Ioannis Michaletos
(RIEAS Junior Analyst and Coordinator at the World Security Network Foundation, Southeastern Europe Office)


The Greek Army has created a global OSINT center- ÊÅÐËÇ/ÃÅÓ-, by which it will monitor 24/7 all news, analysis, briefings, reports and information in general around military affairs worldwide. That includes a constant import of information from the media, websites, web logs, Think-Tanks, public comments and other OSINT based information, including web logs and public forums. The Center is embedded in the Army's J2 Staff Office.

According to the monthly defense journal in Athens “Strategy”; the center started operating on a pilot basis in October 2006 and became fully operational on May 2007. It is composed by 150 members (Officers& NCOs) that were selected on basis of their knowledge of foreign languages, internet management and education on issues relevant to OSINT management and intelligence gathering. Moreover most of the members of this unit underwent training in Greece and other NATO countries on the aforementioned sectors and some of them hold degrees in international relations, diplomatic studies and journalism.

Already in Greece since 2003 another similar directory exists, which is subordinate to the Joint Chief of Staff Headquarters which is directed by a Brigadier General on a rotation basis with the equivalent grades in the Navy and Air force. It is named Military Intelligence Chiefs of Staff Directorate. 

The weekly Greek newspaper “Investors world” comments that this new Army unit is the first of its kind in South Eastern Europe and will play a decisive role in collecting the vital pieces of Open Source information that the country's Army might need. Already at least 90% of all information collected from intelligence or security services; comes from OSINT and it is vital for any organization to have its own modus operandi of getting the “Big picture” that hides behind a multitude of incoming information.

Moreover, the Greek Army OSINT center will have access to the Command Control and Information facilities of the Army, Navy and Air force. Thus it will be capable of conducting wide range researches across the country and speed-up considerably the “Intelligence cycle”. Over the coming years the Greek military aims to create an information structure that includes the use of satellites, AWACKS, OSINT Centers, CCTV’s, electronic surveillance planes &ships; so as to downgrade costs of intelligence handling and upgrade considerably its abilities in conducting “21st Century” intelligence management. Further, the Center closely cooperates with the Greek Police's "Electronic Crime Directory” that is being supervised by the Security Command of the Attica Prefecture. 

A crucial addition to the Greek Air Force dynamic and in relation to the dynamics of the OSINT Center is the 4 EMB-145H AWACS that are being constructed by a French-Brazilian-Swedish consortium. Greece for the first time in its Air history will acquire air radar capabilities with an average detection range of 350 km for enemy planes and 150 km for incoming cruise missiles. It is assumed that these four aircraft could fully meet the needs for a defense from the Northern Aegean Archipelagos and up to the central Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Greek Army already procured the French made Sprewer type UAV's that will assist for the real-time information mostly for the Eastern front in the Greek-Turkish borders.

Lastly along the OSINT Centre, a specialized team of Officers will monitor the internet for cases of intentional or unintentional leak of sensitive documents and classified information. The team enacted its operation a few months ago and according to the Greek media it has already uncovered six cases of leakages by military personnel that shared files or posted in the World Wide Web, documents of sensitive nature. In two instances it was revealed that ex-military personnel exchanged files of sensitive or even classified nature with foreigners via popular file-sharing systems in the internet.

Furthermore the team conducts inspections all-along the spectrum of critical information infrastructure of the military in order to make sure safety rules are followed and propose necessary adjustments. Its members were selected due to their computer and electronics knowledge and have in their use of hi-tech software platforms that survey internet constantly. They also cooperate closely with the Greek Police Special Unit on Electronic Crime that functions over the past decade. At that point it is interesting to note that the Greek State has decided on late July this year to form a platform of cooperation and interconnection between all organizations concerned with internet security, surveillance and telecommunications, even though no other details have surfaced in the press on how this will affect the military infrastructure of the country in that field.

The importance of the OSINT management has gained a wide recognition all over the world, and it is of importance to note that CIA has announced to the media over the past period that it monitors web logs all over the world, as a mean of gaining wide-angle information on societal developments internationally. The journalist Makis Pollatos, an expert on Greek Military, questions the ability of the Joint Chief of Staff intelligence center to withstand colleague pressure from the already existing J2 branches in the Army, Navy, Air force that view the newest development from a conservative point of view, fearing that their role will be downgraded in the future. Moreover the center has the potential and the legal framework, according to the Greek political review "Diplomacy" to recruit HUMINT assets, as well as, explore new means of acquiring essential intelligence by consulting specialized institutions, research centers, universities and the mass media.

The recent creation of a similar Army OSINT Center, reveals that conservatism was more due to internal antagonism and the future might find Greece with three Open Source Centers, along with a over sighting Joint one.

Greece apart from the Military Intelligence has a civil one, namely the National Intelligence Service-NIS- which in time of war or emergency becomes subordinated to the Ministry of Defense, whilst it normally remains under the authority of the Ministry of Public Order. The most recent information from the Greek press reveals plans of the incumbent government to reshuffle intelligence organizations and merge the Home Affairs Ministry with that of the Public Order. In that case the NIS might become an autonomous public body under the exclusive authority of the Prime Minister or a special division within the new enlarged Ministry.

As the complexities mount in the modern world and critical information have to be retrieved fast and accurately; the role of similar OSINT centers will increase and spread throughout the military structures of all states in the world. In the case of Greece a significant effort began for the safety of Olympic Games in 2004, and continues up to date with the re-engineering of the intelligence apparatus of the country. 


1)"Greek Defense Developments", By Ioannis Michaletos, 18-03-07, Greek Studies Section, Research Institute on European & American Studies-RIEAS-,, Alimos-Greece

2)"Army's Intelligence Center", News Briefs, April 2007, Defense & Diplomacy Journal, P. 84 Vol. 192, Athens-Greece

3)"Greek Army enacts OSINT Center", Greek Information Section, April 2007, Greek Defense Journal, P. 25, Vol. 14, Athens-Greece

4)" Army's Information Unit",News Briefs,March 2007, Strategy Journal, P. 33, Vol. 150, Athens-Greece

5)"The Military Intelligence", By Makis Pollatos, February 2006, Diplomacy Journal Vol. 27, Athens-Greece

6)"Army creates Intelligence Center", By Manos Iliades, 31-03-07, Investor's World Newspaper, Peristeri-Greece

7)National Intelligence Service:, Ministry of Defense:, Ministry of Public

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