Given Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been a shock to geopolitical order, and its continued threat to NATO and the United States, the U.S. intelligence community’s (IC's) tracking of Russian activities will remain a significant focus, reported Director Avril Haines, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Russia faces no good choices for bringing its invasion of Ukraine to what it would call a successful conclusion, says a retired U.S. Army general who used to serve as a member of the U.S. diplomatic corps in Moscow. The general adds that most of the alternatives offered to achieve a desired outcome for the invasion are either ineffective or counterproductive. And, Russia’s veiled threats about its nuclear arsenal are brandishing to intimidate others and reassure its domestic population—but that too could backfire.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has been a government leader in cloud adoption and development security operations for software development. Among other efforts, the agency now is trying to foray into practices not widely employed before in an intelligence community setting, including the use of commercial solutions and expansion of unclassified operations.
At the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, the deputy director for Commonwealth Integration is working to grow the agency’s operational and functional relationships between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, referred to as the Five Eyes nations. Since improved information sharing is at the heart of partner integration, the leader, Australian Army Maj. Gen.
As the intelligence community struggles to upgrade its capabilities for the modern information environment, adversaries continue to press for advantage across the competition spectrum. Through a complex, increasingly globalized web, both state adversaries and nonstate actors are employing a host of proxy entities to exert foreign malign influence. A lack of proper intelligence and the technology to support it makes it difficult to know who to trust, who holds control over key partners and critical resources, and who is ultimately behind exploitative activities across the world.
A major challenge the Defense Department and intelligence community face is managing the massive amounts of structured and unstructured data they possess.
One way to do this is by using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to help agencies break down their siloed data to use it more efficiently, Eric Putnam, MarkLogic’s executive account lead for the intelligence community, told George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Magazine’s executive editor during a SIGNAL Executive Video Series discussion.
We already know there’s an app for that—whether it is to pay the bills, stream a favorite show, connect with friends, order dinner or monitor your heart rate and exercise. And now there’s an app to help strengthen social media privacy settings.
Answering the AFCEA International Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) annual app challenge, this year a team of Thomson Reuters Special Services (TRSS) data scientists won the $5,000 first place prize with its development of an approach to assess and address counterintelligence phishing risks related to users’ LinkedIn profiles.
Future unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets may be able to operate in hot conditions for long periods of time if new power source research bears fruit. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has launched a program to develop portable power sources for unmanned and autonomous systems operating in extreme environments.
Known as the Robust Energy Sources for Intelligence Logistics in Extreme, Novel and Challenging Environments (RESILIENCE) program, the effort is tapping corporate and academic expertise to build power sources, largely batteries, that can provide an extended supply of power in the face of conditions that otherwise sap conventional batteries.
The terrorism threat to the United States from international sources as well as domestic actors is evolving, officials say. On the international side, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the fall of the Afghan government and the Taliban takeover of that country last month, intelligence leaders fully expect Al-Qaeda to gain strength and capabilities in Afghanistan to be able to threaten the United States in the next one-to-two years.
“The current assessment, conservatively, is one-to-two years for Al Qaeda to build some capability to threaten the United States,” said Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, USA, director, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
The intelligence supply chain needs prompt attention, but any solutions do not necessarily require moving all production back to the United States. The country can rely on some critical sources overseas, but it cannot expect just any vital component to be available any time it is needed.
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.
The U.S. intelligence community sees five priorities as it adjusts to a new era in global security, according to its top official. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, explained to a luncheon audience that these priorities are all vitally important as the community retools to face new threats in a changing world.
Haines was addressing the opening session of the Intelligence and National Security Summit hosted by AFCEA International and INSA and being held at the Gaylord Convention Center near Washington, D.C., September 13-14. Haines spoke via videoconference to the luncheon keynote, which featured social distancing among the dining tables.
The Defense Intelligence Agency is overhauling two critical but aging intelligence systems along with its strategy and organizational structure to enhance the organization’s ability to provide essential intelligence on militaries around the world.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Research Directorate is increasingly leveraging U.S. industry solutions to fill any gaps in the agency’s capabilities. The directorate is employing a robust array of contracting, partnership measures, infrastructure development and research vehicles to harness emerging technologies and capture innovation in advanced analytics and modeling; data management; modern software engineering; artificial intelligence; and improved workflow processes.
Research into artificial intelligence may hold the key to advancing every aspect of intelligence operations. Yet, as extensive as its effects would be, the effort to develop effective artificial intelligence also will require a broad-based coordination among government, industry and academia.
Katharina McFarland, commissioner on the National Security Council’s Commission on Artificial Intelligence, is not hesitant to offer a far-reaching opinion on artificial intelligence’s (AI’s) potential for changing the nature of intelligence. “This technology is almost the equivalent of electricity back in the 1800s,” she says. “I think it’s going to be ubiquitous.”
Increasing intelligence requirements and skillful collection technology have flooded the intelligence community with raw information. To address this problem, big data and artificial intelligence technologies aid the initial processing and exploitation of the information. But as technology continues to grow in capability, consumers must temper expectations regarding its impact on intelligence analysis.
AFCEA International is about more than cybersecurity and communications. AFCEA also has leading-edge intelligence initiatives led by the Intelligence Committee and the Emerging Professionals in the Intelligence Community (EPIC) Committee. Their efforts are augmented by AFCEA’s Cyber and Homeland Security Committees. AFCEA committees are comprised of volunteer public- and private-sector professionals who are experts in their field and offer their time to foster a constructive and forward-looking dialogue to bridge the gap between government and industry.
Starting this fall, high school students in the state of Georgia will have the unique opportunity to take an elective course in intelligence and national security studies. The class will introduce students to the field of intelligence, the associated activities to gather intelligence, the roles of the U.S. intelligence community (IC), national security, the limits and capabilities of intelligence, careers in the field, and how intelligence plays a role in decision-making.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) will release a new threat-based strategy very soon and is undergoing a reorganization to create a Directorate for Global Integration, says Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, USA, the agency’s director.
“We have some changes at DIA that are cooking right now. The first is a new strategy. That is a strategic approach that includes intelligence advantage, a culture of innovation, allies and partnerships, and an adaptive workforce,” he says.
For 25 years, Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, director, J-2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has been sounding the warning bell about the government of China and the threat it brings to the world and the United States. The threat is real, and China’s intent is clear, the leader has warned. The United States must now examine the time elements associated with China’s dangerous moves, the intelligence leader says.
An integrated geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) operating environment supporting the warfighter, first responder and policy maker continuously by 2035 is the goal of the CONOPS recently released by the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG). Achieving this goal will require advances in technology, standards setting, automation and interoperability across government and commercial systems.
The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) is listening carefully to operations underwater as it prepares for the Navy to meet new and emerging threats. This work includes probing new adversarial technologies as well as working with partners in industry and overseas to improve U.S. capabilities.
J. Scott Cameron eagerly awaits the National Intelligence University’s (NIU's) “watershed moment” this weekend that will punctuate years of diligent work to “bring the university home … with ruthless government efficiency.”
On Sunday, the university officially transfers from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).
This shift enables the staff, faculty and students to benefit directly from the intelligence community’s (IC) stakeholders and from the ODNI’s integrating role; bringing into its fold the educational efforts that are building the next generation of the country’s intelligence officers, said Cameron, the university’s president.
Military intelligence technologies offer a host of service-level tools and national assets that are imperative to successful operations. But the demands of great power competition, as espoused in the 2018 National Defense Strategy and follow-on documents, place a premium on a different kind of intelligence. While knowing enemy activity and capabilities remains essential, understanding the everyday needs and attitudes of the populations over which the United States and its allies are competing becomes critical. China and Russia coerce contested populations and threaten them with domination.
Lewis Shepherd, a senior executive at VMware, is the vice chair of AFCEA’s Intelligence Committee and an advisor to several government agencies.
Where will digital engineering have its greatest effect in military and intelligence operations?
The U.S. military’s concept for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) begins with intelligence data, and data-centric operations will require profound changes, according to a panel of experts.
Future U.S. conflicts will be totally different from recent confrontations, and the U.S. intelligence environment is ill-suited for the scope and range of activities that will be required to support U.S. warfighters, said an intelligence community expert. Upgrading U.S. intelligence will require major leaps in technology as well as restructuring to face enemies that are far more capable over larger distances.
The U.S. intelligence community is embracing a number of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, advanced materials and advanced communication systems, officials from the Office of the Director of Intelligence (ODNI) told the audience at AFCEA’s virtual Spring Intelligence Symposium, held May 25-27.
As U.S. intelligence agencies pivot from the war on terror to the new era of near-peer competition, the information landscape on which they operate is shifting dramatically, as detailed in the recently released report from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
For two decades, U.S. intelligence operated in an information poor environment—hunting its elusive adversaries through fleeting glimpses on surveillance video or wisps of cellphone traffic. And, thanks to the technical and operational excellence of U.S. collection, even that information poor environment often generated an overwhelming volume of data.
The U.S. Space Force is in the process of standing up the National Space Intelligence Center, or NSIC, with a goal of reaching initial operating capability, or IOC, by January 2022. NSIC will perform national and military space foundational missions and will evaluate capabilities, performance, limitations and vulnerabilities of space and counterspace systems and services, said Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, USAF, director, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), U.S. Space Force.
Revolutionary ways to gather, parse and share information in the innovation era is propelling the intelligence community into resourceful ways of doing business. To tackle the challenges lightning-speed technology changes and applications generate, 18 U.S. intelligence organizations must accept cultural changes and risk toleration to prepare for adversaries weaponizing the same capabilities against the U.S. and its allies, experts agree.
From the virtual realm to zero gravity, China is posing a serious threat to U.S. national security that goes far beyond the Earth. With a strategic thrust designed to buttress and expand the reach of the Chinese Communist Party, the country is engaged in a long march for control that currently includes operations inside the United States as well as in orbit and beyond.
Global changes increasing at an accelerated pace will drive new threats to international security, and some of these are already manifest in the worldscape, according to a pair of just-released U.S. intelligence community forecasts. Yet the diversity of these changes and their possible outcomes offer different potential scenarios ranging from “a renaissance of democracies” to “tragedy and mobilization.”
Similar to other members of the intelligence community, the U.S. Space Force is responsible for advancing intelligence-related mission objectives for U.S. national security. The service is performing space-related intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to provide key information and data to the community. Being part of the intelligence community is an important step for the year-old service, said Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, USAF, director, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), U.S. Space Force, speaking last Friday at a virtual Mitchell Institute event.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is responsible for providing intelligence on foreign militaries, is prepared in the coming weeks to release a new capability for the Machine-assisted Analytic Rapid-repository System (MARS). The new module, known as Order of Battle, will provide insights into foreign military forces.
Starting this fall, high school students in the state of Georgia will have the unique opportunity to take an elective course in intelligence and national security studies. The class will introduce students to the field of intelligence, the associated activities to gather intelligence, the roles of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), national security, the limits and capabilities of intelligence, careers in the field, and how intelligence plays a role in decision-making.
China’s quest for global dominance is definitive and open, said the director for intelligence (J-2) in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, USN, held little back as he described China’s maneuvering and aggressive tactics as it pursues a long-term strategy of world domination.
Competition in the information domain does not happen nationally. It happens locally, said Ben Leo, CEO and co-founder of Fraym, an international open-source intelligence and data analytics company.
“Competition in the information domain simply doesn’t happen at the national level. It happens in communities, neighborhoods, and even down to individual households or homes,” Leo said during a SIGNAL Executive Video Series discussion with Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine’s editor in chief.
For many in the U.S. intelligence community, choosing the profession was neither a career goal nor even a consideration until later in life. Few set out to join the agencies that comprise the community while in high school or college. This pattern—usually based on a knowledge gap—needs to change immediately to meet the United States’ national imperative for a talented and diverse workforce.
Like the rest of the world, the U.S. intelligence community has been forced to telework during the COVID-19 pandemic, which offers opportunities, but then again, U.S. adversaries are working from home as well, which may offer opportunities, intelligence experts pointed out during a February 23 AFCEA Intelligence Committee webinar.
The online event included Melissa Planert, director, Tradecraft and Technology Group, Analysis Directorate, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and Reid D, an innovator in secure government in the United Kingdom who did not want to be fully identified.
The U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) is looking to fill vital cyber and communications gaps, but with technologies tailored to its unique missions, said Maj. Gen. John Brennan, USA, commanding general, 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The command is the largest divisional element in the Army, with soldiers that serve in special forces, psychological operations groups and battalions, civil affairs groups and information warfare groups and for the national mission force that operates mostly with the Joint Special Operations Command units.
The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) is striving for an entire new generation of technology-based capabilities to help the service achieve multidomain operations (MDO). And unlike previous developmental models, the office is moving toward collaborative capabilities in a multisystem approach.
Helping in this effort is the office’s creation of a new PEO IEW&S Integration Directorate. This recognizes that signals intelligence (SIGINT), electronic warfare, intelligence and cyber operations constitute a single element of Army MDO requirements.
The tsunami of information that will hit with the full exploitation of 5G cellular will create a wealth of open source intelligence that will define the art in coming years. New sensor systems, artificial intelligence (AI) processing and expanded information delivery methods will produce new types of intelligence available in greater detail for a range of customers.
The greatest threat the United States faces is through cyber attacks on economic targets, and the worst adversary in this realm is China, according to the director of intelligence for the U.S. Cyber Command. Brig. Gen. Matteo Martemucci, USAF, J-2 for the Cyber Command, declared that China’s pilferage of intellectual property represents a major strike against the United States as part of the Middle Kingdom’s plan for global domination.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a unique role as a federal law enforcement agency as well as a national security department. Its vast information technology enterprise must support its functionality in carrying out these roles, which have different rules of engagement. And when adding new tools, processes or software, the bureau has to consider solutions carefully. With zero trust architecture—a method that combines user authentication, authorization and monitoring; visibility and analytics; automation and orchestration; end user device activity; applications and workload; network and other infrastructure measures; and data tenants to provide more advanced cybersecurity—gaining use in the U.S.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond announced today the designation of the intelligence element of the U.S. Space Force as a member of the intelligence community (IC).
“This accession reaffirms our commitment to securing outer space as a safe and free domain for America’s interests,” said Ratcliffe. “American power in space is stronger and more unified than ever before. Today we welcome Space Force to the intelligence community and look forward to the power and ingenuity of a space security team unrivaled by any nation.”
The Space Force element is the first new organization to join the IC since 2006.
So far, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA's) pilot to assess how radio frequency (RF) geospatial data and analytical solutions from the commercial sector could support the agency’s mission is going well, according to the Springfield, Virginia-based intelligence arm. The so-called Predictive GEOINT Prototype supports an agile development approach, the NGA said.
Although the program is limited in scope, the NGA is already initially benefiting from the RF data coming from HawkEye 360 LLC that is being delivered to analysts at the NGA and the U.S. combatant commands. The company’s data and analytics are meant to augment the agency’s existing geospatial intelligence activities.
Cyber attacks against the Defense Department and many other organizations have increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the integration of cyber threat intelligence has helped the department defend its networks, according to Col. David Violand, deputy director of intelligence, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN).
Col. Violand made the comments during the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference, a virtual event held December 1-3.
Legacy methods and arcane rules are hamstringing U.S. intelligence analysis at a time when it should be innovating. From training, which needs to shift emphasis to more basic skills, to collection and processing, which must branch into nontraditional areas, intelligence must make course corrections to solve inflexibility issues, according to a onetime intelligence official.
As researchers in multiple disciplines explore the untapped potential of quantum technologies, some distinct patterns of usage are emerging. With fully useful capabilities still several years off, experts are weighing the breakthroughs that may come. One key point is that the advanced applications that will come with quantum computing will define the state of the art in future years.