Intelligence

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. 

December 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is daring industry to develop a new generation of intelligence technologies that would change the way analysts parse and process information. Its Intelligence Ventures in Exploratory Science and Technology effort, also known as In-VEST, aims to draw out the latest commercial technologies that could aid the community.

December 1, 2016
By Sandra Jontz

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, has selected its winners from its crowd-sourced Multi-View Stereo 3-D Mapping Challenge—a contest to see who could best convert satellite photos into 3-D models to create more accurate maps.

The top challenge solvers demonstrated their solutions during an all-day workshop Wednesday in Washington, D.C. The open source solutions were released during the event and will be made available to the public on an IARPA website.

December 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
Each circle represents the two electrons of a pair that exist at relatively low energy and can carry electrical current with no resistance in a high-temperature superconductor. Software tools being developed at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will make designing circuits using superconducting technologies easier and cheaper.

Researchers for the U.S. intelligence community intend to build software applications that will make it easier to design and develop superconducting networks to power future supercomputers capable of much faster processing with lower energy requirements. The tools will reduce the time and cost to design superconductor-based circuits, potentially revolutionizing the computer and electronics industry.

December 1, 2016
By Jesse Nielsen

The U.S. intelligence community (IC) must transform its ability to discern threats from hundreds of millions of data points that flood databases each day and provide timely, actionable findings to warfighters and government officials. As it stands, agencies devote too much time, money and talent to reading data and must find new ways to keep their edge over adversaries. One way of addressing the problem is turning analysts’ thoughts into digital analytic models.

You read that correctly.

December 1, 2016
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

Athletes and coaches alike constantly study game film of opposing teams and players, identifying patterns and collecting intelligence that can provide insights into the opposition’s tendencies and overall game plan. This allows a team to formulate a strategy to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses.

Sports present an apt analogy for predictive intelligence. Achieved largely through the tools of big data analytics and augmented by other types of intelligence, a predictive capability takes on many forms. At its core, it assists in promoting timely and actionable information to identify trends or behaviors that enable the prediction of events. As a result, officials can act in a prompt and decisive manner.

October 21, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
DNI James Clapper answers questions asked by guests attending AFCEA’s Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) speaker series. The session was moderated by Jesse Nielsen, managing director of VXIT Analytics.

The next 17 days leading up to the presidential election pose a rather vulnerable time for the United States—more so than usual during a transition of power, says Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“This year, for lots of reasons, people are nervous, particularly for an election cycle that has been sportier than normal,” Clapper shared during at presentation Thursday at AFCEA’s Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) speaker series. 

September 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Directors of the 'Big 6' in the U.S. intelligence community speak during the third annual Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C.

The recurring theme throughout the premier intelligence summit in the nation’s capital this week was a parade of nations: The United States is worried about enduring threats posed by Russia, China and North Korea. Sprinkled into the mounting global risk landscape is the drawn-out strife against terrorism—with no near-term end—and the escalating vulnerabilities of the cyber realm.

The presentations offered a realistic snapshot of global turmoil today, bordering on a lot of doom and gloom.

Intelligence officials touched on a wide variety of issues during the two-day Intelligence & National Security Summit (INSS), held September 7 and 8.

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