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INFILTRATING MILITARY INTELLIGENCE AND DEVELOPING BUSINESS (PART 2)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Dan Callahan

With some of this basic knowledge out of the way (refer to Part 1), you may want to know that it has been estimated that 75% of the IC budget eventually flows towards the military. Keep in mind that if you break down the IC into civilian and military, then we're talking the following agencies: NSA, MCIA (USMC Intelligence Activity), DIA, NGA, NRO, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the USAF. Obviously, the entire Army is not an intelligence agency, but others in this list are entirely absorbed into the IC. Interestingly, the NSA just recently became labeled as a combat agency, moving away from Combat Support Agency (CSA). This was an upgrade on several levels. And realize that there are plenty of joint commands where a security clearance is absolutely in use, for instance, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), to name just a few. Most space related organizations operate at SECRET or above.

When you compare this amalgamated budget to the civilian intelligence budget, it definitely overshadows those comprised by the CIA, Department of the Treasury, DoE/NNSA, DHS, State Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). What you don't see always see in the list, unless it is fairly current, is the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) which, of course, is dead center of the IC. Don’t get hung up on categorical definitions because in Washington there are many ways to count just about everything. That’s why I use the figure $75B as a market sizing figure, since this is what DNI Dennis Blair made public recently. Whether or not there are sixteen or more is almost academic until you begin selling, at which time you really do need to know details (e.g., locations, leadership, mission, etc.). If you must divide the overall IC into three buckets, use IC-law enforcement, IC-civilian, and IC-military.

One of the things that make MI different from civilian intelligence is their operational tempo (OPTEMPO). Since lives may be truly on the line, they generally need what they need NOW. If you can't develop at least a little passion for "supporting the warfighter" you may want to send someone else to this party. Realize that their mission and end-game is to kill the enemy and get home alive.

I have noticed that the military tends to want turnkey solutions that can be rapidly installed and made operational very quickly (in hot and dry locations) and with little or no training or heavy maintenance. This suits the twenty-something trigger-puller who may not know UNIX commands or has a desire to learn when bullets are whizzing by. He only wants to kill the enemy and get home alive. Keep this in mind if you're adapting your product or service for this community.

Now that we've discussed the basics, let's look at penetrating these organizations. Most every sales professional is going to advise you to "start high" within the top command structure; for instance, Army Intelligence is commanded at the Pentagon by the Army G2; this is mostly a policy, resourcing and leadership command shop. Operationally, the Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) gets the daily work accomplished. Large decisions will be made at this level, not at the subordinate commands which, in this case are the brigade or battalion. Unless your solution is affecting large resources or policy, begin at this command level, not the subordinate command. As you'll see, there are at least several field operating units that report to a military headquarters or Major Command. So, make sure when you get into a sales opportunity, you're speaking to folks who have budget for your solution and can decide.

Far and away, the most efficient manner to penetrate these organizations is via AFCEA, and several private companies (NCSI.com, MeetingMatterplus.com, IDGA.org, and others) who sponsor large and small events. Also, associated with each major agency, there tends to be a smaller association of sorts that provide networking and relationship building around that particular agency (that's all I'm gonna say… you wouldn't expect me to give away ALL my secrets, would you?)

When exhibiting at any kind of tradeshow event, my rule of thumb is that smaller venues are more effective and the ones with more focus yield better results. For instance, the term 'security' can include knives, steel-tipped boots, armor plated vehicles as well as canine training services. Your average software developer does not know this, so if you're coming from a commercial background or from Silicon Valley, it's best to do some homework before spending $20K on the largest tradeshow presence that you can find (e.g., IT security is more often termed "information assurance" and general term "security" is better applied to the physical domain, not the virtual).

Here is a tactical tip: when you go into a MI building or a meeting, notice which magazines the client is reading. If you're not reading those same periodicals, perhaps you should. Among my obvious favorites are Signal Magazine, C4ISR Journal and Government Executive Magazine.

These often profile military intelligence issues, programs and challenges. There are also several paid news services that focus exclusively on DoD procurement of mostly very high end assets. If you're selling aircraft, satellite technology or vehicles, you can probably afford these, which can cost as much as $1,000 per year to subscribe. It's my opinion, that you need at least INPUT, or FedSources or some equivalent service to track procurements. Even the MI community occasionally posts UNCLASS announcements regarding acquisition activity.

There are also some very useful blogs. AFCEA hosts Joe Mazzafro's MASSINT (see this site). Another informative and widely read is CTOVision.com; its host, Bob Gourley, is the former CTO of the DIA and has a qualified opinion on many issues. I also like http://intel20.blogspot.com/.

More could be said but the key is the best time to get started is now, and don't wait until you feel you know everything you need to, else you'll never get started. Happy hunting!

Question: did anyone notice that the Special Operation Command (SOCOM) is growing again? Who's up for a road trip to Tampa?