An intelligence ‘asset’ refers to either a human source, tool, or piece of equipment used to satisfy information requirements.
Traditionally, the term ‘asset’ referred to HUMINT sources. Today however, our intelligence vernacular has expanded to identify an asset any thing designed, developed, cultivated or utilised to collect information required.
An intelligence asset is used for the collection of information.
The asset is what we use to get the information. The type of information depends on the intelligence discipline.
For example, let’s say a local Police patrol is tasked to satisfy an outstanding information requirement. Information is requested about an address or person of interest. When the Police provide this information, they’re considered the ‘collection’ assets. The same is true of a satellite collecting quality images of enemy establishments or unique communications information.
In the simplest terms – a collection asset is the person or ‘thing’ who collects required information.