The value of the virtual realm for training has been recognized for some time, but now artificial reality is being exploited for many other applications. Web 2.0 capabilities have opened new doors in cyberspace, and people and organizations are embracing the new world of virtual collaboration. The only limits to using this make-believe realm may be those of human imagination. SIGNAL's May issue looks at ongoing efforts to explore collaboration in the virtual world.
Intelligence data is under a virtual microscope and literally surrounding analysts with the opening of a facility at the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia. Under the auspices of the Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Laboratory is the new home for representatives from the services as well as from industry and academia. The laboratory enables them to view real-world operational data in innovative ways and solve commanders’ real-world problems. After evaluating technologies and methodologies, intelligence experts pass along promising solutions seasoned with ideas about doctrine; concepts of operations; and tactics, techniques and procedures to heighten their success.
The National Reconnaissance Office has come down to Earth with a new emphasis on ground-based systems for delivering its remote sensing to users. This new focus on the ground infrastructure that supports space systems may be the only way the office can keep its orbital assets in step with the high-technology revolution raging unabated on Earth.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is offering its intelligence users a menu instead of serving them the food of its own choosing. A new online system being implemented incrementally will provide the agency’s customers with the capability to individually tailor their own diet of geospatial intelligence services and products.
The next threat” is the biggest worry facing the U.S. intelligence community, according to its director. While terrorism is the current primary threat facing the security of the Free World, the purveyors of terrorism might take new approaches to tactics and procedures that would change the nature of their threat—and the type of damage that they could inflict on an innocent populace. The same players would be doing harm, but they would be striking in entirely different ways—and they might be joining forces with others to pursue their agenda of destruction.
Recognizing that the Global War on Terrorism covers many distinct areas of the world, the U.S. Army is expanding its intelligence databases by adding regional analysis capabilities for its areas of operation. This information will be stored in distributed data warehouses that allow analysts to access and share actionable intelligence to support forces in theater. Army intelligence brigades will use these tools to store and study data before providing it to deployed forces.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is integrating all of its intelligence and reconnaissance platforms and systems into a single architecture capable of providing 24-hour battlefield surveillance. The effort also will provide a means of distributing and disseminating collected data to warfighters down to the tactical level.
The intelligence community is breaking down boundaries—geographic and policy—in an effort to transform itself for the 21st century. As a new wave of personnel demands more information more rapidly, operations are becoming more federated, and the way agencies view their relationships with each other and foreign countries is adapting.
The intelligence community’s one-year-old Intellipedia already is paying benefits to its users, according to Central Intelligence Agency officials. However, a majority of the community remains unfamiliar with its benefits and uncomfortable with its use.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has created an organization that will increase the speed of technical developments and infuse synergy into the intelligence agencies so they can recapture their ability to surprise adversaries. The activity merges the efforts and expertise of three intelligence organizations and takes aim at the process problems that crept into the agencies during the past few years. Among the technical targets will be ways to improve knowledge in the social sciences, neural sciences, biology and nanotechnology.