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The Five AORs of OSIRIS

Updated: Aug 18

D.C. Ross / OSIRIS

I. Abstract

Generally, OSIRIS has divided the World Map into five (5) Areas of Responsibility (AOR) for our analysts: African Continent (AFRICA), Asia-Pacific (ASIA-PAC), Eurasian Realm (EURASIA), Latin America (LAT-AM), and the United States of America and Canada (US-CAN). Since the world is a very complicated subject matter in and of itself, depending on the subject, many of our reports will likely feature overlapping AORs. Below is a brief review of our definition of and reasoning for each zone....


5 July 2011, a South Sudanese soldier rehearses for his nation's Independence Day celebration. This "newest nation in the world" has been facing chronic civil warfare, extreme poverty, child soldiering, and other many forms of human rights abuses | Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Our Africa AOR pertains to the entire African continent, including Madagascar and other islands. Some intelligence agencies identify "North Africa" as culturally belonging to the "Middle East" region. In our cartography, the Middle East is part of "West Asia" and thus part of our "Asia-Pacific" AOR. Therefore, some of our intelligence briefs tagged to Africa may also be tagged to the Asia-Pacific AOR.

Additionally, Europe still possesses a residual presence in Africa from the Colonial Era. For example, the Kingdom of Spain possesses Ceuta and Melilla--two city-enclaves adjacent to the Kingdom of Morrocco, a North African nation. Therefore, some of our intelligence briefs tagged to Africa may also be tagged to the "Eurasian" AOR.


1 October 2019, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hosts "largest military parade in modern history" in Beijing, commemorating 70 years of communist rule in the Asian nation | Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

The Asia-Pacific AOR perhaps consists of the largest and most-varied section of the world under our research. This area includes the "Middle East" as part of "West Asia," the Republic of India, Mongolia, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Southeast Asian nations, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand, and the entire Pacific Ocean.

As our research progresses, we anticipate to create several subcategories of this AOR. Nations of interest in this area to many intelligence consumers include the activity and intentions of the PRC, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the State of Israel. For us, the wellbeing and security situation of all people living in this region are equally important, regardless of priority given by other reporting agencies. Many professionals in the humanitarian and civil society spaces express interest in understanding more about this AOR.


5 March, 2022, Ukrainian soldiers help facilitate civilians evacuating Kiev, days following Russia's overt kinetic war operation in Eastern Europe | Emilio Morenatti / Associated Press

For us, "Eurasia" does not have an exact border but generally pertains to Europe, its claimed islands and territories, the Russian Federation (RF), and "Central Asia"--the former Soviet territory south of the current RF--such as the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Many intelligence agencies combine Europe and Russia into one AOR due to the often shared geopolitical and geostrategic interactions between the two regions. The Central Asian republics sometimes may have more association with our "Asia-Pacific" intelligence products than the "Eurasian" AOR.


July 2020, Mexico: screenshot from unconfirmed viral footage of heavily armed gunmen with possible ties to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, pledging allegiance to high-profile drug lord Nemecio Oseguera Cervantes, and challenging the authority of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador | Uncredited Videographer / Twitter

The LAT-AM AOR consists of nations in the Western Hemisphere, south of the US, and had been primarily impacted by the Colonial Era of the French, Portuguese, and Spanish Empires, all of which featured Latin-based European languages. This AOR includes Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Sea, South America, as well as Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean, which is belongs to the Republic of Chile.

This AOR is far from homogenous and, in fact, includes hundreds of languages other than Spanish, varying kinds political and governmental systems, differing safety and security issues, as well as other cultural particularities and distinctiveness. Understanding this human mosaic as a reality for "Latin American," we nonetheless adopt the simple nomenclature given by the intelligence community at large--"LAT-AM."


8 March 2022, Alaska: US and Canadian troops train together in military exercise Arctic Edge 2022 for joint defense practice in hypothetical Arctic warfare | Master Sailor Dan Bard / Canadian Armed Forces

The United States (US) and Canada share the majority of the North American continent. The US and Canada share bilateral military agreements, as well as many cultural and linguistic similarities. Mexico and the Central American nations, though part of North America, are more culturally and linguistically closer to South American countries and, hence, belong in our LAT-AM AOR.

While Greenland is geographically closer to North American than Europe, the island belongs to the European Kingdom of Denmark. Also, Greenland forms part of the Arctic military chokepoint known as the Greenland-Iceland-United-Kingdom (GIUK) Gap. For these reasons, we do not primarily place Greenland in the US-CAN AOR.

VII. Conclusionary Remarks

Which AOR is this man falling into? 8 November 2013, Brazil: A paratrooper executes a high altitude launch and free fall over Rio Grande do Norte from a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130J Super Hercules as part of the multi-national joint-military exercise Cruzex 2013 | Sgt. Johnson / Agencia Forca Aerea Brasileira

Commonly, it can be easy for some intelligence cartographers to categorize the world into AORs with neat boundaries, geographical zones that are completely isolated from one another. However, we have noted that many intelligence, security, and humanitarian agencies--both governmental and non-governmental--tend to struggle defining their own global AORs. For instance, many agencies divide the World Map into five (5) zones, while others six (6), and many do not define these zones identically.

The purpose of our global AOR categorization scheme is to help general audiences easily locate reports on issues that may interest them without a cluttered website menu. Furthermore, we aim to further perfect our categorization to the point that several well-defined, coherent, and logical sub-categories emerge within each established AOR. Ultimately, we aim to bring knowledge of every global security issue with ease to the fingertips of a highly diverse and widespread global audience. Our AOR schematization is one step toward that goal.

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