CMR stands for “Collection Management Requirements.” It is a term used by the United States military to refer to the process of gathering and analyzing intelligence to support military operations. CMR helps military leaders understand the battlefield environment and make informed decisions.
What is Collection Management Requirements (CMR)?
CMR is the process of identifying, prioritizing, and validating intelligence requirements. It involves determining what types of intelligence need to be collected, from what sources, and in what priority order to support military planning and operations.
The goals of CMR are:
- Identify intelligence gaps
- Prioritize intelligence needs
- Guide the tasking of intelligence collection assets
- Ensure efficient use of collection resources
- Meet commanders’ intelligence needs
CMR transforms intelligence needs into collection requirements that drive the tasking of intelligence assets. It aligns intelligence collection with operational requirements.
The CMR process involves five key steps:
- Requirements Development – Intelligence professionals identify what types of information commanders need to support operations.
- Requirements Management – Requirements are entered into a database and assigned priorities based on operational significance.
- Collection Management – Requirements are used to task and direct intelligence collection assets.
- Requirements Satisfaction – Collected intelligence is analyzed and provided to commanders.
- Requirements Evaluation – The CMR process is assessed to identify any gaps or inefficiencies.
This cyclical process continuously provides intelligence to inform operational decisions while identifying emerging intelligence needs.
Roles and Responsibilities
Several military organizations and personnel manage different parts of the CMR process:
- Combatant commanders and their intelligence staff determine intelligence requirements for their area of responsibility.
- Service intelligence centers consolidate and prioritize requirements from multiple commands.
- Defense Intelligence Agency coordinates intelligence collection to satisfy requirements.
- National agencies like CIA and NSA collect intelligence and provide analysis.
- Military service collection managers handle tasking, processing, exploitation, and dissemination.
While many stakeholders are involved, the supported commander drives the requirements to enable their decision-making.
CMR coordinates collection across all intelligence disciplines:
- Signals intelligence (SIGINT) – Intercepting communications and electronic signals.
- Imagery intelligence (IMINT) – Visual imagery from satellites and aircraft.
- Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) – Data from sensors to detect unique intelligence signatures.
- Human intelligence (HUMINT) – Intelligence gathered from human sources.
- Open-source intelligence (OSINT) – Publicly available information from open sources.
Each discipline provides unique intelligence that may satisfy one or more requirements. CMR ensures collection strategies fully leverage all disciplines.
CMR is crucial to the intelligence cycle and enables effective military operations in several ways:
- Provides intelligence tailored to commanders’ needs.
- Enables predictive analysis vs. reactionary responses.
- Focuses collection on priority requirements.
- Prevents duplicating collection efforts.
- Optimizes utilization of collection assets and resources.
- Drives innovation to develop new collection capabilities.
- Adapts collection as requirements change.
Through CMR, intelligence drives operations while operations identify intelligence needs in a continuous cycle. This integration is vital to modern military decision-making.
Here are some examples of how CMR enabled key U.S. military operations and events:
Operation Desert Storm
- CMR focused imagery intelligence on Iraqi defenses prior to and during the Gulf War air campaign.
- Detailed imagery of enemy locations enabled precise targeting of bombing runs.
- CMR shifted collection based on evolving operational needs as the air campaign progressed.
War on Terror
- CMR focused SIGINT, HUMINT, and OSINT capabilities on terrorism threats.
- CMR enabled the surge of ISR assets to Iraq and Afghanistan to support counterinsurgency operations.
- Requirements evolved to support counterterrorism efforts worldwide.
- CMR is enabling intelligence support to the Ukrainian military.
- U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and satellites are collecting imagery of Russian forces.
- The U.S. is sharing tailored intelligence with Ukraine to meet critical requirements.
These examples demonstrate the flexibility of CMR in adapting collections to support evolving military operations.
In summary, Collection Management Requirements is the process of identifying, prioritizing, and validating intelligence requirements to drive collection efforts. CMR transforms needs into action by tasking assets, guiding operations, and enabling commanders’ decision-making. This disciplined methodology provides tailored, timely intelligence to the warfighter, ensuring collection aligns with mission objectives.