Intelligence Community

April 15, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
The U-2 Dragon Lady is a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft flown by the U.S. Air Force. Photo by Lockheed Martin

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.

April 6, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
Maj. Gen. Leah Lauderback, USAF, sees the U.S. Space Force’s membership into the intelligence community as a key step for the year-old service.

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.

March 18, 2021
By Kimberly Underwood
This fall, high school students in Georgia will have the opportunity to study the intelligence field, thanks to a course added by the state’s Department of Education. Reportedly the first-of-its-kind in the nation, the class will give students a leg up in pursuing careers in intel, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel

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.

March 1, 2021
By Brian Holmes and Corri Zoli
Members of the panel discussing diversity in the intelligence community at the Intelligence & National Security Summit describe the challenges they face entering the profession.

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.

February 24, 2021
By George I. Seffers
U.S. intelligence community personnel may be more vulnerable while telecommuting during the pandemic, but so are U.S. adversaries, experts point out. Credit: enzozo/Shutterstock

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.

February 16, 2021
By Maryann Lawlor
Credit: Aleona/Shutterstock

When they want to catch today’s outlaws, law enforcements officers must follow the money right into cyberspace. Like the rest of society, felons are using the latest technology not only to steal cash but also to launder it to finance other illegal activities, including human trafficking, drugs and terrorism.

January 8, 2021
Posted by: George I. Seffers
The director of national intelligence announced today that the U.S. Space Force has been designated a part of the intelligence community. Credit: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

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. 

October 13, 2020
By Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing, USAF
Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing, USAF, is accustomed to busting through barriers but says a culture change is necessary to help other women do the same.

Challenge after challenge, women overcome barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields and organizations. Allow me to tell you my story. I am Technical Sgt. Bonnie Rushing in the United States Air Force and I am a woman warrior. I faced challenges from the very beginning of my time in the military, during training, and in operations. Not only have I overcome every obstacle along the way, I have come out on top. Let me take you through my journey as a woman warrior and plead for your aid in continued culture change.

September 17, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Companies working for intelligence community agencies have had to redefine some processes and procedures to ensure mission-critical work could continue during the pandemic. Credit: Shutterstock/NicoElNino

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping how companies support intelligence community work, in possibly the largest shift since 9/11, experts say. Facing immediate needs for telework in March, firms had to reconfigure how to support the high-level national security missions of organizations such as the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the CIA and others.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) proved essential to the trusted intelligence workforce, experts say, as it ensured the continuity of serving the intelligence community, or IC, during this time, said Judi Dotson, executive vice president, Booz Allen Hamilton.

July 13, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is evaluating two of its research programs to see if they may offer solutions for the ongoing pandemic. Credit: Corona Borealis Studio/Shutterstock

Two research programs at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency, commonly known as IARPA, are now undergoing evaluation to see if they may provide solutions to help counter the growing COVID-19 pandemic, IARPA director Catherine Marsh tells SIGNAL Magazine.

July 6, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity is adding new office director positions and hiring new program managers as well. The office directors will help recruit program managers, develop and guide research programs, and enhance relationships with key personnel within the intelligence community to help ensure technology transfers to the agencies. Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Catherine Marsh, director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, is hiring personnel to fill several new office director positions. The new personnel will help recruit program managers, develop and guide programs, and strengthen relationships with the intelligence community, enhancing the transition of technologies from researchers to users.

February 12, 2020
By George I. Seffers
The Defense Information Systems Agency and the National Security Agency are partnering more closely than ever to develop and deploy cybersecurity technologies. Credit: BeeBright/Shutterstock

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is working more closely with the intelligence community and is partnering with the National Security Agency (NSA) on a number of cybersecurity-related efforts, officials say.

December 11, 2019
Posted by Julianne Simpson
Credit: Shutterstock/Rawpixel.com

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a report today by the independent science advisory group JASON titled “Fundamental Research Security.”

The NSF commissioned the report this past summer to better understand the threats to basic research posed by foreign governments who seek to violate the principles of scientific ethics and research integrity.

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.

July 12, 2019
 

DLT Solutions LLC, Herndon, Virginia, is being awarded a multiple-award, firm-fixed-price Department of Defense (DoD) Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) blanket purchase agreement (BPA) in accordance with the firms General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedule contracts. The agreement is part of a multi-reseller/multi-software publisher software category management award for commercial-off-the-shelf software; information technology asset management software; software maintenance support; information technology professional services; and related services in support of DoD ESI and under the direction of Office of Management and Budget, Enterprise Software Category.

July 3, 2019
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
Thousands of British and French troops wait on the dunes of Dunkirk Beach, France, for transport to England during World War II, between May 26 and June 4, 1940. The Central Intelligence Agency cites the military evacuation of Dunkirk as the time its predecessor agency started depending on the private sector for key strategic intelligence. Credit: Shutterstock/Everett Historical

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. 

March 5, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Intelligence community (IC) leaders, led by Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, testify before the U.S. Senate as to the growing threats the country is facing from non-state and state actors. The IC’s CIO, John Sherman, is calling for urgency in developing U.S. capabilities, so the country will not be surpassed by adversaries' use of cyber, artificial intelligence and other technologies. Credit: ODNI

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).

January 29, 2019
By George I. Seffers
Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, released today the intelligence community’s annual threat assessment, which lists cyber, artificial intelligence and weapons of mass destruction as some of the top technological threats. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

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.

January 9, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
IARPA announced today two new technology challenges related to credibility assessment and automated video surveillance. Credit: TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

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.

January 9, 2019
Posted by George I. Seffers
IARPA has issued two requests for information, one for classified deep learning and machine learning research and another for novel cooling solutions for portable devices. Credit: geralt/Pixabay

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.

September 4, 2018
By Robert K. Ackerman
Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, describes the challenges facing the community at the Intelligence and National Security Summit. Photography by Herman Farrer

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.

July 23, 2018
Posted by George I. Seffers
Social media data could become integral to detecting violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements. Researchers have developed a computation model that incorporates often incompatible sources of data, such as satellite imagery and Twitter posts that indicate when a violation has occurred. Credit: Geralt/Pixabay

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.

March 30, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
Charlie Allen, principal at The Chertoff Group, says the Intelligence Community must do a better job of anticipating abrupt discontinuities in adversaries' actions.

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.”

April 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
NASA’s development of new communications satellites began in 1960 based on the theory that placing them in a geosynchronous orbit would keep the satellites in the same area of the sky relative to the rotating Earth. Just 17 months later, NASA launched Syncom I, but the satellite stopped sending signals a few seconds before it reached its final orbit and was soon replaced by Syncom II.  NASA

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.

February 20, 2018
By Maryann Lawlor
The volume and variety of information that adversaries are surreptitiously collecting and analyzing from U.S. information systems requires new ways to detect enemies. Credit: Shutterstock

The billions of bits and bytes that make government services, information sharing and even shopping easier also open the doors for adversaries to gather intelligence that aids their nefarious pursuits. AFCEA International’s Cyber Committee has published a white paper that describes several ways big data analytics can help cybersecurity analysts close those doors or at least shrink the gap and reduce vulnerabilities.

February 13, 2018
Posted By George I. Seffers

Russia, Iran and North Korea are testing more aggressive cyber attacks against the United States and partner nations, according to the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community delivered to Congress today by Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.

“The use of cyber attacks as a foreign policy tool outside of military conflict has been mostly limited to sporadic lower-level attacks. Russia, Iran and North Korea, however, are testing more aggressive cyber attacks that pose growing threats to the United States and U.S. partners,” the report states.

4/7/17
By George I. Seffers
Hugh Montgomery, who jumped into Normandy on D-Day with the 82nd Airborne, served in the early days of the CIA.

Editor’s note: Hugh Montgomery, a legendary longtime officer in the intelligence community and a diplomat, died April 6. Just two weeks ago, he gave an interview to SIGNAL Magazine comparing global threats decades ago and now. We would like to honor his service in the cause of freedom by publishing this excerpt from that article about his experiences over the years. The complete article will appear in the May issue of SIGNAL.

February 15, 2017
 

Volant Associates LLC,* Chantilly, Virginia, has been awarded a $14,005,098 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) Framework Integrated Collaborative Environment. Contractor will foster interoperability and collaboration of mission systems and capabilities within the Department of Defense and intelligence community by planning, analyzing, evaluating, designing, developing and testing a feasibility demonstration model of a collaborative framework for members of the DI2E community. Work will be performed at Chantilly, Virginia, and is expected to be complete by April 13, 2019.

September 21, 2016
 

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., McLean, Virginia (HHM402-15-D-0014), was awarded a five-year time and materials task order with a maximum ceiling value of $268,000,000 if all options are exercised. The task order is incrementally funded, with $796,000 funded in fiscal 2016. The task order will provide infrastructure engineering and operation services to support Defense Intelligence Agency and intelligence community information technology requirements under the previously awarded Enhanced Solutions for the Information Technology Enterprise (E-SITE), multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract vehicle.

August 23, 2016
By Ed Hammersla

The world of intelligence sharing has gone from on a need-to-know basis between federal agencies to one in which those key players must, by necessity, combine disparate pieces of intel to ascertain a complete picture of potential threats.

September 23, 2015
 

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nevada, has been awarded a $9,516,004 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for enterprise engine software and hardware prototype system. Contractor will provide design and develop the technology and operational prototypes to satisfy the undersecretary of defense for intelligence goals of optimizing information sharing within the intelligence community (IC), and to enable decision making while maximizing IC capabilities to discover, access, retain, store, share, and exploit information.

July 21, 2015
By Sandra Jontz

U.S. lawmakers launched a bipartisan bid to boost the Department of Homeland Security's powers to better oversee cybersecurity compliance by federal agencies and intervene when they might fail to safeguard their networks.  

The Senate bill would strengthen the department's ability to enforce cybersecurity standards governmentwide, and “in the event that a federal agency chooses not to do so, [the] DHS would have the authority to stand in … and prevent worse damages from occurring,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said in announcing her plans to submit the bill to the full Senate on Tuesday. 

April 6, 2015
By Lewis Shepherd

Every now and then a poll result pops up that surprises me. Results sometimes are counter-intuitive, or at least counter-narrative from what we're led to believe in major media coverage.

Case in point: An early 2015 poll shows that after nearly two years of a negative spotlight on the U.S. intelligence community, and particularly on the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the American people still have a positive view of the NSA and CIA. More startlingly, young Americans have more favorable views of NSA and CIA than older Americans!

November 18, 2010
By George Seffers

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a nearly $50 million contract to provide fully functional messaging systems to the operational messaging community, including Air Force Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency, Department of Defense, intelligence community members, federal government departments/agencies and our coalition partners for messaging and data handling systems. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, New York, is the contracting activity.

June 24, 2010
 

Yesterday's blog coverage was just too short to include the depth of advice the experts at the Small Business Intelligence Forum shared, so here are a few more ideas: -Savvy SIGNAL Scape reader Ross Andrews, ARC Program Manager, Contractor - BVTI, beat this reporter to the punch on a very important item that should be on every small company's list if it wants to do business with the intelligence community: register with the Acquisition Resource Center. See his full comment at http://bit.ly/bXmzFM.

June 23, 2010
 

It's sometimes difficult to figure out what's the bigger secret - intelligence or the acquisition processes of the organizations that gather it. CIA, NSA, DIA plus 13 more agencies are collectively known as the intelligence community (IC), but that's where most of the similarity ends when it comes to these information hunters and gathers when it comes to purchasing goods, services or "carbon units." One fact is absolutely true and as open source as is possible: small businesses have advocates in IC agencies that fight tooth and nail in their interest. Some of these experts presented valuable secrets as well as common sense about how to capture the IC's business at the AFCEA International Small Business Intelligence Forum.

December 21, 2009
By Katie Packard

AFCEA's Intelligence Department has launched yet another blog. This one focuses on how technology can (or should) be used by intelligence professionals. Bob Gourley serves as the man behind the mask--er, blog. He's the founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm, and he is also the primary blogger at CTOvision.com. If that's not enough, Gourley is a former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a former senior executive with Northrop Grumman.

November 12, 2009
By Katie Packard

The intelligence community has been leading the government pack in its collaboration efforts. Christopher Dorobek points to 9/11 and other examples to show how government realized it needed a better way to collect, process and share intelligence data in this month's Incoming column, "The Intelligence Community Writes the Book on Collaboration."

June 17, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Delays in obtaining security clearances are actually the second biggest problem for companies of any size that want to work with members of the intelligence community. The first is what many firms affectionately call the chicken-and-egg problem. Getting a security clearance for corporate personnel is not possible without having a contract that requires secured personnel; however, companies cannot be awarded a contract that requires security clearances until they have personnel that have received security clearances.

June 17, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

An impressive panel featuring participants from the some of the most well-known "three-lettered" intelligence organizations got down to the nuts and bolts of intelligence agencies' requirements. The discussion, which took place this morning at the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum in Fairfax, Virginia, also centered on where the organizations plan to go in the near future in the information technology realm.

June 17, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Representatives from the DIA, NGA and NSA shared their insights about how to get a foot in the door at intelligence community agencies during the second panel presentation at the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum this morning in Fairfax, Virginia. All agreed that it requires more than the standard marketing approach but emphasized that it is worth the investment in time and talent.

June 17, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Dr. William Nolte, research professor and director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Education, University of Maryland, laid the problems on the line regarding industry and intelligence community organizations during the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum, which took place today in Fairfax, Virginia. Ranging from determining who is in charge to the acquisition process, Nolte forthrightly shared that the many of the systems that facilitate government-industry partnerships are broken.