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Radio Traffic Analysis in WWI

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Percy Toplis

Geregistreerd op: 9-5-2009
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Jan 2011 23:54    Onderwerp: Radio Traffic Analysis in WWI Reageer met quote

The Origination and Evolution of Radio Traffic Analysis: The World WarI Era

Not unlike the telegraph and ita influence on the American Civil War, the invention of
radio had a profound affect on World War I military operations and in all conflicts since
1901. Signals intelligence, a new form ofintelligence produced from the intercept of radio
traffic, developed on a parallel course with radio during the early years of the twentieth
century. Although signals intelligence was identified as a method to produce useful and
critical information during war, it did not mature as a significant tool until after the "War
to End All Wars." Radio traffic analysis, a branch of signals intelligence, was not even
recognized as a separate technique until long after the First World War ended.
Nevertheless, traffic analysis, or TIA, existed as a function in that era and made significant
contributions to military operations and to the development ofsignals intelligence.
For the American signals intelligence service, radio traffic analysis originated as a
technique in the codebreaking section and with the clerks in the goniometric or Direction
Finding (DFJ service of the American Expeditionary Force. The early cryptanalysts
developed TIA techniques to identify the originator and receiver of radio messages and to
determine the more important encoded or enciphered messages to attack. TIA also evolved
in the DF service with the clerks who discovered ways to produce intelligence from analysis
ofthe externals ofmessages and from the location ofthe radio transmitters.
The increasingly more complex communications systems which defied cryptanalytic
attack provided the impetus for these developments. The signals intelligence services had to
continually be alert to more effective enemy encryption - an eternal challenge - and the
function oftraffic analysis rose to that challenge on more than one occasion.
The intention ofthis article then is to trace the relevance ofthe traffic analysis function
to military operations in the early twentieth century and to see the past through the eyes of
the present and in light ofits problems. We will examine the different ways TIA evolved and
how it was employed during those early years. Later articles will examine the development
ofradio traffic analysis and its use between the wars and during World War II.

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