Joint Task Force X conducts HUMINT operations

Article / April 14, 2016

The current environment in which the CAF operates is more complex than ever and commanders at all levels require detailed situational awareness to support their decision-making; increasing the demand on various intelligence collection assets to provide relevant and timely information.

The evolution of threats from traditionally large conventional forces to decentralized entities has increased both the requirement for and challenges to today’s sensor and collection efforts. Joint Task Force X (JTF X) is Canada’s modern day human intelligence (HUMINT) unit, responsible for the provision of strategic, operational and tactical HUMINT resources in support of DND/CAF programs and operations. To achieve its mandate, JTF X must select and generate source handlers and interrogators from within the CAF. 

What is HUMINT?

HUMINT is a category of intelligence derived from information collected and provided by human sources. It is the oldest form of intelligence collection and its contribution to recent operations continues to demonstrate its effectiveness as a collection capability and force multiplier. HUMINT is critical to understanding how threat actors function within today’s operational environments, including the enemy’s intent, gaining an appreciation of social norms, customs and values, individual and collective patterns of life, and opinions. This enables the CAF to better predict, prevent or protect against a threat actor’s intent and activities. As such, it remains imperative that the CAF retain the ability to ensure a highly trained, equipped and capable group of HUMINT specialists to accomplish this high pay-off task.

How do we collect HUMINT?

Although HUMINT operators are always looking for technological advancements to augment their capabilities, the core aspect of the discipline remains the ability to interact with and gain information from individuals. HUMINT operations include a wide range of activities, such as source handling, interrogation, debriefing and counter-intelligence. HUMINT operators will adapt their operational profiles and tradecraft for each of these activities based on the level of threat, operational environment, and individuals that they are interacting with. Within these activities, source handling and intelligence interrogation operations are two disciplines that provide an extensive and sustained flow of information of intelligence value. 

Source handling

Source handlers apply their tradecraft through interactions with a willing individual to answer a commander’s Primary Information Requirements. Source handlers are required to identify, recruit and develop sources based on a variety of criteria utilising skills both inherent and trained. They can be employed in all environments, from permissive to hostile. As a result, source handler selection seeks individuals with diverse attributes such as mental agility, flexibility, social adaptability, patience and leadership, coupled with high standards of communications skills, physical fitness, robustness and an ability to work in small teams.


Intelligence Interrogations Operations (IIOps) are a significant contributor to the HUMINT collection capability that entails methodical and sustained questioning of individuals in support to operational planning and execution. IIOps require interrogators to be highly resilient, flexible, patient and professional individuals. The highly sensitive nature of IIOps means that interrogators are expected to consistently display the highest level of ethical behaviour; abiding by the laws and policies that regulate the conduct of these operations. Like source handlers, interrogators must undergo a mentally strenuous training program that prepares them to deal with the infinitely wide array of personalities, languages, levels of hostility, and racial and ethnic backgrounds of individuals that they must work with. 

The selection process

The selection process is both rigorous and extensive; requiring candidates to think “outside the box”, as well as demonstrate maturity, superior cognitive skills, strong interpersonal qualities and leadership. Successfully selected candidates will then embark on the challenging Source Handler Operator’s Course or Interrogator Course, lasting 18 and 12 weeks respectively. Both courses are extremely demanding, with only the most capable candidates graduating and being offered the opportunity to join the ranks of JTF X. Upon posting to JTF X at CFB Kingston, graduates will undergo continuation training, including advanced weapons handling, security and survival skills and specialty tradecraft, in order to attain the high readiness status expected of all operators within the unit. Members of JTF X are regularly deployed on different taskings all over the globe and are expected to maintain a high level of fitness and operational readiness during the length of their posting at the unit.

JTF X is continuously accepting candidate applications for the Source Handler Assessment Centre (SHAC) and Interrogator Assessment Centre (IAC). If you are interested in a rewarding, challenging and radically different career opportunity, please contact the Recruiting and Selection Officer via DWAN intranet email at +SHAC@CFINTGP HQ@OTTAWA-HULL or at +IAC@CFINTGP HQ@OTTAWA-HULL or via CSN at 271-7803.

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