Intelligence

February 22, 2016
By George I. Seffers

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has released a broad agency announcement (BAA) seeking proposals to develop, and experimentally test, systems that use crowdsourcing and structured analytic techniques to improve analytic reasoning. At the same time, the organization released three requests for information and announced a March 11 proposers’ day for the Odin program, which is developing methods for detecting attempts to disguise a person’s biometric identity.

January 1, 2016
By Robert K. Ackerman
The nature of persistent intelligence is changing from increased loiter time to incorporation of greater numbers and types of sensors. Equipping soldiers with a variety of sensor systems may turn them into nodes in an intelligence Internet of Things.

Persistent intelligence is moving from a reliance on time-driven collection to composing information from a broad range of sensors. In photographic terms, it is changing from a time-lapse to a multispectral scene. But this increased reliance on different sources of intelligence also increases the importance of data processing and mandates cooperative efforts among public and private researchers.

January 22, 2016
By Bill Nolte

Late in 2014, I drafted an article titled “The U.S. Intelligence Community of 2025: Smaller by Design?” The question mark was an important part of the title. The point was not to recommend a conscious reduction in force, but rather to suggest that such an outcome should be given consideration if it could deliver equal or greater capability along with greater agility and efficiency. I received prepublication review approval of the paper, then never submitted it for publication.

January 1, 2016
By J. Ryan Larson

Authorities should view modern emancipation not as a movement founded upon an emotional response to injustice, but as a tactical achievement using analytic methodologies to eliminate the despicable trade of human trafficking. The global threat of this human rights violation inherently is convoluted and requires an integrated response to mitigate root sources.

December 14, 2015
By Bill Nolte

Before readers vent on that headline, they should read the accompanying text. The quotation marks should earn a moment or two of hesitation. Then you can vent.

December 1, 2015
By Terry Roberts

Last month, for the second time in four years, I attended the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) in Scottsdale, Arizona. I must admit, I typically do not frequent all-female groups or events. I always have believed that to succeed, women must be mainstreamed into all professions, companies and organizations. After all, I had entered the U.S. Navy and naval intelligence in 1979, at a time when only a handful of women were in this field. Many of the legal and policy tenets already were already in place to ensure I was given the same opportunity as my male officer counterparts. Of course, there were workplace behavioral challenges—but the framework was in place regarding equal pay, promotion and leadership opportunity for all under the law.

December 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers
Mongolian troops participate in a riot-control exercise during Khaan Quest 2015 in Tavan Tolgoi, Mongolia. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity’s predictive analytics programs seek to improve forecasting for a variety of events, including civil unrest and political uprisings.

U.S. intelligence agencies are in the business of predicting the future, but no one has systematically evaluated the accuracy of those predictions—until now. The intelligence community’s cutting-edge research and development agency uses a handful of predictive analytics programs to measure and improve the ability to forecast major events, including political upheavals, disease outbreaks, insider threats and cyber attacks.

November 5, 2015
By Bill Nolte
Courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The Institute of World Politics (IWP) in Washington, D.C., and our colleagues at the Intelligence National Security Alliance, or INSA, are collaborating this fall on a series of conversations on cyber intelligence, tackling key issues that surround the phenomenon that increasingly influences—if not yet dominates—our lives.

November 2, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Open-source intelligence strong-armed its way to prominence as a respected discipline out of necessity as the world of professional spies struggles to extract valuable information from the daunting amount of data in this technical age where Twitter posts contain intelligence and selfies can be evidence, according to experts.

While open-source intelligence, or OSINT, is a vital tooth in the cog, it is but one discipline critical to effective foreign policy decision-making, offered Joseph DeTrani, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

October 1, 2015
By Terry Roberts

This year's Intelligence and National Security Summit cyber track, which Shawn Henry and I co-chaired, featured many insightful and compelling discussions across several key areas. But none was more enlightening and challenging than the final session focused on “An Unclassified Global Cyber Threat Assessment,” which began with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) national intelligence officer (NIO) for cyber, Sean Kanuck. Offering counterpoint was one of the best internationally focused cyber minds in the business, Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies. This panel was moderated by Rear Adm.

September 23, 2015
By Bill Nolte

My school at the University of Maryland is reviewing its curriculum. In a meeting over the summer, colleagues were discussing ways to make our graduates more skilled in managing bureaucracy—how to integrate bureaucracy into policy decisions and so on. As I told a colleague later, we were missing the point. We should not be developing masters of the bureaucratic universe; we should be developing leaders who can help us move beyond bureaucracy as an organizing model. He smiled. I get that a lot.

September 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
A U.S. airman photographs the iris of an Afghan district police chief. The images are cataloged in a database containing biometric information used to identify locals.

The use of biometrics for force protection alone could be a bygone approach as the blossoming technology makes inroads toward the development of a new intelligence discipline. Biometrics intelligence ultimately could be the next INT in the menu of intelligence specialties.

The U.S. military’s interest in rapidly acquiring biometrics know-how to help today’s warfighter with tomorrow’s technology puts the private sector on the verge of a turning point.

September 1, 2015
By Dr. R. Norris Keeler

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the United States was the beneficiary of staggeringly important intelligence information transmitted through the CIA by Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet engineer who held a high position in a Russian military radar design house. Tolkachev provided information that redirected U.S. defense spending and allowed the U.S. Air Force to maintain air supremacy against the Warsaw Pact and other nations that used Soviet air defense platforms and technologies­—while saving more than a billion dollars in procurement spending. A recent book by David E. Hoffman categorizes Tolkachev’s importance by its title, The Billion Dollar Spy. Yet before Tolkachev’s information could be considered in U.S.

September 11, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

Four teams will share a grand prize of $110,000 for their work on the speech recognition challenge Automatic Speech Recognition in Reverberant Environments, or ASpIRE.

The winning teams are from Johns Hopkins University, Raytheon BBN Technologies, the Institute for Infocomm Research and Brno University of Technology, according to the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

September 1, 2015
By Lt. Gen. Robert M. Shea, USMC (Ret.)

The days when the Free World’s intelligence community could focus exclusively on a monolithic threat are over. We may be living in the most uncertain security environment since World War II, and threat diversity is a major reason. The varying nature of threats, along with their effective capabilities, are impelling the intelligence community to expand its vision and revamp organizationally.

September 1, 2015
By Sandra Jontz
Staff members at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Common Operational Research Environment (CORE) Lab work on innovative ways to analyze open-source information gleaned from social network sites. This information lets scientists visualize troubled regions with greater fidelity than conventional intelligence analysis methods.

Having too little information once daunted the world of spies and intelligence analysts. Now the problem is too much data, and one of the biggest challenges going forward for the intelligence community is not a lack of technology but civilization’s dependency on it.

Today big data is one of the hottest segments of the information technology industry, successfully shrinking the world while creating an information overload that can paralyze analysts working to win the data-management war, experts lament.

September 2, 2015
By Jason Thomas

Over the past week, I have thought a lot about innovation. In part because I’m preparing for my upcoming panel discussion on innovation at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence Summit next week, and in part because I’m troubled by the seemingly pervasive use of the word “innovation” as a solution to many of our intelligence collection and analysis challenges.

September 1, 2015
By George I. Seffers

U.S. Air Force scientists and engineers are improving intelligence operations by upgrading and automating systems and capabilities to provide more accurate and appropriate information to the customer. Their endeavors range from outer space to cyberspace as they seek to keep abreast of dynamic changes in the information age.

These efforts include writing new algorithms for the Space Based Infrared System to dramatically enhance its capabilities beyond the original design. Not only can the updated system view much smaller objects from space, but it also may one day help determine the materials that make up a target object.

August 24, 2015
By Bill Nolte

I may not be alone in having a list of favorite phrases that come up when senior government officials address conferences of one sort or another. Sometimes I even maintain a private checklist: how many of the “big ones” did the official hit? “Thinking outside the box” may be past its prime, but it still shows up. “We need a paradigm shift” will never, unfortunately, go away, nor will “our employees are our most important resource.” At intelligence-related events, I can usually count on several variations on “we’ve solved the technical problem; all that remains is the cultural issue.” I never get a sense that the cultural issue is going to be addressed, but there it is.

August 6, 2015
By Bryan Ware

The U.S. government must direct serious attention to fixing the integrity of the nation’s security clearance system, marred by the cyber breach on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The true magnitude of the attack, which exposed more than 20 million federal workers and their families, is even greater than previously reported—now that we know that attack could have multiple repercussions on national security. Charles Allen, a senior intelligence adviser to the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, stated the breach was a risk to national security unlike any he has seen during his 50 years in the intelligence community.

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