The generation that remembers “duck and cover” also recalls headlines that included the words Soviet Union and impending dangers. Today, a combination of global instability, rising authoritarianism and democracies in retreat may lead to similar yet more dangerous situations, and this time, the headlines also are likely to include the words “People's Republic of China.”
The intelligence community has gone from scarcity to surfeit in terms of information, and it must adopt a new paradigm or lose the advantages it has from improved collection, according to a retired intelligence official. The best approach for achieving this is to use open-source material as core information and then supplement it with classified material.
Researchers working on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community are kicking off a program designed to develop a revolutionary capability for monitoring objects in geostationary orbit, including functioning satellites and hundreds of thousands of bits of space debris. The program will attempt to provide low-cost approaches for passive ground-based interferometric imaging of space objects, a technique using two or more telescopes or lenses.
While stopping weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks are high security priorities, the kinetic effects from cyber forces are a looming threat today. Malevolent uses for artificial intelligence combined with autonomous systems provide frightening new levels of capabilities to potential adversaries, and the U.S. Defense Department and the intelligence community are being called upon to address them with extraordinary vigor.
The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, recently tapped Herndon, Virginia-based ManTech International Corporation to provide counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism support to the command and the command’s 902nd Military Intelligence Group at Fort Meade, Maryland. The $133 million award is for one year, with contract options that could extend the work through 2020.
Cloud computing, big data and cyber are among the capabilities that pose a major threat to U.S. forces, said Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Army deputy chief of staff, G-2.
“If you’re a threat actor out there, probably a little bit of investment in these areas is going to go a long way to make life very difficult for your adversaries,” Gen. Berrier told the audience at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference in Springfield, Virginia.
The U.S. Air Force is deploying a new open architecture for its primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system. At the same time, Air Force researchers are developing deep learning capabilities that will allow the decades-old system to sort through reams of data more easily, enabling faster decision making on the battlefield and enhancing multidomain command and control.
Employing modern statistical inference tools can provide the U.S. Navy a bridge to improved searching and tracking for people, planes and ships across land and sea. The ability of the tools to incorporate even spotty intelligence data to help locate individuals elevates the Navy’s command and control posture and ultimately aids in protecting the United States from security threats.
Recognizing analytical gaps spanning innovative technical system analytics, physics studies and modeling and simulation capabilities is a critical component of successful maritime C4ISR efforts. However, the opportunities to hear and discuss these challenges and potential solutions in effective ways are limited by the need for a classified venue and the availability of intelligence personnel with the necessary level of deep technical expertise.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced it is stepping up efforts to combat the risks of adversarial influence campaigns against American democracy. Together with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, the ODNI will give a classified briefing to election officials in every U.S. state on February 16 and 18.
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has established a multiyear research plan to build 3-D models that leverage satellite imagery to support the nation’s military, humanitarian and intelligence missions. The Creation of Operationally Realistic 3-D Environment (CORE3D) program is intended to significantly reduce the time it takes to build 3-D models.
No longer can the U.S. military bank on ensured victories. The battlefield is more lethal and disruptive, is conducted at breakneck speeds and reaches further around the globe. And although fighting terrorism has gripped the military’s focus for the last 16 years, it is the rise of so-called inter-state strategic competition against nations such as China and Russia that will now be the primary concern for U.S. national security.
The U.S. Air Force is shifting its emphasis in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) away from platforms and toward data as it develops a new ISR strategy. Planners are aiming at a new approach that changes how ISR is undertaken and how it benefits decision makers and warfighters alike.
The new strategy is being built around a core philosophy: “We cannot continue to conduct ISR in the same old ways using the same old methods,” states Col. Johnson Rossow, USAF, Air Force A-2 chief of capabilities-based planning under the Future Warfare Directorate. “We need to be looking at … using old tools in new ways, or new tools in new ways.”
In today’s world, the most valuable resource is information. The fastest-growing companies are data companies. Firms that can apply decision-quality information in time to affect critical business decisions are reaping the greatest success. Just as in warfare, the force that can bring intelligence to the battle edge in near real time will have a tremendous advantage in any engagement.
As the need for new analysts continues to grow, the intelligence community is looking to add millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. work force. These young people—born between about 1980 and 2000—bring a new perspective, but teaching them the necessary skills for analysis must be done differently than it was in even the recent past. Their attitudes and thought processes are vastly different from their predecessors, requiring a new approach to intelligence training and education to make the best use of their abundant skills.
In today’s big data environments, it is not that “we don’t know what we don’t know.” It is actually “we don’t know what we do know,” according to Col. Pete Don, USA, deputy senior intelligence officer for intelligence operations, U.S. Army Pacific. “We are being dazzled with so much data that it is hard to focus and find the needle in the haystack." The net seizes our attention only to scatter it, he contends. Col. Don joined three other colleagues as part of a panel on cybersecurity intelligence at TechNet Asia-Pacific.
The U.S. Navy has outsourced geospatial intelligence at sea, delaying its investment in a solution to this core intelligence competency for the afloat commander. The service needs to train its analysts to produce geospatial intelligence and acquire software and hardware for them. A cost-effective systems solution exists, but the lack of commitment to geospatial intelligence holds the Navy back.
Global changes are sparking a rash of new threats and challenges for intelligence agencies in the United States and abroad.
Terrorist groups continually innovate and adapt. In some ways, their tools and tactics are more sophisticated than ever—using social media to inspire violence, for example. In other ways, their methods are more rudimentary. They have simplified their efforts to include running over people in crowds with cars and slashing bystanders with knives.
U.S. and international intelligence officials described a variety of fresh risks and complications at September’s Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C.