MASINT

Measurement and Signature Intelligence is made up of six major disciplines, but the disciplines overlap and intertwine. They interact with the more traditional intelligence disciplines of HUMINT, IMINT, and SIGINT. To be more confusing, while MASINT is highly technical and is called such, TECHINT is another discipline, dealing with such things as the analysis of captured equipment.

An example of the interaction is "imagery-defined MASINT (IDM)". In IDM, a MASINT application would measure the image, pixel by pixel, and try to identify the physical materials, or types of energy, that are responsible for pixels or groups of pixels: signatures. When the signatures are then correlated to precise geography, or details of an object, the combined information becomes something greater than the whole of its IMINT and MASINT parts.

The Center for MASINT Studies and Research [2] breaks MASINT into:

Electro–optical MASINT
Nuclear MASINT
Geophysical MASINT
Radar MASINT
Materials MASINT

Where COMINT and ELINT, the two major components of SIGINT, focus on the intentionally transmitted part of the signal, radiofrequency MASINT focuses on unintentionally transmitted information. For example, a given radar antenna will have sidelobes emanating from other than the direction in which the main antenna is aimed. The RADINT (radar intelligence) MASINT subdiscipline involves learning to recognize a radar both by its primary signal, captured by ELINT, and its sidelobes, perhaps captured by the main ELINT sensor, or, more likely, a sensor aimed at the sides of the radio antenna.

MASINT associated with COMINT might involve the detection of common background sounds expected with human voice communications. For example, if a given radio signal comes from a radio used in a tank, if the interceptor does not hear engine noise or higher voice frequency than the voice modulation usually uses, even though the voice conversation is meaningful, MASINT might suggest it is a deception, not coming from a real tank.

 

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