In addition to creating a wider picture of the main trends in irregular migration and other phenomena in the medium and long term, Frontex also pays close attention to the daily developments in the areas of its joint operations at the external borders. Operational personnel made available by the Member States report back continuously via coordination centres on changes in the methods used of the people smugglers and other factors affecting joint operations. Smuggling networks pay close attention to operational activities at the border and adjust their tactics. For this reason, information such as the main nationalities of migrants, the routes they have taken and other details about the smuggling networks involved are all collected and analysed in order to maximise the effectiveness of operations.
This process already begins before a joint operation is launched. A specific assessment is drafted for the preparation of the planning of all operations describing the main trends, routes and methods used by smugglers for the key regions mostly targeted by smuggling networks. This assessment points to where joint operations should be launched, for which period and what should be their focus. When a specific operation in set to be launched, the operational analysts focus on a higher level of details on the most likely routes used by people smugglers, their likely methods and other specific phenomena at local level. These details are then incorporated into a tactical focused assessment (TFA), which in turn is used to finalise the operational plan to determine exactly what types of technical equipment are most appropriate for a given operation. For example, it would show whether to use fast boats or larger vessels or whether helicopters or airplanes would be best suited to a given environment. The precise location and length of joint operations are also determined largely by the TFA.
All this intelligence is then fed back to operational personnel via international, national and local coordination centres to constantly refine the daily operational procedures to maximise effectiveness.
The Eurosur Regulation requires Frontex to assess the impact of migration and cross border crime on all sea and land sections at the external border of the Member States of the European Union. This task is carried out by operational analysts who regularly look at the factors that influence the level of threat, vulnerability and impact on each of the sections.
Operational analysis yields a great number of periodic reports that provide a fresh and detailed picture not only for operational personnel but also for Frontex management, the European Commission and national and international law enforcement bodies. All the data gathered through operational analysis are also used in the strategic analysis process to keep the situational picture as up-to-date as possible.