The Intelligence Cycle is the multi-step process by means of which security intelligence is sought, collected, processed and passed on. There are five phases in this cycle:
The first step in this phase is to determine customer requirements. The Service is guided by its mandate as stated in the NSIS Act, 1998. The requirements are dynamic and change with the prevailing security situation and assessments on anticipated changes. Because of this, the Service is constantly in touch with customers to ensure that requirements are always current and relevant.
Determining customer requirements involves the identification of customer needs as well as translation of requirements into potentially achievable tasks and prioritizing, analyzing, reporting, and monitoring the quality of the product.
Once targets are identified, existing resources are used to gather intelligence but new collection requirements can be drawn depending on the type of information needed for reporting.
The basic essence of collection is access to the required target. Information from members of the public, friendly governments, and technical operations is combined with information from open sources, including newspapers, periodicals, journals, electronic news media, official documents, and other published material.
3) Exploitation and Processing
This is the conversion of collected information into a form suitable for analysis or the production of intelligence
4) Analysis and Production
This involves analysis, evaluation, translation and interpretation of raw data into finished intelligence.
This is the final step of the intelligence cycle and involves passing the finished product i.e. intelligence reports, to the consumers. The quality and relevance of the disseminated reports may lead to re-specification of intelligence collection requirements, thereby completing the cycle.