Foreign influence operations against the United States and its allies are likely to proliferate as more nations with propaganda agendas learn how to exploit social media technologies, say intelligence community experts. Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election are only the tip of the iceberg, and government must learn how to work with industry to counter these efforts.
A challenge to develop an intelligence app concluded with software that uses neural networks to predict social unrest around the world. Sponsored by the AFCEA Emerging Professionals in Intelligence Committee (EPIC) and the Cyber Council of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, the challenge awarded a total of $6,000 to three firms tasked with developing a software solution to a problem currently confronted by the intelligence community.
A resurgent Russian military that has adopted an entirely different posture than its communist predecessor is posing a major military challenge to U.S. forces worldwide, according to U.S. service intelligence chiefs. Where China is boosting its military to realize its goal of global economic supremacy, Russia is focusing its force modernization to defeat the U.S. military in any setting, the flag officers said.
Across-the-board innovation is increasing the national security threat picture, and the U.S. Defense Department is preparing to respond in kind. Technology advances such as hypersonics and artificial intelligence may join macroprojects such as a new space force as peer and near-peer adversaries gear up to overcome U.S. military superiority.
Economics, crime, terrorism and technology form the basis of four major challenges confronting the U.S. intelligence community, according to its director. Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, described the causes of these challenges to a large luncheon audience on the first day of the 2018 Intelligence and National Security Summit sponsored by AFCEA International and INSA at National Harbor, Maryland.
The next sector to benefit from commercial space technology spinoffs could be the intelligence community. Facing a growing threat to its mission capabilities in orbit, the community is weighing several options to prevent adversaries from denying the use of vital systems, including national technical assets. At the same time, plans are in the works for the next generation of space-based intelligence assets.
Among the options is a greater reliance on commercial technologies to ensure space system survivability. The intelligence community is already working to exploit private-sector innovations, and future developments offer the potential to change the U.S. national security space architecture.
In the future, voice analysis of an intercepted phone call from an international terrorist to a crony could yield the caller’s age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, health status, emotional state, educational level and socioeconomic class. Artificial intelligence-fueled voice forensics technology also may offer clues about location; room size; wall, ceiling and floor type; amount of clutter; kind of device, down to the specific model used to make the call; and possibly even facial characteristics of the caller.
A $3,000 bounty awaits the developer who can come up with the best app to suit an intelligence community need, but time is short—the deadline for entry is Thursday, August 23, at 11:59 p.m., EDT. Known as the EPIC APP Challenge, the contest is open to schools or companies wielding a team of no more than five members.
Researchers at North Carolina (NC) State University have developed a new computational model that draws on normally incompatible data sets, such as satellite imagery and social media posts, to answer questions about what is happening in targeted locations. The model identifies violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.
A new information technology system from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is set to improve how the federal government conducts background investigations.
More than 4.08 million individuals hold a federal security clearance, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s Annual Report on Security Clearance Determinations. And it can take federal agencies more than 500 days to process security clearance cases, including background investigations.
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.