I once heard the post-9/11 era referred to as the “golden age of SIGINT.” SIGINT, shorthand for signals intelligence, is a form of intelligence gathering that involves the collection of signals. The reference to its golden age is based on the communications explosion that occurred after the turn of the millennium coupled with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which enabled SIGINT to provide enhanced quality and value to the Intelligence Community (IC).
SIGINT is not a new capability and has played a large part in all military conflicts and actions since World War II. Despite its widespread use, SIGINT was often perceived by the IC as being less valuable than human intelligence (HUMINT).
However, the years following 9/11 brought a major change to the extent that SIGINT was used by the IC. SIGINT is now perceived as being the premier intelligence capability, overtaking HUMINT as the intelligence of choice for military leaders national decision makers.
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