The process of tasking, collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination functions (TCPED) of intelligence data drives decision-making and intelligent operations at different levels.
It represents an intelligence cycle from tasking information intelligence process (e.g., by commander) to disseminating it to end users or proper channels. Acting based on the disseminated information is not part of the TCPED cycle.
The TCPED process utilizes intelligence to support operations at all levels. An effective TCPED process should be able to help operations and intelligence planners to address validated needs and collect data to best address those needs.
In some security literature, the term TCPED is replaced with: PCPAD (Planning and Direction, Collection, Processing and Exploitation, Analysis and Production, and Dissemination).The following section describes briefly the TCPED tasks.
- The process by which collection assets are assigned to collect based on an initial request.
- Data is collected, based on the task from all possible sources, including humans, employees, agents, other agencies, services, and allied forces. They can also be software agents or bots; small programs that crawl the web searching for certain information.
- In processing stage, data analysis activities try to extract knowledge based on requested task. Each intelligence project can require inputs from different sources and also different processing methods and tools. Additionally, this stage can be the most labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks.
- Exploitation stage extends the processing stage to convert information into intelligence.
- Dissemination is the process of passing information and findings to end users or decision-makers. Intelligence products are disseminated through all available delivery methods.