Scientific and technical intelligence

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Scientific and technical intelligence (S&TI) is a national-level intelligence discipline that involves from the collection, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of foreign scientific and technical information that covers:

  • foreign developments in basic and applied research and in applied engineering techniques;
  • scientific and technical characteristics, capabilities, and limitations of all foreign military systems, weapons, weapon systems, and materiel
  • the research and development related thereto
  • the production methods employed for their manufacture.

It differs from technical intelligence (TECHINT) which s is a more tactically oriented discipline. S&TI identifies basic new ideas, revolutionary changes in broad technologies, fundamentally improved manufacturing, etc. Measurement and signature intelligence is another approach to the same subject, which concentrates on the indirect and observable characteristics caused by its operations. So, if a nation invented a completely new way to propel bullets, the S&TI analyst would define the method. A TECHINT analyst would investigate the use of the new "gun", and a materials MASINT analyst would evaluate what the bullets did to various materials.

U.S. responsibilities

After the Second World War, and as the Cold War intensified, several external review commissions, such as the 1949 Eberstadt Report and 1954 Doolittle Report put an extremely high priority on S&TI, and were not pleased with performance to that date. Soviet nuclear progress was a matter of particular concern.