnology.

Current intelligence

The AFMIC Wires summarizes current medical intelligence, including classified information to the SECRET level, which is sent electronically every 2 weeks to designated subscribers.


  1. US Department of Defense (12 July 2007), Joint Publication 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
  2. Sanftleben, Kurt A., Medical Intelligence and Preventive Medicine, The Unofficial Joint Medical Officers’ Handbook
  3. Medical Support to Joint Operations, UK Ministry of Defence, January 2007, Joint Doctrine Publication 4-03 (JDP 4-03) 2nd Edition, p. 3-2
  4. Joint Chiefs of Staff (26 April 1995), Appendix B, Medical Intelligence, JP 4-02 Doctrine for Health Service Support in Joint Operations
  5. U.S. Department of the Army (30 January 1998), Appendix H: Chemical and Biological Warfare Sampling Procedures, Field Manual 34-54: Technical Intelligence, FM 34-54pp. H1-H15