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Collection operations management (COM)

Definition Collection Operations Management (COM) refers to the systematic planning, execution, and supervision of activities related to intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance within military operations. It involves the efficient coordination and allocation of collection assets, platforms, and resources. The primary goal of COM is to provide accurate and timely information to support decision-making and operational […]


Collection Operations Management (COM) refers to the systematic planning, execution, and supervision of activities related to intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance within military operations. It involves the efficient coordination and allocation of collection assets, platforms, and resources. The primary goal of COM is to provide accurate and timely information to support decision-making and operational requirements for military commanders.

Key Takeaways

  1. Collection Operations Management (COM) is an essential activity in military operations, which involves planning, directing, and controlling the coordination of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets to gather critical information required for mission success.
  2. COM enables commanders to effectively allocate and prioritize resources, provide constant oversight and adjustments, and ensure that the collected data addresses the information requirements and aids in decision-making for the ongoing and future operations.
  3. The efficiency of a COM process is influenced by various factors, such as availability of ISR assets, proper communication, formats and protocols, timely analysis and dissemination of collected data, and adaptability to the changing environments and emerging battlefield needs.


Collection operations management (COM) is vital in military operations as it plays a crucial role in the coherent planning, coordination, and execution of intelligence collection efforts.

Successful COM ensures that a comprehensive and accurate set of data is gathered and analyzed in a timely manner, allowing military commanders to make well-informed decisions based on reliable intelligence.

By facilitating effective communication and collaboration among various intelligence units, COM streamlines the process of gathering, prioritizing, and analyzing these complex data sets, which ultimately enhances situational awareness, increases operational efficiency, and strengthens the ability to anticipate and counter potential threats.

In essence, robust COM is indispensable in supporting the overall mission effectiveness and security of military forces.


Collection operations management (COM) serves as an essential component in streamlining military operations and enhancing the commander’s situational awareness in the battlefield. The primary purpose of COM is to systematically plan, direct, and control the integration of various intelligence and information gathering assets for rapid decision-making and pivotal action.

By utilizing strategically positioned human, technological, and operational resources, COM obtains critical information that is vital for understanding the enemy’s movement, intentions, capabilities, and weaknesses, paving the way for successful military operations. Moreover, COM enables the military force to have an edge in diverse aspects of warfare such as counter-insurgency, force protection, target acquisition, or surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

In order to achieve military objectives, COM employs a collaborative approach that aligns the collection efforts across multiple intelligence agencies and assets. This coordination optimizes the use of resources, reduces redundancy, and minimizes the risk of revealing the military’s information gathering activities to the adversaries.

The gathered intelligence is then analyzed, evaluated, and disseminated in a timely manner to aid in the decision-making process of commanding officers. Consequently, Collection operations management not only fuels accurate and informed decision-making, but also ensures the operational efficiency and security of military forces, ultimately increasing the probability of success in the ever-evolving landscape of warfare.

Examples of Collection operations management (COM)

Operation Desert Storm (1991):During Operation Desert Storm, the United States and its coalition partners effectively employed Collection Operations Management (COM) to gather crucial intelligence on Iraqi military forces, their capabilities, and movements. COM facilitated the integration of various intelligence sources such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), and imagery intelligence (IMINT) to provide real-time updates and assessments of the battlefield. This played a significant role in ensuring the swift and decisive victory of the coalition forces.

Operation Medusa (2006):Operation Medusa, conducted by Canadian and other ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops during the Afghanistan war, required extensive COM activities. The operation aimed to clear Taliban forces from the Panjwaii District in Kandahar Province. COM enabled effective coordination among several intelligence sources, including reconnaissance patrols, aerial surveillance, and intercepted enemy communications, to provide tactical commanders with the information needed to assess the terrain, estimate enemy strength, and carry out precise and coordinated attacks on Taliban positions.

Operation Inherent Resolve (2014-Present):Collection Operations Management has been an essential component of the ongoing Operation Inherent Resolve, which targets ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Military forces from various countries have worked together to gather, analyze, and disseminate timely intelligence on ISIS’s activities, leadership, and infrastructure. COM has allowed these allied forces to effectively collaborate and strike key targets, while minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage. Through the use of HUMINT, SIGINT, and other intelligence-gathering methods, the COM process has contributed significantly to the successful degradation of ISIS’s operational capabilities in the region.

FAQ for Collection Operations Management (COM)

What is Collection Operations Management (COM)?

Collection Operations Management (COM) is the process of planning, executing, and managing the gathering and exploitation of information from various sources to satisfy intelligence requirements. COM plays a crucial role in the military, ensuring that relevant and timely information is made available to decision-makers during tactical and strategic operations.

What are the main components of COM?

COM consists of three main components: collection planning, collection operations, and collection management. Collection planning involves determining what information is needed and identifying the best sources to obtain it. Collection operations involve executing tasks to gather the relevant information, and collection management involves the process of assessing, prioritizing, and disseminating the information to relevant stakeholders.

How does COM support military decision-making?

COM plays a central role in supporting military decision-making by providing timely and accurate information that decision-makers can use to evaluate the current situation, anticipate changes, and plan tactical and strategic operations. By ensuring that key data is obtained and organized effectively, COM helps military leaders make informed decisions and optimize operational outcomes.

What types of sources are used in COM?

COM makes use of various sources of information, ranging from open sources like media reports and commercial imagery, to more specialized sources such as human intelligence (HUMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), geospatial intelligence (GEOINT), and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT). Each source serves a unique role in providing valuable information to support military operations.

What are some challenges faced in COM?

Some challenges faced in COM include ensuring timely and accurate information collection, managing diverse sources of information, dealing with information overload, maintaining the security and integrity of gathered information, and optimizing the use of limited resources. As the complexity of military operations continues to grow, addressing these challenges becomes increasingly important to maintain a strategic advantage.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Debt Recovery: The process of collecting delinquent VA benefits debts through various means, such as payment plans or garnishment.
  • Payment Monitoring: Tracking and managing the timely receipt of payments related to VA benefits to ensure proper account management.
  • Default Prevention: Implementing strategies and resources to assist veterans in maintaining their benefits and avoiding delinquency and defaults.
  • Collections Analysis: The continuous evaluation of collection operations procedures and performance, identifying areas for improvement and implementing changes accordingly.
  • Financial Counseling: Providing guidance and support to veterans who require assistance in understanding their VA benefits and managing their financial obligations related to those benefits.

Sources for More Information

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