Intelligence

July 6, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is adding new office director positions and hiring new program managers as well. The office directors will help recruit program managers, develop and guide research programs, and enhance relationships with key personnel within the intelligence community to help ensure technology transfers to the agencies. Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Catherine Marsh, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, is hiring personnel to fill several new office director positions. The new personnel will help recruit program managers, develop and guide programs, and strengthen relationships with the intelligence community, enhancing the transition of technologies from researchers to users.

July 1, 2020
By Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper, USA (Ret.)

Whether it’s propaganda that has a grain of truth, or it’s more deliberate disinformation that adversaries distribute to alter public opinion and gain an advantage, deceptive content and easy access to the mass population via social media pose a high threat to institutions and democracy. Intentionally or accidentally, groups and individuals have the ability to quickly promote falsehoods, making it difficult for governments, businesses and citizens to take corrective action.

June 29, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
NuWave Solutions was selected as the winner of the 2019 Intelligence and National Security Summit EPIC App Challenge. The team participated in a competition to extract data from open source websites and applications, enrich it to make it more useful, build a model to triage reporting and identify news reported by the media containing viable intelligence. (Photo by Herman Farrer)

Industry and government organizations are eager to find ways to combine structured and unstructured data to improve communications about national security threats to the public more effectively. Merging this information will enable the intelligence community (IC) to take advantage of the strengths of both data types and allow analysts to quickly search and assess structured data with the wealth of insights in the unstructured environment.

June 24, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Air Force intelligence leader warns U.S. industry of growing risk from China's goal of intellectual property theft to undercut U.S. national security. Pictured, a F-35A Lighting II waits to taxi on the runway at Hill Air Force Base, Utah on May 20. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw.

U.S. adversaries are trying to take control of cyberspace as a medium, resulting in implications to our freedom of maneuver and access in cyberspace, says Brig. Gen. Gregory Gagnon, USAF, director of Intelligence (A2), Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Increasing cyberspace activity is coming from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“We are seeing it not just in volume, but we are seeing an expansion in the ways that they use cyberspace, whether it is to steal information, whether it is to directly influence our citizens or whether it is to disrupt critical infrastructure,” Gen. Gagnon reports. The general spoke at the AFCEA Tidewater chapter’s recent monthly virtual luncheon.

June 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) operations room helps synthesize all incoming information about potential threats for distribution among the national security community. The NCTC is realigning its operations and organization to address the changing global threat picture. Credit: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The United States’ recent reorganization of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is more of a targeted realignment based on the new threat picture, according to an NCTC official. A greater emphasis is being given to the center’s vital identities intelligence mission with an eye toward supporting mission partners in the midst of other threats, such as peer competition.

May 7, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/metamorworks

(Third of a three-part series)

The United States must amass a global intelligence capability built around an all-of-nation approach to threat detection and action, says a national security analyst. This includes increasing human intelligence, but it also would entail the intelligence community utilizing the tools it has and then developing a better “brothernet” further out in terms of forecasting.

April 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Health care providers adjust personal protective equipment as they prepare to enter a facility treating the Ebola virus in Liberia. Future pandemics could come from natural viruses or biological weapons developed by sophisticated nations; but whichever the source, opportunistic foes will take advantage of their effects to wreak further havoc on victim nations. (U.S. Army photo)

(Part two of a three-part series)

As the world watches the COVID-19 coronavirus wreak havoc, the potential of a man-made pandemic is offering its own allure to bad actors, ranging from nation-states to rogue organizations. Even if an organization lacks the wherewithal to develop or deploy a biological weapon, lessons already learned are demonstrating that a pandemic offers great opportunities for mayhem and profit, a national security expert says.

April 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock/Khakimullin Aleksandr

(Part one of a three-part series)

The nation must realign its strategic objectives to build out its future readiness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, says an analyst specializing in anticipatory developments. Intelligence analysts, with the aid of new technologies, must be able to combine data from a variety of inputs both to foresee emerging crises and to anticipate future threats before they become a full-fledged menace. The intelligence community and national decision makers must be prepared to view multiple problems as part of a whole in which they enhance one another to generate more severe challenges.

February 28, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Squadron Leader Jamiee Maika, Royal Australian Air Force, observes operations at the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. This multinational space force includes a strategic defense partnership between the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Additional nations collaborating on space operations with the center include Germany, France and New Zealand. U.S. Space Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.T. Armstrong

Aggressive Chinese and Russian counterspace capabilities have fundamentally changed threats in the space domain, and the United States must now make some transformational changes to its strategic warfare in this new environment. The U.S. Defense Department overall, and the U.S. Space Force and unified Space Command in particular, face three critical challenges that will be fundamental to using space to warfighters’ advantage and remaining a world military leader.

February 12, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency and the National Security Agency are partnering more closely than ever to develop and deploy cybersecurity technologies. Credit: BeeBright/Shutterstock

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is working more closely with the intelligence community and is partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA) on a number of cybersecurity-related efforts, officials say.

February 11, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Mark Bailey teaches a class in applied data science for intelligence at the National Intelligence University. (NIU photo)

The National Intelligence University (NIU) has upgraded its curriculum with an enhanced focus on applied data science for intelligence. This thrust, which reflects the changing global threat picture, includes the creation of a certificate program for those seeking to specialize in the discipline.

December 11, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a report today by the independent science advisory group JASON titled “Fundamental Research Security.”

The NSF commissioned the report this past summer to better understand the threats to basic research posed by foreign governments who seek to violate the principles of scientific ethics and research integrity.

November 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Intelligence officers serving U.S. Indo-Pacific Command organizations describe a Chinese threat that unambiguously targets world domination. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The intelligence officers responsible for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) organizations played their China cards face up as they described a nation bent on world domination at the expense of Western values and freedoms. In an overflow panel at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, being held November 19-21 in Honolulu, these experts—called the “2s” for their billet designation—cited facts to buttress their observations that China has abandoned its longtime cover stories and is now waging all-out competition with the institutions and nations that defined the cooperative postwar era.

November 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Marines with the Marine Rotational Force in Australia conduct a bilateral exercise with the Australian Defence Force. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) is expanding its reach for intelligence information that can be applied across the spectrum of military and civilian uses.  U.S. Marine Corps

Making more intelligence available to a wider range of customers, including the general public, is a major goal of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s intelligence directorate. This represents a bit of a departure from the traditional role of limiting intelligence information to only decision makers and warfighters, and it acknowledges the strategic importance of information in the public realm.

October 23, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
U.S. Navy cryptologic technicians stand watch in the combat information center of the USS Milius in the East China Sea. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) intelligence experts are addressing the long-expected emergence of China as a regional adversary with global intentions. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Taylor DiMartino, USN)

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) harbors no illusions about China’s capabilities and intentions, its officials say. Experts who long have followed the Middle Kingdom’s official publications and statements have understood the nation’s aggressive nature and threat to peace and security, according to the director of intelligence (J-2) for INDOPACOM. These issues are now front and center for INDOPACOM as China expands its military and political reach to disrupt the peace and security of the entire Indo-Pacific region.

October 7, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Security experts warn companies not to think separately about possible intellectual property theft and cyber attack threats, as they could be one in the same. Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel 

The sophisticated nature of cyber attacks and intellectual property theft performed by adversaries is only increasing, as nation-state actors continue to mount attacks to gain valuable information from the United States, its military and private companies.

The blend of cyber and human espionage is what makes China particularly effective in mounting these kinds of attacks, said Mark Kelton, senior advisor, Chertoff Group and former senior executive of the CIA. The threats to U.S. intellectual property and digitally based assets are not slowing down anytime soon, stated Sean Berg, senior vice president and general manager, Global Governments and Critical Infrastructure, Forcepoint.

September 25, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
Panelists discuss identity intelligence at the Federal Identity Forum and Expo. Credit: Shaun Waterman

For U.S. intelligence agencies, identity is all about “trying to find bad guys,” said Kathleen Lane, the identity intelligence executive for the Office of the National Director of Intelligence.

In a rare public appearance at the AFCEA International Federal Identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida, Lane explained that her attendance was part of a push by ODNI to be more transparent about the increasing U.S. use of identity intelligence.

September 24, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
(l-r) Monte Hawkins, director of the National Vetting Center, Charles Bartoldus, former official and now senior advisor to CT-Strategies, ODNI Identity Intelligence Executive Kathleen Lane, DHS CIO official Emily Barbero, NVC Chief of Staff Casie Antalis and NVC Technical Director Lori Vislocky speak at AFCEA International's Federal identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida. Credit: Shaun Waterman

To guard America’s borders against a lengthening list of threats, the new interagency National Vetting Center (NVC) is flipping the script on watchlisting, officials said Monday.

Instead of compiling lists of individuals believed linked to terrorism or some other threat, the NVC is figuring out how to leverage all the information held by U.S. government agencies about any individual applying for entry to the country, the center’s director, Monte Hawkins, told AFCEA International’s Federal Identity Forum and Expo in Tampa, Florida.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
 Panelists at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit discussing the hard truth about disinformation are (l-r) Sujit Raman, associate deputy attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice; Daniel Kimmage, principal deputy coordinator, Global Engagement Center, State Department; Suzanne Kelly, CEO, The Cipher Brief; and Brett Horvath, president, Guardians.ai. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Foreign countries are likely to continue their cyber-based disinformation campaigns as an inexpensive way of shaping thinking in democracies, according to a panel of experts at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Only a concerted effort by government, the commercial sector and the public can blunt its effects, especially as the 2020 elections loom.

“Disinformation is not the weaponization of knowledge, it’s the weaponization of cognition,” declared Brett Horvath, president, Guardians.ai. “To have a coherent strategy, it has to be built on principles: What are you defending, and what are you attacking?”

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360; Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, USAF, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command.

With space assuming greater importance as a military domain with its own designated command, the U.S. intelligence community must dedicate assets and procedures to providing vital information about space-based operations. For decades, the ultimate high ground was a valuable source of intelligence across the spectrum of national security. Now, its value as an intelligence target is growing as much as its importance as an operational domain.

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