Intelligence

July 17, 2017
IARPA), the research arm for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has announced the Functional Map of the World (fMoW) challenge, which officially kicks off in August.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has announced the functional Map of the World (fMoW) Challenge, which officially kicks off in August. The challenge invites experts to develop deep learning and automation technologies to classify points of interest from satellite imagery. The goal is to promote research in object identification and classification to automatically identify facility, building and land use.

July 7, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Robert Dixon, special adviser for innovation, DIA, announces the agency’s third industry day series set for August 2-3 at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.

Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning is a hot topic for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the agency isn’t letting conventional thinking stand in the way of finding innovative ideas. The upcoming Director’s 3rd Quarterly Industry Day is just one example. From planning to execution, the two-day event is designed to find new capabilities and business processes from the private sector and academia.

June 28, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
DIA Director Lt. Gen Vincent Stewart, USMC, who was recently tapped to become U.S. Cyber Command’s deputy commander, says analyzing and distributing the growing amount of data the intelligence community collects is a constant challenge.

Senior intelligence officials identified the increasing amount of data and how to handle it as the one of the largest challenges the intelligence community faces today. “We are collecting more data than we can effectively process,” said Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. Gen Vincent Stewart, USMC. “What we process, we struggle to make sense of, and what we understand, we can’t effectively disseminate across a global enterprise to ensure it helps drive critical decision making.”

June 28, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman and Breann Pendleton

As industry and government work to hammer out complex details in the cyberthreat intelligence struggle, each side expects support from the other—but both must improve the foundational understanding of the capabilities each brings to the table. Many of these issues will define the agenda of AFCEA’s Classified Cyber Forum, to be held July 13 at the Heritage Conference Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

June 1, 2016
The DragonflEye, a cyborg insect intended for a variety of missions, recently completed its first test flight.

The DragonflEye, a cyborg insect intended for a variety of missions, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, has liftoff.

The system was created by researchers at Charles Stark Draper Laboratories Inc. and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus. The dragonfly wears a tiny backpack fitted with electronics, sensors and a solar cell. A light source charges the solar cell, which powers the backpack.

The DragonflEye recently completed its first test flight for data gathering purposes.

June 9, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

Diverse sciences ranging from forensics to nanoscale chemical sampling and storage are among the research opportunities being targeted by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to support future U.S. intelligence community activities. Some of these research areas are offered in a series of proposers’ days in advance of broad agency announcements, while others have passed that step and are in the request for information stage.

May 10, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
The home page of the ODNI’s Xpress challenge serves both as an information resource about the competition and a portal for potential entrants. Organizations are able to register to compete right up to the end of the contest on July 5.

More than 245 companies, organizations and academic institutions are vying to develop machine analytics tools for the intelligence community in an open competition. The starting gun for this challenge went off in April, and a total prize purse of $500,000 awaits, including $270,000 for the top five performing teams. Another $230,000 will be awarded in additional categories.

May 1, 2017
By George I. Seffers
The late Hugh Montgomery, a former ambassador who retired from the CIA in 2014 after serving the intelligence community for more than six decades, displays photographs from his younger days.

Editor’s note: Hugh Montgomery, the focus of this article, passed away April 6, just weeks after this SIGNAL interview.

It is just a matter of time before other countries face insider leaks similar to those that have haunted the American intelligence community, said Hugh Montgomery, a former U.S. diplomat and a pioneering intelligence officer who served for more than six decades.

May 9, 2017

The Department of Defense released today the revised Military Intelligence Program top line budget request for fiscal 2017 that was disclosed to the public on February 9, 2016. The $16.8 billion is now updated to include additional funding above the initial president's budget request. The total, which includes both the base budget and overseas contingency operations funding, is $18.5 billion.  

May 2, 2017

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) now delivers unclassified geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) to verified government users via an application for tablets and mobile devices. Tearline, available though the Apple App Store and Google Play, is open to the intelligence community, U.S. Defense Department, allies, and academic and private sector partners sponsored into the system.

NGA’s GEOINT Pathfinder project developed the app. The shell is delivered from the app stores, but from that point, users need credentials to access secure servers.

April 28, 2017
By Maryann Lawlor
Lt. Col. Matthew Castillo, USAF, commander, 35th Intelligence Squadron, speaks about the Cyberspace Threat Intelligence Center during the facility’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Airmen and contractors with the 35th IS will conduct operations from the new facility.

A new defensive cyberspace operations facility at Joint Base San Antonio will boost the 35th Intelligence Squadron’s ability to meet growing demands for analysis of intelligence coming from multiple sources. Although located in Texas, personnel at the Cyberspace Threat Intelligence Center (CTIC) will support operations worldwide.

In 2015, the squadron’s support to the defensive cyberspace operations community increased by more than 300 percent, which led to the need for a new facility, says Lt. Col. Matthew Castillo, USAF, commander, 35th Intelligence Squadron.

April 28, 2017

Forecasting data collected during the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity's (IARPA’s) Aggregative Contingent Estimation (ACE) program by team Good Judgment is now available for use by the public and the research community via

April 17, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

The cannonade of small satellites hovering above the Earth is creating a dilemma for government and industry alike: how to process enormous amounts of data sent to the ground. 

Collecting information isn’t the hard part, nor is transmitting it, experts say. What vexes intelligence analysts the most is not being able to make heads or tails of petabyte upon petabyte of data. But the government seeks help from the commercial world to make that happen.

4/7/17
By George I. Seffers
Hugh Montgomery, who jumped into Normandy on D-Day with the 82nd Airborne, served in the early days of the CIA.

Editor’s note: Hugh Montgomery, a legendary longtime officer in the intelligence community and a diplomat, died April 6. Just two weeks ago, he gave an interview to SIGNAL Magazine comparing global threats decades ago and now. We would like to honor his service in the cause of freedom by publishing this excerpt from that article about his experiences over the years. The complete article will appear in the May issue of SIGNAL.

March 7, 2017
By Sandra Jontz

WikiLeaks is posting thousands of files Tuesday the organization says detail the CIA’s efforts to surveil overseas targets by tapping otherwise ordinary devices that are connected to the Internet. The anti-secrecy group launched a “new series of leaks,” this time taking aim at the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, which falls under the agency’s Digital Innovation Directorate. 

January 24, 2017

U.S. intelligence community researchers need technology capable of retrieving information from a multilingual repository and converting the data into English.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) released a broad agency announcement late last week for the Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language (MATERIAL) program. The program aims to develop an English-in, English-out capability in which questions asked in English are answered the same way. Proposals are due March 20.

December 9, 2016
By Rob Morrow

Right at this moment, hundreds of U.S. government analysts are trying to solve the exact same problem. Each is tackling a number of major national and international security issues, from cyberthreats to terrorism, global health crises and public safety problems. Without easy, trusted data sharing, these analysts, who the nation relies on to solve the most challenging of worries, cannot benefit from shared knowledge—a hurdle that adds to inefficiencies fostered by redundancies, reinforcing the public’s perception of ineffective federal bureaucracy.

January 6, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman

Russian hacking and social media activities in the U.S. presidential election reflected “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity and scope of effort,” but they did not directly involve the vote tallying process, according to a declassified report by the U.S. intelligence community released today by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
The Defense Department and other agencies want to pick up the pace to mirror the disruptive advances of years past that led to the Internet, Global Positioning System and Siri.

The U.S. government wants to buck the trend of years of steady but slow progress to make computers much smarter at everyday mundane tasks. The Defense Department and other agencies want to pick up the pace to mirror the disruptive advances of years past that led to the Internet, Global Positioning System and Siri.

Private companies already might be beating the government to the finish line, producing advances some say are equal parts inspiring and troubling. The technology blitz has prompted government and industry officials alike to sound cautionary alarms about advanced artificial intelligence.

December 1, 2016
By Capt. William R. Bray, USN (Ret.)

One year ago, scientists announced that they had designed artificial intelligence that displayed a humanlike ability to learn on its own. The breakthrough raised the possibility that machines could one day replace human intelligence analysts. 

That day will not come.

To date, analytical software has significantly aided but not supplanted human analysis. Viewing the analytical process as a relay race, the better the software, the closer the analyst is to the finish line after the machine passes the baton. The analyst adds vast contextual understanding of the entire problem necessary to even grasp the baton. 

Pages