Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions. This is achieved by providing an assessment of available data from a wide range of sources, directed towards the commanders' mission requirements or responding to focused questions as part of the operational or campaign planning activity. In order to provide an informed analysis, the commander's information requirements are first identified. These information requirements are then incorporated into a process of intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination.
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 intelligence capabilities will interact with civilian intelligence capabilities to inform the spectrum of political and military activities.
Personnel selected for intelligence duties may be selected for their analytical abilities and personal intelligence before receiving formal training.