Threats to the United States from across the world are more frequent and persistent, from nation-state actors to terrorists to rogue players. As a result, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, a combat support agency that provides key imagery, intelligence and geospatial information to the Defense Department and to the intelligence community, has had to change some aspects of its tradecraft, says Susan Kalweit, director of analysis at the agency known as the NGA.
The intelligence community is in for major changes as it confronts new and emerging threats across the entire spectrum of operations. While the challenges have developed over time, the intelligence community’s changes must be revolutionary, not evolutionary.
As different as the war on terrorism was from the Cold War, so is the current threat picture from traditional conflict profiles. Kinetic operations vie with cyber and social media activities for dominance in the new battlespace. Often, all three act in concert. Intelligence must focus not only on determining enemy activities before they have an effect, but also on waging operations that prevent or neutralize adversarial operations.
U.S. intelligence must become more integrated and agile to address both growing threats and emerging technologies, according to a former defense intelligence official. This will require new approaches to leadership for integrating the community amid burgeoning capabilities and missions, says Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan Jr., USA (Ret.), former head of Army intelligence and current chair of the AFCEA Intelligence Committee. He adds that the biggest challenge for defense intelligence may be to leverage all of the U.S. intelligence community’s capabilities.
The new global threat picture has signaled the time for defense intelligence to come together in an unprecedented common operating picture. With the broader availability of new technology and the need to conduct globally integrated operations at scale and speed, U.S. forces must move away from stovepipe systems and operate more as an enterprise, posits Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., USA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director. “For us to be able to operate really as an enterprise, to be able to move information from the intelligence community level down to warfighters … and to be able to ingest that at the services, we must be much more interoperable than we’ve been in the past.”
At the top of the list of the tools that the U.S. intelligence community is expecting to help accomplish its future mission is artificial intelligence, or AI. It is being counted on to help the collection and sorting of the large amounts of data that are growing exponentially. However, like many of these tools, AI can be co-opted or adopted by adversaries well-schooled in basic scientific disciplines. As a result, AI can be a trap for unwitting intelligence officials, offers Bob Gourley, co-founder and chief technology officer of OODA LLC.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is launching its new Cybersecurity Directorate with a promise of “opening the door to partners and customers on a wide variety of cybersecurity efforts,” according to an agency statement. These partners will include established government allies in the cyber domain such as the U.S. Cyber Command, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The directorate also is promising to share information better with its customers to help them defend against malicious cyber activity.
Charged with providing national security information to the nation, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, has had a long history of partnering with the industry to solve challenges. That need has not diminished, said Randy Burkett, staff historian from the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence.
Burkett, speaking at a recent Foundation for Innovation and Discovery (FINND) event, walked attendees through a few of the agency’s historically interesting challenges in which the industry came to its aid, beginning at the start of World War II.
Magnetometer locations ranging from on the bottom of the sea to orbiting in space constitute the first round winners of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA's) MagQuest open innovation challenge. Designed to generate novel ways of measuring Earth’s magnetic field, MagQuest is offering prizes totaling $1.2 million for novel geomagnetic data collection methodologies.
The U.S. Navy is working to keep pace with its land counterparts by providing the right information, software updates and new technical capabilities to its sailors at the right place and the right time. In the case of the sea service, the right place is often out at sea and under suboptimal conditions for satellite transmissions. The right time is every moment they need it.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a special notice on May 22 seeking input from companies on advancing technologies such as artificial intelligence, data management and advanced computing to aid the intelligence community and strengthen national security. The request for information ask interested parties to respond by July 26.
The agency, or ODNI, is broadening the range of its Intelligence, Science, and Technology Partnership, known as In-STeP, to provide input on innovative capabilities that address ODNI's Intelligence Community (IC)-wide Strategic Initiatives.
ODNI’s IC-wide Strategic Initiatives include:
The FBI has a full plate: fighting public corruption, organized and white-collar crime and domestic and foreign terrorism; solving violent crimes; protecting civil rights; neutralizing national security threats, espionage and counterintelligence; and mitigating threats of weapons of mass destruction, among other responsibilities. And one part of the bureau is growing to protect the nation against cyber threats.
The National Security Agency is now sharing the source code of Ghidra, its reverse engineering tool developed by the agency’s Research Directorate in support of its cybersecurity mission. Ghidra, a suite of software analysis tools, examines complied code using capabilities such as disassembly, assembly, decompilation, graphing and scripting.
Ghidra helps analyze malicious code and malware and improves cybersecurity professionals’ understanding of potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems. With this release, developers can now collaborate, create patches and extend the tool to fit their cybersecurity needs.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, headquartered in Springfield, Virginia, today announced the launch of MagQuest, its $1.2 million global open innovation challenge, seeking advanced approaches to geomagnetic data collection.
As the chief information officer and an assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Karl Mathias spends 75 percent to 80 percent of his time on the day-to-day information technology needs of the agency. In order to focus on developing new technologies, he would rather decrease that time, by leveraging advanced technologies that can help “keep the lights on, so to speak, the circuits alive, and the laptops running, patched and secure.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s John Sherman, chief information officer (CIO) of the intelligence community, is alarmed about the shifting geopolitical forces around the world.
In his position since September 2017, Sherman is leading the flagship integration of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise, known as IC ITE (and pronounced like eyesight), which has been a six-year effort to modernize the information technology (IT) for the 17 member agencies of the intelligence community (IC).
A new strategy for U.S. intelligence looks to improve integration of counterintelligence and security efforts, increasingly address cyber threats, and have clear guidance of civil liberties, privacy and transparency. As outlined in the U.S. National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), from Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats, the intelligence community is facing a turbulent and complex strategic environment, and as such, the community “must do things differently.”
The United States faces a “toxic mix of threats,” Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, testified today before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence while unveiling the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has announced two new challenges: the Credibility Assessment Standardized Evaluation (CASE) Challenge, which seeks methods for measuring the performance of credibility assessment techniques and technologies, and the Activities in Extended Video (ActEV) Prize Challenge, which aims to develop algorithms that will monitor surveillance videos for suspicious activity.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is seeking information on research efforts in the area of machine learning with a particular focus on deep learning and in the area of cooling systems for small mobile devices.
Data from mobile device signals such as GSM may be an untapped resource for signals intelligence on the battlefield. Although the payload of a communication system is encoded, information about the nature of the communication that is included in the GSM signal is not and should not be overlooked. This information, known as metadata, could prove to be an important tool for warfighters, experts say.