Intelligence

August 11, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The United States Navy has tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG Class), according to an AeroVironment Inc. announcement. Some of these exercises included the use of the company’s fully autonomous system to recover the aircraft aboard a ship.  

September 7, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Panelists discuss the new face of terrorism during the 3rd annual INSS in Washington, D.C. this week.

The complexity of counterterrorism efforts and information sharing in the United States dwarfs the challenges besetting European governments as the continent contends with penetrable borders, an influx of refugees and the radicalization of some of its youth.

The rise in turmoil not only threatens the existence of the Schengen area, in which 26 countries abolished the need for passports to cross mutual borders, but complicates intelligence efforts to combat terror, said Michael Leiter, chief operations officer at Leidos, a panelist at the third annual Intelligence & National Security Summit (INSS) in Washington, D.C. this week.

September 1, 2016
By George I. Seffers
The NGA finds itself being out-innovated by industry and academia. For inspiration, the agency’s new research director looks to a 1700s clockmaker who changed the world.

Geospatial intelligence technology rapidly is advancing and in some ways leaving behind the U.S. Defense Department and intelligence community. Looking to stay on the cutting edge, the nation’s premier geospatial intelligence agency is reorganizing its research and development arm to focus more on long-term research and developing closer ties to other agencies, the private sector and academia.

August 5, 2016
By Ralph Wade
A U.S. Air Force target system analyst assigned to the 15th Intelligence Squadron, 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, 363rd ISR Wing provides training using a simulated satellite constellation at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

As discussed in my last post, to meet the needs of the nation’s combatant commands (COCOMs) and National Command Authority, government and industry must evolve the current intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, sensors and ground systems into a truly global ISR enterprise. An incremental approach must be combined with overarching actions to migrate to common ISR information technology infrastructures, orchestrated toward the larger goal of an integrated ISR enterprise. This can be done through three DOD ISR focus areas: 

August 23, 2016
By Ed Hammersla

The world of intelligence sharing has gone from on a need-to-know basis between federal agencies to one in which those key players must, by necessity, combine disparate pieces of intel to ascertain a complete picture of potential threats.

September 1, 2016
By Michael Del Vecchio and Aaron Moore

The emergence of cyber as a battlespace domain has changed the formula for intelligence gathering as well as warfighting. No longer can any form of the traditional intelligence architecture guarantee national security superiority. Just as weapon systems needed to accommodate new technologies, the intelligence community now must leverage the trinity of sensors, big data and cyber. 

July 28, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
HawkEye 360 and Lockheed Martin collaborate to bring space-based RF mapping and analytics technology to the commercial sector. Image courtesy HawkEye 360

A Virginia-based radio frequency and analytics startup wants to go where no commercial business has gone before.

HawkEye 360, a subsidiary of Allied Minds, is teaming with Lockheed Martin and Deep Space Industries to launch the small business' RF detection, mapping and predictive analytic technologies to detect radio frequency (RF) from space for global commercial and government use, giving customers a unique intelligence offering that cuts across air, land and sea networks.

July 27, 2016

The U.S. Air Force and industry partners are developing a unique phased array for high-throughput intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services for X-band satellite services.

During a recent display at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Ball Aerospace and XTAR demonstrated that Ball’s Airlink X-1 antenna configured for the C-130 hatch was able to transmit 4.5 megabits of data per second over the XTAR-LANT satellite, a marked throughput increase over existing terminals, officials say.

July 6, 2016

An intelligence-based research agency has launched a challenge to foster a community of participants that will produce a solution to accurately produce 3-D mapping from satellite photos.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, set in motion its Multi-View Stereo 3D Mapping Challenge, inviting the broader research community of industry and academia, with or without experience in multiview satellite imagery, to participate in a non-contractual way.

June 7, 2016
by Sandra Jontz
Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, commander of Estonian Defense Forces, warns that Europe is too reactionary to world events while speaking at the NITEC 2016 cyber conference in Tallinn, Estonia. Photo by Marcos Fernandez Marin, NCI Agency

Europe is asleep at the wheel and needs an awakening before it crashes, warned Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, commander of Estonian Defense Forces. 

The reactionary nature of the continent’s militaries has caught leaders unawares far too many times already, and forces no longer can afford to leave proactive measures to someone else, Gen. Terras shared during the inaugural day of NITEC 2016, a cyber conference being held this week in Tallinn, Estonia. 

“What happens in the world comes as a surprise for Europe,” said Gen. Terras, who pulled no punches when laying out examples of when European leaders were caught off guard.

June 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
An Atlas V lifts National Reconnaissance Office Launch-55, carrying a classified satellite and 13 CubeSats into orbit late last year. The increasing use of digital technologies in intelligence has compelled the CIA to create a new directorate dedicated to incorporating digital innovation across the agency.

The CIA’s newest directorate consolidates several technology business units into one hub organization focused on deeply embracing innovative approaches and capabilities throughout the agency. As part of an effort to make digitization commonplace in both operations and analysis, the CIA also will work with industry to speed up the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. To start, the agency will add some of the latest data capabilities in the infosphere, and then it will nurture new technologies as they emerge from laboratories in government and industry. 

May 23, 2016
The AeroVironment Tether Eye UAS is being evaluated for the counterterrorism mission.

AeroVironment Inc. has announced the U.S. Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) is evaluating the company’s new tethered unmanned aircraft system, named Tether Eye, for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and security applications. The CTTSO funded the development program.

May 13, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. intelligence community may not broadly pursue social media information on individuals subjected to federal security clearances, according to a new directive signed May 12 by James Clapper, director of national intelligence (DNI). Security Executive Agent Directive 5 seeks to ensure continued background investigations into social media data without straying into controversial areas.

May 6, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
Intelligence and cybersecurity experts discuss emerging cyber threats at an AFCEA EPIC presentation, with growing concern over wearables and the Internet of Things.

Should private companies be able to—and maybe more importantly—hack back? 

The question drew enthusiastic responses from panelists and the audience during at presentation Thursday by AFCEA’s Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) on intelligence and cybersecurity.  

April 5, 2016
An IARPA program will study the human brain in an effort to make machines smarter.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has awarded an $18.7 million contract to the Allen Institute for Brain Science, as part of a larger project with Baylor College of Medicine and Princeton University, to create the largest-ever road map to understand how the function of networks in the brain’s cortex relates to the underlying connections of its individual neurons. The project is part of the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) program, which seeks to revolutionize machine learning by reverse-engineering the algorithms of the brain.

April 29, 2016

A group of University of Maryland (UMD) researchers has developed an algorithm that can not only detect a face, but also simultaneously determine the gender and pose, and extract fiducial, or reference, points.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has provided funding and support for the invention, which has been dubbed HyperFace. The algorithm simultaneously detects faces; finds facial landmarks, including eye center, nose tip, etc.; estimates the head pose; and recognizes the person’s gender from any real-world images and videos, Rama Chellappa, UMD chair of electrical and computer engineering, said in a written announcement.

April 29, 2016
By Terry Roberts

OK, I admit it—on any scale—I am an analytic dinosaur. When I started as an intelligence analyst in the (yes) 1980s—it was truly a lifetime of technology ago. Pong was cool. Wang was cutting edge. All the analysts I worked with had amazing colored charts on the wall, big “scrapbooks,” stacks and file cabinets of message traffic a foot high that came from the communications room. When I established one of the first computer databases that my analytic team had ever seen they thought I had gone rogue.

April 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
An NGA map of West Africa helped in fighting last year’s Ebola outbreak by illustrating the locations of vital resources and facilities. The NGA is looking to tap other types of commercial data, including social media information, to build new products that feature more diverse information.

Commercial data and tools are defining the future of geospatial intelligence for the agency tasked with providing it across a growing community. From new private-sector satellites to unclassified information extracted from open sources and social media, the ways of collecting, processing and disseminating geospatial intelligence are changing.

March 10, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy leaders address C4ISR capability gaps and needs during an AFCEA DC Chapter breakfast. From l-r, Maj. Gen. Martin Whelan, USAF; Brig. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, USAF; Maj. Gen. Jody Daniels, USA; and Capt. Jeff “Caesar” Czerewko, USN. Photo by Mike Carpenter

Adversaries have caused less of a disruptive aftermath on some U.S. military operations than a homegrown technology solution: big data.

Once viewed as a tremendous asset, troops can now be mired in the vast amount of information collected from ever-improving sensors of all kinds, impeding some missions in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, better known as C4ISR. The quagmire drives leaders to seek solutions.

January 28, 2016
By Shawn Snow
An A-29 Super Tucano drops a bomb.

At the height of combat missions in Afghanistan, the U.S. military occupied nearly 825 military outposts throughout the war-ravaged region. That number now stands at roughly 20. The outposts served an extensive intelligence-gathering network, using surveillance balloons and wide-range signals intelligence collection operations. The rapid drawdown of these facilities following the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from the region created a black hole of information, with Afghan forces struggling to fill the gap. 

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