For the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s OSINT: Thinking Outside the SCIF symposium, hundreds of intelligence and national security colleagues tuned in to hear about the plan moving forward to leverage open source intelligence (OSINT) as we push through the after effects of COVID-19.
Previously serving as both the Deputy Director and Acting Director of CIA, John McLaughlin kicked off day one saying “There’s nothing new about open-source. It’s just easier to get.” But intelligence community entities were effective keeping people employed because of open source, offering remote working opportunities. McLaughlin believes OSINT also solves the security clearance problem: “I see how long and painful the security clearance process can be.”
THE US ARMY OSINT ENTERPRISE and direct support elements
Major General Mary-Kate Leahy is the assistant deputy chief of staff (Individual Mobilization Augmentee), Intelligence Office, Deputy Chief of Staff, G2 in Washington DC.
“We must continue to leverage and optimize ALL of our intelligence capabilities, and especially OSINT,” Maj. General. Leahy notes. “The US Army’s journey to incorporate OSINT into our processes began in 2016.” But she advises that the branch still has a long way to go.
The US Army has some tools, projects, and partnerships to help combat the national security challenges the military and US face today.
THE US ARMY OSINT LANDSCAPE
MG Kate Leahy, USA, tells Spring Symposium viewers about the US Army’s allied and partner integration around the globe, both at the strategic and operational levels. One example she provided was the American, British, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand OSINT Program. “ABCANZ is a dedicated endeavor to reduce the gap in common understanding across armies, accomplished by each nation sharing its own OSINT capability,” Maj. Gen. Leahy notes.
PROJECT NORTHERN RAVEN
Project Northern Raven is another inter-country collaboration that aims to improve OSINT sharing and training between partner nations.
MILITARY AND INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS
Speaking to US Army’s partnership with industry, Maj. Gen. Leahy referenced Project Angel Eye, which is designed to make data science more accessible to analysts within the Army, Defense, and Intelligence communities.
Panelists discuss the tension around what information should and should not be available to the government, recognizing and appreciating the protections imposed by commercial organizations and the law, but acknowledging such protections limit the reach of OSINT collection. OSINT leaders from across government and industry engaging in discussions about open source privacy, collection policies, misinformation, disinformation, culture and policy can be tricky, but are much needed as we evaluate how national security operations can work most effectively.