Decision makers in defence and security require timely and accurate situational awareness to prevent or defeat evolving threats. Particularly in the area of unconventional conflicts or homeland security, e.g. in the fight against organized crime and terrorism, heterogeneous and complex non-military factors influence the situation. To be able to automatically support human operators in the intelligence processing, a sound understanding of the reasoning of operators in the human dominated area of heuristic information, processing and fusion is necessary. The main intelligence processing steps, which are not dependent of the area of application, are described in this paper. Large volumes of information and data from various types of sources and agencies have to be processed in order to gain an appropriate awareness of the situation. Structured data is a necessary precondition for any automated processing. Therefore, a particular attention is paid to the collation step, which is the structuring of all incoming information. Special tools supporting military operators in structuring text information are presented as an example of the actual interactive approach to coping with semantic information. A second challenging aspect of the automation of information fusion is the heuristic nature of human decision making. The human method of default reasoning, based on knowledge about the behaviour and structure of adversary factions, can be used for a model-based approach to support the transformation of information into intelligence. For civil security, as in (air)ports or public transportation, near real time data and information processing for situation awareness is more important than long-term reconnaissance for threat detection. The integrated processing of sensor data and background information based on available knowledge about relevant factors of the situation, including tactical and operational behaviour information of the objects under concern, will improve sensor data processing algorithms and contribute to tactical intelligence for threat detection and situational awareness as a necessary precondition for decision support. HAMLeT, a demonstration system for the localization of hazardous material and person tracking, is presented as an example of support for security personnel monitoring an access control areas.