• Military intelligence leaders from all the services discuss their services' needs at the 2021 Intelligence and National Security Summit. Photo by Herman Farrer
     Military intelligence leaders from all the services discuss their services' needs at the 2021 Intelligence and National Security Summit. Photo by Herman Farrer

Change Headlines Military’s Intelligence Needs

September 13, 2021
By Robert K. Ackerman
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From acquisition to analysis, a new day needs to dawn.

For military intelligence, the status quo is unacceptable in this new era. The prescription is change, and that must come across the board for the military to be able to prevail against growing adversarial threats.

That point was presented by a panel of high-ranking military intelligence officers and officials on the first day of the Intelligence and National Security Summit, hosted by AFCEA and INSA and being held at the Gaylord Convention Center near Washington, D.C., September 13-14. The live panel at the live event wasted little time in telling the audience what needs to transpire for their intelligence needs to be met.

“From a Marine Corps perspective, it’s one word: change,” said Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, USMC, deputy commandant, information, in setting the theme for the panel. “All the things that we counted on over the past 20 years are not going to be the case going forward.”

One major area of change will be analysis, and several panelists offered what must come. Alex Miller, senior advisor for Science and Technology and Innovation, HQDA-DCS, said, “We’re going to change the way analysis has been done, on purpose.” His remarks were given an airborne slant by Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, USAF, deputy chief of staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Cyber Effects Operations. “What we have today is a data abundance,” Gen. O’Brien said. “We need to provide our analysts with ways to handle that data.”

Acquisition came under fire as the experts stated the traditional way of acquisition would not serve current and future needs. “We have to change how we buy things,” Miller declared. “The question is not can you fight on the network you have; the question is are you designing the networks you need to fight across the force.”

One idea posited during the discussion is that space is the largest warfighting domain on the U.S. agenda, and the deputy director for ISR with the U.S. Space Force explained many nuances facing space intelligence. Joseph Rouge stated, “We care about what’s in every domain that can affect space and how we can support that domain.” He continued that the Space Force is working on starting a science and technology center in the National Space Intelligence Center.

Rouge added, “Space domain awareness is hard because you can see something, but you still need to understand its intent.” He also noted that space is a very large environment, and the force wants to do enough processing at the sensor without having to move a lot of data around. “We are starting with the premise that modeling and simulation are the basis for making decisions,” he added.

And industry must play a role for all of the services. “It’s a challenge out there, and it takes industry to help us to make sure we understand all the facets,” said Rear Adm. Curt Copley, USN, commander, Office of Naval Intelligence. But change also is coming from within. “Nascent efforts are producing results … and some of the people who are working on these efforts are maverick,” Gen. O’Brien allowed.

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