Intelligence

December 1, 2019
By Shaun Waterman
A Customs and Border Protection officer takes biometrics from an arriving foreign visitor. Integrating biometrics into the pre-arrival vetting process is one of the National Vetting Center’s key tasks.  Customs and Border Protection

The Department of Homeland Security interagency National Vetting Center has created an information clearinghouse that automatically checks the names of foreigners applying to come to the United States against highly classified databases in various intelligence agencies. The clearinghouse relies on a cloud architecture that agencies are building to share information and lays the foundation for powerful new tools that could leverage artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to help find foreign travelers who might be a threat to U.S. national security.

November 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Intelligence officers serving U.S. Indo-Pacific Command organizations describe a Chinese threat that unambiguously targets world domination. Credit: Bob Goodwin Photography

The intelligence officers responsible for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) organizations played their China cards face up as they described a nation bent on world domination at the expense of Western values and freedoms. In an overflow panel at TechNet Indo-Pacific 2019, being held November 19-21 in Honolulu, these experts—called the “2s” for their billet designation—cited facts to buttress their observations that China has abandoned its longtime cover stories and is now waging all-out competition with the institutions and nations that defined the cooperative postwar era.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
A phalanx of U.S. intelligence chiefs review the community's progress to close out the Intelligence & National Security Summit. Pictured are (l-r) panel moderator David Ignatius, associate editor and columnist, The Washington Post; Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, USA, commander, CYBERCOM and NSA; Christopher Scolese, director, NRO; Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, USA, director, DIA; Vice Adm. Robert Sharp, USN, director, NGA; and Paul Abbate, associate deputy director, FBI. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Government agencies are working together much more effectively as they counter terrorism and state-sponsored attacks in cyberspace. But more remains to be done as adversaries introduce new tactics and capabilities.

A panel comprising the top U.S. intelligence officials reviewed these issues as they closed out the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Their points ranged from foreign interference in U.S. elections to cooperation—or the lack thereof—from industry with the U.S. government.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
 Panelists at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit discussing the hard truth about disinformation are (l-r) Sujit Raman, associate deputy attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice; Daniel Kimmage, principal deputy coordinator, Global Engagement Center, State Department; Suzanne Kelly, CEO, The Cipher Brief; and Brett Horvath, president, Guardians.ai. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Foreign countries are likely to continue their cyber-based disinformation campaigns as an inexpensive way of shaping thinking in democracies, according to a panel of experts at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Only a concerted effort by government, the commercial sector and the public can blunt its effects, especially as the 2020 elections loom.

“Disinformation is not the weaponization of knowledge, it’s the weaponization of cognition,” declared Brett Horvath, president, Guardians.ai. “To have a coherent strategy, it has to be built on principles: What are you defending, and what are you attacking?”

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Describing U.S. actions against cyber attacks at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence and National Security Summit are (l-r) panel moderator David Sanger, The New York Times; Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command; Rick Howard, chief security officer, Palo Alto Networks; Jeanette Manfra, assistant director for cybersecurity, DHS; and Tonya Ugoretz, deputy assistant director for cyber, FBI. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

The United States is now presenting cyber adversaries with a bill for their malevolent activities. Counter-cyber efforts have joined traditional defensive measures as the intelligence community confronts cybermarauders with greater detection, discovery and prevention.

Several high-ranking intelligence officials described this new tack in combating cyber threats during a panel discussion at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Their observations ranged from election meddling to a potential all-out cyber war.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360; Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, USAF, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command.

With space assuming greater importance as a military domain with its own designated command, the U.S. intelligence community must dedicate assets and procedures to providing vital information about space-based operations. For decades, the ultimate high ground was a valuable source of intelligence across the spectrum of national security. Now, its value as an intelligence target is growing as much as its importance as an operational domain.

September 4, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
The plenary panel discussion on defense intelligence at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit  features (l-r) moderator Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, USMC (Ret.); Kari Bingen, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, U.S. Defense Department; Suzanne White, deputy director, DIA; Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Kruse, USAF, director of defense intelligence (warfighter support); and Rear Adm. Frank “Trey” Whitworth, USN, J-2, The Joint Staff. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

A panel of military intelligence chiefs was not shy about telling industry what they need from it. Speaking at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on Wednesday, September 4, these flag officers listed their technology and capability wish list for many attendees from the commercial sector.

“Industry needs to help us modernize our manpower-intensive linear labor processes,” said Kari Bingen, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, U.S. Defense Department.

September 4, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Panelists discussing military service intelligence priorities at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit are (l-r) panel moderator Lt. Gen. Robert Noonan, USA (Ret.); Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, USA;  Lt. Gen. Veralinn “Dash” Jamieson, USAF; and Rear Adm. Steve Parode, USN. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Intelligence experts at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on Wednesday, September 4, offered that the hybrid cloud may be the digital holy grail for future intelligence operations. Disciplines ranging from international intelligence sharing to artificial intelligence, which are being counted on for effective operations, might not attain their true potential without it.

September 4, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Gen. Joseph Votel, USA (Ret.), former SOCOM and CENTCOM commander, discusses the challenges facing the intelligence community with Michele Flournoy, co-founder of WestExec Advisors, at the Intelligence & National Security Summitt 2019. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

Better information exchange, improved analysis and innovative technologies to keep up with adversaries will be essential if the intelligence community is to serve U.S. national security interests effectively in the coming years, stated experts at the opening session of the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on Wednesday, September 4.

September 1, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Sergey Cherviakov/Shutterstock

From the outer space environment of the moon to the virtual realm of cyberspace, technology challenges have the potential to vex the intelligence community. Many of the tools that the community is counting on to accomplish its future mission can be co-opted or adopted by adversaries well-schooled in basic scientific disciplines. So U.S. intelligence officials must move at warp speed to develop innovations that give them an advantage over adversaries while concurrently denying foes the use of the same innovations against the United States.

June 5, 2019
By Maryann Lawlor
U.S. Navy sailors collaborate with Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific’s RESTORE Lab to explore how three-dimensional scanning and printing can deliver an effective and reliable solution to repair critical warfighting equipment. U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. John P Fagan /Released

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.

May 24, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats discusses national security issues with other leaders during a visit to The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. The intelligence community is seeking advancing capabilities to help strengthen national security. Credit: Office of the Director of National Intelligence

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:

May 7, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
The FBI’s Cyber Division is strengthening its investigative capabilities to battle more and more digital-based crimes from global adversaries, says Amy Hess, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. Credit: Atlantic Council/Image Link

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.

January 31, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, pictured at a recent White House briefing, is calling for the intelligence community to "do things differently,” given the severe threats and complex adversarial environment the United States is facing.  Photo courtesy of ODNI

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.”

September 4, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
John Hamre (l), president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, speaks with John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, during a panel discussion moderated by Hamre at the 2018 Intelligence and National Security Summit. Photography by Herman Farrer.

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.

August 30, 2018
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Michael Moss, deputy director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), told Congress that CTIIC remains concerned by the "increasingly damaging effects of cyber operations and the apparent acceptance by adversaries of collateral damage." Credit: Shutterstock/EVorona

As billions more Internet of Things (IoT)-related devices come online, the barrage of cyber threats will not only continue but will target users in new ways. Moreover, the number of adversaries mounting attacks against the United States in cyberspace will continue to grow in the next year, as nation-states, terrorist groups, criminal organizations and others persist in the development of cyber warfare capabilities, Michael Moss, deputy director, Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) warned during recent Congressional testimony.

August 23, 2018
By George I. Seffers
David May, senior intelligence advisor, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia, speaks during a panel at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. Photo by Michael Carpenter

The U.S. Army is poised to implement five force design changes related to the integration of multidomain capabilities, including intelligence, cyber and electronic warfare. The integration of such capabilities is designed to allow commanders to act more quickly on the cyber-era battlefield.

David May, senior intelligence advisor, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon, Georgia, explained the changes while serving on a multidomain panel at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference.

August 17, 2018
 

Six3 Intelligence Solutions Inc./CACI, McLean, Virginia, was awarded a $125,807,584 modification (P00021) to contract W911W4-16-C-0006 for intelligence support services to the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support director of intelligence. Work will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of February 28, 2020. Fiscal year 2018 operations and maintenance Army funds in the amount of $23,577,527 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

March 6, 2018
By George I. Seffers
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Army deputy chief of staff, G-2, speaks at the AFCEA Army Signal Conference.

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.

October 12, 2017
By John Gilligan

The lines between nation-state and criminal cyber attacks are blurring, and the pace of their onslaughts is increasing geometrically as everyone from private citizens to secure government organizations is targeted. Most importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to either cybersecurity or threat intelligence. Each aspect must be tailored to the threat and the threatened.

Many of these points were brought forward in an AFCEA classified cyber forum earlier this year. Addressing the theme of “Evolving Cyber Threat Intelligence, Means, Methods and Motives,” the forum generated some valuable unclassified observations and conclusions relevant to dealing with today’s cyberthreat.

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