2017 News

Subscribe to RSS News Feed

Stay up to date on the latest news from DIA, NGA, NRO, NSA, ODNI and DHS I&A. Subscribe to our news feed.

Expanded Look – ‘Section 702’ Saves Lives, Protects the Nation and Allies

December 17, 2017

The U.S. Intelligence Community relies on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the constant hunt for information about foreign adversaries determined to harm the nation or our allies. The National Security Agency (NSA), for example, uses this law to target terrorists and thwart their plans.

In a time of increasing cyber threats, Section 702 also aids the Intelligence Community’s cybersecurity efforts.

Under Section 702, the government cannot target a U.S. person anywhere in the world, or any person located in the United States.

Under Section 702, NSA can target foreigners reasonably believed to be located outside the United States only if it has a basis to believe it will acquire certain types of foreign intelligence information that have been authorized for collection.

This law has played both a unique and decisive role in national defense. For example:

  • NSA Section 702 reporting helped thwart the efforts of front companies seeking to obtain weapons probably bound for a rebel group in the Middle East that is hostile to U.S. interests. Information derived from Section 702 was shared with a European government, which prompted that government to prevent a nearly $1 million shipment of weapons and ammunition. This European government also revoked the export license of multiple arms companies based on the intelligence.
  • During 2016, Section 702 collection provided NSA unprecedented details concerning a hostile nation’s efforts to directly supply another hostile regime with war material. Section 702 collection also revealed military training occurring between the nations.
  • In 2016, using Section 702, NSA was able to identify cybersecurity information relating to a hostile foreign government. NSA was able to identify the specific foreign individuals and observe their tactics, techniques and procedures. By identifying the actors and their tactics, NSA gained an understanding of the foreign adversary that would help NSA stop malicious cyberattacks if they were to be used against the United States.
  • NSA uses Section 702 to develop a body of knowledge regarding the proliferation of military communications equipment and sanctions-evasion activity by a sanctions-restricted country. Additionally, Section 702 collection provided foreign intelligence information that was key to interdicting shipments of prohibited goods by the target country.
  • In 2016, thanks in part to NSA’s Section 702 collection technique, NSA was able to obtain intelligence on a foreign government’s state-sponsored phone application that impacted cybersecurity and was not publicly known. Because of this discovery, the app was ultimately removed from the various phone application marketplaces.
  • In late September 2015, NSA received information from a partner nation concerning the activities of an extremist, who aspired to either travel to the Middle East in order to join an extremist group, or conduct a terrorist attack on European soil. Based on that tip, NSA used Section 702 collection to acquire the communications of the extremist. Specifically, NSA obtained a number of the extremist’s communications, which allowed NSA to tip the partner nation to the individual’s plans to carry out an attack on a public area. This timely foreign intelligence information assisted partner nation authorities with pinpointing the extremist’s location and activities. NSA was credited by the partner with providing key information for the investigation, which resulted in the extremist’s overseas arrest.
  • Section 702 collection is critical to understanding strategic plans and intentions of foreign adversary militaries and is extremely valuable when developing countermeasures to mitigate the threat posed by those adversaries. During 2015, NSA used Section 702 to gather unprecedented details concerning military weapon systems research, development and testing by a hostile foreign power. This information allows the U.S. military, if desired, to create a functional duplicate of the system, providing a significant strategic and tactical advantage.
  • NSA uses Section 702 to acquire extensive insight into the highest level decision-making of a Middle Eastern government. This reporting from Section 702 collection provided U.S. policymakers with the clearest picture of a regional conflict and, in many cases, directly informed U.S. engagement with the country. Section 702 collection provides NSA with sensitive internal policy discussions of foreign intelligence value.
  • NSA, over a two-year period, used Section 702 to develop a robust body of knowledge about the personal network of an individual providing support to a leading terrorist in Iraq and Syria. This “leading terrorist” practiced strict operational security, and thus it was necessary to study the target by identifying key operatives throughout his network to understand not only the plans and intentions of the terrorist leader, but also to attempt to track his movements. Section 702 collection provided the necessary information for tactical teams to conduct a successful military operation, removing the terrorist from the battlefield. This information was critical to the discovery and disruption of this threat to the U.S. and its allies.
  • NSA produced a body of reporting based on Section 702 collection highlighting the 2015 travel of several extremists from the Middle East to Europe, likely for the purpose of conducting terror attacks. One of these travelers was directed by and maintained contact with one of the planners of the 2015 Paris attacks, reporting the problems and difficulties he encountered throughout his journeys. NSA provided identifying information to foreign partners, who located and detained the individual who now faces terrorism charges.
  • NSA used Section 702 collection to reveal the identities of the overseas terrorists responsible for a 2016 attack which resulted in more than 20 deaths. NSA’s Section 702 collection provided the necessary insight and reporting on the attack that refuted the terrorist organization’s denial of any involvement. Specifically, Section 702 collection provided a direct claim of responsibility from the terror group’s leaders and included a list of the terrorists trained for the operation. This reporting was crucial for supporting timely U.S. and coalition force planning and operations against terrorists in the region.
  • In mid-to-late 2015, while monitoring terrorists and associates active in the Middle East, NSA used collection authorized under Section 702 to monitor an individual targeting specific U.S. and Western individuals. Section 702 allowed NSA to understand some of the plans and intentions of the operative, and it helped determine his whereabouts. This information was critical to the discovery and disruption of this threat to Americans and allies.
  • Section 702 has been critical to monitoring the activities of potential suicide bombers who threaten U.S. forces in Afghanistan. For example, in June 2016, NSA’s timely reporting based on Section 702 collection enabled U.S. and coalition forces to detain a potential suicide bomber and seize various IED components, disrupting planned attacks on U.S. convoys and a U.S. base in Northern Afghanistan.
  • Section 702 enables NSA to protect U.S. government networks by providing unique cybersecurity insights. For example, Section 702 collection provided significant understanding of specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities of networks and infrastructure. This discovery helped to defend against these vulnerabilities.
  • Section 702 collection allowed NSA to discover key cybersecurity information concerning actors who planned to use United States infrastructure to enable spearphishing techniques on multiple targets that could have resulted in the compromise of personal and sensitive information.
  • Section 702 collection enables NSA to monitor the expansion of terrorist groups in Southeast Asia. During 2013 and 2014, Section 702 collection provided information that terror groups in Southeast Asia planned attacks against U.S. interests in the region and enabled warnings to be issued to the appropriate locations.

NSA analysis of Section 702 collection discovered the communications of a member of a major terrorist group in the Middle East who was communicating with an extremist in Europe who was sharing ideas on how to commit a terrorist attack. Specifically, NSA discovered communications where the individual in Europe was discussing with the terrorist buying material to build a suicide belt. NSA shared this critical information with European partners in an attempt to disrupt further attacks against U.S. and allied interests.

In the Spotlight: Cybersecurity Expert Ethan Givens

November 27, 2017

Being versatile is a principle Ethan W. Givens, a former Marine, has long taken to heart. Now the Deputy Chief of the Strategic Education Initiatives and Alliances Division in NSA’s College of Cyber, he works to help the agency beef up cybersecurity training – an area that never ceases to evolve as NSA works 24/7/365 to protect the nation.

Q: What led you to a cybersecurity career?

A: You could say I was lured by the fact that it was, for me, rugged, new terrain. I was an active duty Marine when I was first assigned to the NSA. I had no real affinity for computers when I reported to the Information Operations Technology Center (IOTC) for duty, and it was quite different from my tactical experience up to that point. Entering the area of computer network attack, to help combat foreign threats to the nation and our allies, presented a challenge. I was drawn to it.

I was first introduced to cybersecurity as an all-source analyst in the IOTC, researching various aspects of computer systems to support operations. Learning about the public and private systems that rely very heavily on computer networks to operate was an eye-opener for me.

My next tour at NSA was with what we call “the Red Team,” and that experience solidified my desire to pursue cybersecurity. The Red Team’s mission is to improve the security posture of computer networks crucial to the Defense Department and the nation. In an exercise used to discover vulnerabilities, the customer (organizations that manage national security systems) must keep our team from penetrating its networks and systems. If the team is able to get in – well, I should say ‘when’ because they always get in – our experts then work closely with customers to strengthen weak areas. It was extremely satisfying to see systems become increasingly secure compared with our previous vulnerability assessments of those very systems.

Q: What do you do at NSA now?

A: I am a Deputy Division Chief in the College of Cyber. My area, the Strategic Education Initiatives and Alliances Division, is the “front door,” so to speak, of the College of Cyber. The division has four primary efforts: the GenCyber Program, an initiative that offers free summer camps for students and teachers in grades K-12 across the country; the Centers for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense and Operations, which promote cyber education within universities; the Cyberspace Workforce Improvement Program; and the Department of Defense Cyber Training Support Team, which coordinates cyber training for U.S. Cyber Command. We also coordinate training for and with other external government and military organizations.

Q: What is the hardest thing to deliver in your role?

A: Timely and on-demand cyber-related training. Government processes do not change quickly and we all know that cyberspace changes virtually non-stop. New systems, applications, operating systems and tools are developed every day. Technical training is inherently difficult because it often requires individuals with particular skills and hardware resources that must constantly be updated to remain relevant. The speed at which technology evolves adds another layer of difficulty to delivering effective cyber-related training.

The College of Cyber has to hit a very fast-moving target. It is no small task to keep pace with developments in technology while delivering training content enterprise-wide – at the desired time, to a population with varying skill levels – in response to mission requirements. But we are determined to get the job done. Like I said, I’m attracted to challenges!

NGA Co-hosts GeoPlunge Tournament in St. Louis to Promote Geographic Literacy

November 21, 2017

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency co-hosted a GeoPlunge Tournament for fourth-graders at the T-Rex Innovation Center in St. Louis Nov. 15. Twenty-seven students from St. Louis’ Hodgen Tech competed in teams of three to play GeoPlunge, a card game that tests knowledge of U.S. geography. For the past six weeks, 18 NGA volunteers have worked with the Hodgen students nearly every day, for a half hour, teaching the students how to play the game.

Triniya Sonnier, 10, said GeoPlunge helped her learn the states and capitals. “My favorite state is Hawaii, because that’s the easiest to remember,” she said. “The capital is … Honolulu!”

Sonnier said GeoPlunge also helped her and her classmates practice working as a team. 

Zion Drew, 9, agreed. “I like my team,” he said. “We learn together it gets the job done quicker.”

Drew said that before he started playing GeoPlunge, he didn’t know all 50 states. “I only knew Texas, Missouri and Illinois. All the other states names were so weird to me. And capitals are even harder than the states. Now I’ve learned Connecticut is a state and its capital is Hartford, and Austin is the capital of Texas.”

Ana Irby, a fourth-grade teacher at Hodgen, said many students worked at home to learn U.S. geography in preparation for playing the games. “They really liked that they could work to get better on their own,” Irby said. “And it was easy to see their growth. As we played the game, they could see themselves getting better.”

Visits from NGA volunteers helped keep the students motivated to learn, Irby said. “The kids looked forward to having the coaches there,” Irby said. “They wanted to be at school and were on good behavior because they knew coaches were coming.”

NGA volunteer Emily O’Brien said students’ scores on before-and-after U.S. geography quizzes improved by an average of 40 percent after six weeks of learning the GeoPlunge game with NGA volunteers.

“Our goal was to help students get excited about geography,” O’Brien said, “and it’s been so rewarding to see how much these students have learned and their enthusiasm for the game.

The tournament was held as part of NGA’s Partners in Education program – in partnership with LearningPlunge, T-Rex and Boundless – to promote geographic literacy, or the knowledge of where people, places and things are located on a map and how they relate to each other. Fifteen ninth-graders from St. Louis’ KIPP charter high school also participated as judges and scorekeepers.

NGA Partners in Education program’s aim is to help foster a passion for learning and prepare students for careers in science, technology, math and engineering fields.

An Illustration: Understanding the Impact of Section 702 on the Typical American

November 17, 2017

The U.S. Intelligence Community relies on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the constant hunt for information about foreign adversaries determined to harm the nation or our allies. The National Security Agency (NSA), for example, uses this law to target terrorists and thwart their plans. In a time of increasing cyber threats, Section 702 also aids the Intelligence Community’s cybersecurity efforts.

Under Section 702, the government cannot target a U.S. person anywhere in the world, or any person located in the United States.

Under Section 702, NSA can target foreigners reasonably believed to be located outside the United States only if it has a basis to believe it will acquire certain types of foreign intelligence information that have been authorized for collection.

The illustration below relates to how NSA uses Section 702 and highlights the many privacy protections for a U.S. person under this critical foreign intelligence law.

Q: Can I, as an American, be the target of Section 702 surveillance?

A: No. As an American citizen, you cannot be the target of surveillance under Section 702. Even if you were not an American, you could not be targeted under Section 702 if you were located in the United States.

Q: I will soon travel to Europe for several days. Can I be targeted for surveillance under Section 702?

A: No. American citizens cannot be targeted under Section 702 even when they leave the country, nor can lawful permanent residents (i.e., “green card holders”).

Q: My friend occasionally travels abroad to areas where hostilities often attract global news coverage. I recently talked to him on the phone shortly before one of his trips. Couldn’t that call have been picked up under Section 702, even though I’m not a target?

A: No. As long as your friend is located in the United States, he could not be targeted for surveillance under Section 702. And if your friend is an American, he could not be targeted under Section 702 while overseas.

Q: Could the government target my colleague, who is a citizen of an Asian country, as a pretext to collect my communications under Section 702?

A: No. That would be considered “reverse targeting” and is prohibited.

Q: My neighbor Mary is a U.S. citizen who was born in South America and has non-U.S. citizen family members there. Mary talks to those relatives each week. Couldn’t those phone calls be collected under Section 702 because the U.S. government can target Mary’s foreign relatives in South America?

A: It’s extraordinarily unlikely. First, out of billions of foreigners located overseas, there were only approximately 106,000 foreign 702 targets in 2016. Second, NSA can target Mary’s foreign relatives under Section 702 only if it has a basis to believe it will acquire certain types of foreign intelligence information that have been authorized for collection.

Foreign intelligence information is defined in the law and includes things like international terrorism and weapons proliferation. This means the vast majority of foreigners will never be subject to targeting under Section 702.

Q: One of Mary’s foreign relatives in South America is a member of an international terrorist group. Could Mary’s conversations with that relative be collected under Section 702?

A: Yes, it’s possible, if the U.S. government is aware of the relative’s membership in a terrorist group and the relative is one of the 106,000 targets under Section 702. However, even if this scenario occurred, there would still be protections in place for Mary, a U.S. citizen, if her conversations with that target were incidentally intercepted. For example:

U.S. intelligence agencies’ court-approved minimization procedures are specifically designed to protect the privacy of U.S. persons by, among other things, limiting the circumstances in which NSA can include the identity of a U.S. person in an intelligence report. Moreover, even where those procedures allow the NSA to include the identity of a U.S. person in an intelligence report, NSA frequently substitutes the U.S. person identity with a generic phrase or term, such as “U.S. person 1” or “a named U.S. person.” NSA calls this “masking” the identity of the U.S. person.

There are also what’s known as “age-off requirements”: After a certain period of time, the IC must delete any unminimized Section 702 information, regardless of the nationality of the communicants.

Q: When can NSA “unmask” the identity of a U.S. person?

A: Generally, any authorized recipient of an intelligence report may request an unmasking of the identity of a U.S. person, but only if the recipient has a need for the identity for the performance of official duties, the identity is necessary to understand foreign intelligence or assess its importance, and the request is otherwise consistent with the court-approved minimization procedures.

At NSA, only a small number of individuals possess the authority to approve unmasking requests. The circumstances under which each of these individuals may approve an unmasking request vary based on the U.S. person identity in question and the facts surrounding the request. NSA has developed technology to allow it to document each approved release of U.S. person information, ensuring that the agency maintains appropriate records and provides accountability to both internal and external oversight bodies.

Q: Can NSA use my information to query lawfully collected 702 data?

A: NSA can query already lawfully collected Section 702 information using a U.S. person’s name or identifier (such as an e-mail account or phone number) only if the query is reasonably designed to identify foreign intelligence information.

However, a U.S. person is still afforded protection. The justification for the query must be documented. The process for conducting a query is also subject to internal controls. Such queries are reviewed by the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to ensure they meet the relevant legal requirements. Additionally, if the query was subsequently identified as being improper, it would be reported to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and to Congress.

Q: Terrorists aim to hurt Americans and our allies, so why doesn’t the Intelligence Community share more Section 702 information about how the IC goes after them?

A: The Intelligence Community has dramatically enhanced transparency, especially regarding its implementation of Section 702. Thousands of pages of key documents have been officially released, and are available on IC on the Record. The public has more information than ever before on how the IC uses this critical foreign surveillance authority. That said, the IC must continue to protect classified information. This includes specifics on whether or not it has collected information about any particular individual. If terrorists could find out that NSA had intercepted their communications, terrorists would likely change their communications methods to avoid further detection.

Q: Is the U.S. government the only one in the world with intercept programs like 702?

A: No. Many other countries have intelligence surveillance intercept programs, nearly all of which have far fewer privacy protections. Section 702 and its supporting policies and practices stand out in terms of strength of oversight, privacy protections and public transparency.

Intelligence Community Launches “XTEND” Analytic Evaluation Challenge

November 16, 2017

The Intelligence Community is sponsoring a $75,000 prize competition to explore opportunities for artificial intelligence and other machine-based approaches to transform the process by which IC analytic products are reviewed and evaluated prior to their dissemination to policymakers and warfighters.

The new Intelligence.gov is a platform to showcase and release information, including: data, documents, news, and products. The site allows a broad range of users to search and interact with the information in increasingly meaningful and useful ways, providing a clear, insightful, and engaging presentation focused on human narratives, strong key imagery, and dynamic digital content.

“Today’s human-based evaluation approaches are often subjective and introduce latency that constrains the IC’s ability to produce effective and timely intelligence products, and may inhibit potential gains offered by emerging approaches such as that demonstrated with the Xpress Challenge,” said Dr. David Isaacson, DS&T program manager for the challenge. “The Xtend Challenge will not only help the IC to determine the current state of the art in this area, it will also help the community to identify and begin to address the relevant research challenges.”

The Xtend Challenge asks solvers to describe an approach for enabling the machine-based evaluation of finished intelligence production. Solvers must provide a well-supported, technology-based justification describing how the proposed solution could – at a minimum – rapidly and objectively evaluate 1-2 page analytic intelligence products against existing IC standards with minimal or no human intervention. Further, the solvers should describe their solution in the context of allowing analysts and analytic managers to understand and accept the solution and be able to evaluate the solution in terms of its trustworthiness, with minimal additional training.

Challenge solvers’ approaches will be evaluated by a team of IC and Department of Defense scientists, engineers and other technical experts. The initial prize purse is $25,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $1,000. The deadline for final submissions is January 15, 2018. After the close of the challenge, an additional award pool of $50,000 will be available for solvers who are able to provide, upon request from ODNI and OUSD(I), more detailed information such as a pseudo-code implementation of their proposed solution.

With the Xtend Challenge, the ODNI and the OUSD(I) are advancing the IC’s mission of stimulating technology-based capabilities for solving intelligence challenges today and in the future.

Intelligence.gov Re-launch Marks New Era for IC Transparency

November 13, 2017

Today the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is re-launching Intelligence.gov as an all-new digital front door for the U.S. Intelligence Community, with a focus on increasing transparency about the IC’s authorities and activities.

The new Intelligence.gov is a platform to showcase and release information, including: data, documents, news, and products. The site allows a broad range of users to search and interact with the information in increasingly meaningful and useful ways, providing a clear, insightful, and engaging presentation focused on human narratives, strong key imagery, and dynamic digital content.

“Today’s launch is rooted in the Intelligence Community-wide transparency effort and reflects contributions from each IC agency. With this new platform, we are moving transparency from special occasion to standard operating procedure,” said Michael Thomas, Intelligence.gov Executive Editor and ODNI’s Deputy Transparency Officer.

Intelligence.gov furthers the IC’s efforts to reach new audiences via social media, building on established transparency efforts, such as IC on the Record. This new site links to other IC resources – including the websites of IC agencies – so that the public has a single point of entry to clear and accurate information about the IC.

In June 2014, the Director of National Intelligence instructed the ODNI’s Civil Liberties Protection Officer to coordinate the development of a new approach to intelligence transparency to earn and retain public trust.

In February 2015, the Director of National Intelligence published the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community, followed in October 2015 by the Intelligence Community’s implementation plan for the Principles, intended to facilitate Intelligence Community decisions on making information publicly available in a manner that enhances public understanding of intelligence activities.

The implementation plan included establishing Intelligence.gov as the primary portal for the IC’s publicly posted electronic information. This hub would provide a single venue to present IC-wide information, including readily understandable public descriptions of the IC’s mission and activities and the IC’s governance framework.

Using Intelligence.gov to expand and improve public electronic access to information about the Intelligence Community was also included in the IC’s commitments in its submission to the Third Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America, published on October 27, 2015.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence continues to lead an IC-wide effort to implement the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the IC. Those principles call on the IC to be proactive and strategic in enhancing public understanding of the IC’s mission, how the IC accomplishes that mission, and the IC’s framework of rules, compliance, and oversight. The Intelligence Transparency Council is executing a range of transparency initiatives under the Intelligence Transparency Plan.

“The ODNI is committed to increasing openness within the government and with the American public and will continue to make every effort to increase transparency, while also protecting classified and sensitive national security information and intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosures,” said Alex Joel, ODNI’s Chief of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency.

242 Looks Good on You, Marine

November 9, 2017

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency honored the U.S. Marine Corps Nov. 7 by celebrating its 242nd birthday at the NGA SPRINGFIELD, VA, campus.

Guest speaker, Marine Brig. Gen. Dimitri Henry, praised NGA and the tradecraft expertise, production, analysis and data support it has provided the Marine Corps throughout his 36-year career.

“I have had NGA representatives on all my deployments,” said Henry, who is the director of Marine Corps Intelligence. “NGA has always been a part of [what] Marines have done, and their products are things you can see.  I can tell you, a grunt or a pilot would rather have a map [and to NGA’s motto] be shown the way.”

Henry serves as the Marine Corps commandant’s principal intelligence staff officer. Part of his role is to formulate policy for intelligence, counterintelligence and electronic warfare for the Marine Corps.

“I don’t remember everything about my first Marine Corps ball or cake-cutting ceremony, but I do remember how I felt,” said Henry. “I feel the same way today.”

NGA Director, Employees and St. Louis Residents Meet, Share Ideas at Project Connect Open House

November 9, 2017

Director Robert Cardillo spoke with St. Louis officials and residents at the Project Connect public meeting at Gateway Middle School in North St. Louis Nov. 1.

The meeting, organized by Project Connect, was held to help connect residents of the neighborhoods around the future NGA campus site to resources and help them learn more about NGA and other projects happening in North City.

Cardillo addressed the crowd of more than 100 people, including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, next to a map showing the boundaries of the future NGA site.

“Last June, I officially determined North St. Louis City as the site of our future campus,” Cardillo said. “I am even more confident today that North St Louis was the right choice.”

He thanked the city for their commitment to the project and their work to clear the site, and residents for their support of the project.

“Let me assure you the NGA team is equally committed to our promise to be a contributing partner in the future of this neighborhood, the city and the region,” he said. Cardillo mentioned the agency recently hired eight new employees through LaunchCode, a nonprofit organization that trains members of the St. Louis community to code. He also said the agency would be increasing its K-12 educational outreach, the Partners in Education program, to St. Louis area schools.

The N2W team and NGA’s Partners in Education program managers also attended the open house to meet with residents and attendees and answer any questions they may have about NGA, the new campus and K-12 outreach.

Vice President Pence Visits DIA HQ

November 8, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Defense Intelligence Agency Headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Nov. 6, to receive classified intelligence briefings and meet with DIA officers.

DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley hosted the visit, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats accompanied the vice president.

“DIA officers play a crucial role in our intelligence apparatus,” Pence said in a statement. “We are grateful for their work and sacrifice.”

The vice president received classified all-source intelligence briefings on foreign military capabilities from a diverse array of subject matter experts that included specialists in human intelligence (HUMINT), satellite and imagery collection, space/counterspace operations, and clandestine operations. He also met with students in several of the agency’s training programs, including analytic tradecraft training and a course focused on the agency’s Defense Attaché program.

DIA is one of only three national-level intelligence agencies capable of all-source analysis production.

“As analysts, your job is not to advocate, but to present facts,” Pence told a class of new analysts who were studying enemy air defense systems. “You are part of an elite group at DIA.” He added that the analysts at DIA “play a vital role in the defense of the nation.”

Highlighted during his visit was DIA’s Defense Attaché program, which trains military officers and their spouses to serve as defense department representatives at U.S. embassies worldwide. Spouses who attend the class on a voluntary basis learn skills that prepare them for life overseas. Spouses sit side-by-side with their military member and study diplomatic protocol, cultural communication, foreign language skills and other topics important to representing the U.S. in a foreign setting.

DIA’s Defense Attachés are located in more than 140 countries around the world.

Pence said the attaché program is an integral part of DIA’s mission and this kind of service to the nation “is a calling, particularly as a family.”

“You are diplomats representing the United States in faraway places at a very critical time,” he said. “Thank you for your service and the service of your family.”

Throughout the briefings and visit, Pence repeatedly relayed thanks to the DIA officers on behalf of himself, his family and the president.

“Thank you for stepping up to serve your country,” he said.

The vice president’s visit to DIA is one in a series of recent visits to key intelligence agencies.

Intelligence Community Bests Major Corporations in LGBTA Awards

November 7, 2017

The Intelligence Community’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally group “IC Pride” won a major award at Out & Equal’s annual summit in Philadelphia last month. The “Outie” award for Employee Resource Group of the Year recognizes organizations as leaders in advancing global workplace equality for LGBT employees. IC Pride – which unifies LGBTA resources from across all 17 IC agencies and elements – beat Fortune 500 peer groups, including Comcast NBC Universal, Deutsche Bank, Verizon, and AT&T.

IC Pride Chair Lee M., an officer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said, “It is extremely gratifying to see IC Pride recognized as a global leader in advancing LGBTA workplace equality. It wasn’t that long ago when gay and lesbian intelligence officers could not even be ‘out’ at work.” When asked what has made IC Pride successful, he shared “IC Pride is most notable for three things – the way it maximizes and propels rapid diversity change, its use of senior executives to support that speed of change, and the way it has helped reverse long-lived stereotypes of the U.S. government and the IC as non-LGBTA-friendly employers.” He noted, “We’ve taken the biggest successes from individual agencies, lifted them up, and implemented them across the IC.”

Nearly 30 professionals from across the IC – including from CIA, DIA, ODNI, FBI, NGA, NRO, NSA, and Treasury – attended Out & Equal’s annual workplace summit, where they took part in a leadership day, plenary events with keynote speakers, panels, and educational breakout sessions. By participating in the summit, IC Pride is able to draw on best practices in LGBTA workplace inclusion from across the private sector, academia and government.

IC Pride stems from early pioneering efforts at both CIA and NSA. Chartered at CIA in 1996, the Agency Network of Gay and Lesbian Employees was the first employee resource group within the IC. In 1999, the Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees became officially recognized as an NSA employee organization. By 2008, other agencies, such as NGA, also formed LGBTA groups or special emphasis programs. IC Pride was created in 2009 with only a vision, a chairperson and an executive champion, officially launching in 2011. Since then, IC Pride has quickly matured, drawing upon ODNI’s IC leadership role to identify and shape LGBTA community priorities and implement best practices across the Community.

In just the last year, IC Pride, in partnership with ODNI, developed Transgender Employee Guidelines to assist all 17 IC agencies and elements with the preparation of policies relating to the treatment of transgender individuals in the federal workplace. Additionally, IC Pride developed and launched an ally training module specifically for executive leaders and has conducted this training throughout the Metropolitan DC area as well as Military Combatant Command Headquarters and Military Intelligence Centres. IC Pride members participated in several public forums – as keynote speakers, panels and workshops – to showcase the IC as an LGBTA employer of choice.

When asked how IC Pride has empowered them professionally or their mission, members shared:

“Being part of IC Pride has had a tremendous benefit to me, both professionally and personally. First, I have learned to be an effective advocate for diversity and inclusion at my agency and in the IC. This has allowed me to interact with offices and other agencies that I don’t normally work with in my current position. Second, I now have contacts at IC agencies that I did not before. This has allowed me to expand my understanding of the IC and to find counterparts for my position that I was not exposed to previously. I wish I knew about IC Pride five years ago – it would have made me a more effective leader then to now. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with and learn from my IC Pride colleagues.”
– Barb M., DIA

“IC Pride has helped me have a sense of community at work. As a member of IC Pride, I get to actively create the type of workplace I want to be in and I work with some of the best talent the IC has to offer to make the workplace more inclusive for everyone. The friends and mentors I have met through IC Pride have enriched my career and helped me grow as an IC professional.”
– Mackensey B., NSA

“IC Pride is important to me for two reasons. First, it challenges me to think about what more I can do as an ally to support our LGBTQ teammates, or as I learned last week at Out & Equal, moving from an ally to an advocate. Second, IC Pride helps promote the IC as a good place to work. I truly believe, in order to solve the really hard problems we will deal with going forward, we cannot alienate any segment of our population, including our LGBTQ citizens”
– Stephan J. NGA

“To me it’s the collaboration that is impressive. The impact of IC Pride is portable to each of the IC member agencies, and the depth of the group can be brought to bear on any issue – as there are successes to share and gaps to fill.”
– Tish T. NGA

“Employee Resource Groups play a critical role in the IC’s ability to promote diversity, inclusion, and equal employment opportunity. IC Pride stands out as a leader among ERGs – both in the IC and across industry. It’s a pleasure to work with such talented and dedicated officers who are advancing our national security mission. IC Pride sets the standard for employee-led groups, and they have created a space where all members of the workforce can learn, contribute and feel a sense of belonging here in the IC. Congratulations, and thank you to IC Pride.”
– Rita Sampson,Chief of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity for the IC

IC Pride has several ambitious goals for the upcoming year. First they will focus on strengthening their membership in order to bring in additional perspectives and talent. The ally program intends to develop teams of additional ally instructors across multiple agencies. IC Pride also will strengthen partnerships with other employee resource groups across the IC, to work together on common issues for diversity and inclusion.

STEM Night Returning to the National Cryptologic Museum

November 7, 2017

The National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) is excited to host its third annual STEM Festival on Thursday, 9 November, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Loads of educational, hands-on activities will challenge children’s abilities in science, technology, engineering, and math. The event is part of the Third Annual Maryland STEM Fest.

Kids ages 10 and older will be building cable, taking control of a mini “satellite,” discovering the secrets of rock formations, “stopping the delivery” of weapons technology, stopping a terrorist attack, and much more. NSA Volunteers running the activities will show participants how the activities relate to jobs or career fields that may interest them for when they grow up.

The hands-on activities planned for the evening are:

  • Radio – How Does It Work? – Learn how the technology that enables cell phones, WiFi, and Bluetooth work at its most basic level.
  • Find the Bad Guy – Demonstration of the use of a forensic kit to prepare an example handset to perform forensic analysis.
  • Space Cyber Challenge – Use a laptop ground station to command a CubeSat, a miniature satellite used for space research.
  • How Many Dinosaurs Are There? – Hunt, capture, and recapture dinosaurs and use statistics to estimate their total population. Then see how statistics are used to help break codes.
  • Building Cable – Build a Category 5 cable with Rj45 connectors and see how it is used to connect to the Internet, printer, transfer files, etc.
  • Microelectronic Devices – See microelectronics are made and used in everything from cell phones and tablets to computers and video games. Solve a resistor maze and answering our quiz to win edible chips and wafers!
  • Unlocking Earth’s Secrets – Learn how satellite imagery gives us a record of the Earth’s surface and how this information can be used to benefit people and business. Look at rocks through the microscope to see which layers formed first.
  • Infinite Loop Handcuffs – Get “handcuffed” to a partner (with yarn) and use math to separate yourselves without removing the yarn.
  • Stop the Attack – Use your math skills to stop a terrorist attack! Do you like codes?
  • Mini Cyber Challenge – Use your cyber skills to help the U.S. interdict a shipment of key weapons technology from reaching a rogue nation.
  • Working with Electromagnets – Build electromagnets and measure their strength.
  • Mathematics of the Enigma – Crack the world famous World War II Enigma! See a demonstration of the mathematics behind the Enigma, basic substitution ciphers, logic puzzles, secret writing, and error correction and detection schemes such as bar codes, ISBN codes, and the Luhn Algorithm.
  • Cryppies’ Cryptogram – Join other Cryppies and solve a cryptogram on big screen!
  • Scavenger Hunt – Discover the science, technology, and math used throughout cryptologic history and win a prize.

More than 300 children participated last year, and the museum hopes to attract at least that many this year. With the addition of an activity presented by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and help from a volunteer from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the NCM is proud that STEM Night is growing in popularity and working with other agencies to educate our future generation in crucial skills.

DIA’s MSIC Featured on ‘60 Minutes’

November 3, 2017

CBS News “60 Minutes” showcased ballistic missile analysis by DIA’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center as part of a 13-minute segment on North Korean missile capabilities, Sunday, Oct. 29.

CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin and a camera crew visited MSIC October 11 to film unclassified interviews with MSIC officers working the North Korean ballistic missile issue. The CBS team also conducted interviews earlier in the month at the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center for input into the segment. CBS merged the filming and interviews at MSIC and NASIC to examine the full breadth of the North Korean ballistic missile threat, from short to long-range systems.

MSIC senior intelligence analyst Marie Cox gave a demonstration of a SCUD B ballistic missile, which was fielded by the Russians in 1961 and is the most widely-proliferated ballistic missile in the world. Cox explained the missile’s construction and operation and noted hardware similarities between the SCUD and what is being tested and deployed in North Korea. Cox also addressed the SCUD’s ability to carry nuclear warheads, how many missiles are thought to be in North Korea’s arsenal, and commented on similar SCUD missiles in service across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

“It is certainly unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and much harder than giving a classified briefing to even to a very senior customer,” Cox said regarding her “60 Minutes” interview. “Knowing my statements would be on the record and used as an authoritative reference in a national news story carries a great deal of responsibility, but is also an enormous privilege. I know my fellow citizens are concerned about North Korea, and need to know someone understands and is tracking the development of this threat.”

The crew also received a demonstration of a SCUD B transporter-erector-launcher (TEL). Senior intelligence analyst Steve Hancock walked CBS through the launch process, and explained how preventing adversary missile launches is a high priority for U.S. air power. He also answered questions on the survivability of the launcher, launch speed of the TEL and how TEL mobility impacts operations to find and destroy them before launch.

“It was fulfilling to be able, in some small way, to let the American people know firsthand that we are working hard within the Defense Intelligence Enterprise to protect them and our country,” Hancock said of his interview.

Highlighting the capabilities of MSIC’s modeling and simulation labs, CBS received a visualization of a notional salvo launch, missiles in flight and computer-aided design modeling examples.

Scott MacDonald, MSIC acting senior defense intelligence analyst for weapons analysis, discussed how modeling and simulation helps understand missile systems and defend against them. MacDonald explained the large amount of science, math and engineering that goes into building these models. He added MSIC works with a variety of intelligence sources to determine capabilities and performance of missile systems.

“It is a challenge to engage the media on the intelligence work we perform on a daily basis,” remarked MacDonald after the interview. “But it is important for the public to understand how we do our job to protect the nation.  I am very honored for the opportunity to show off DIA’s capabilities to the American public.”

In a sit-down interview with MSIC Director Mark Clark, Martin asked about the mission and workforce of DIA and MSIC, and the North Korean ballistic missile threat, focusing on MSIC analysis of North Korean SCUD and No Dong missiles.

Clark explained how the intelligence gathered and analyzed by MSIC and DIA is used to inform leaders and warfighters, assist the Department of Defense in designing, testing, and operating missile defense systems and ultimately protect lives.

“So missile defenders are counting on [MSIC] and [its] data?” asked Martin. “Yes, absolutely,” replied Clark.

Martin also asked Clark what it takes to “know” a missile.

“You must know its physical characteristics, its performance, how it will appear to various sensors, its nuances, and its vulnerabilities,” Clark said. “That’s what it takes to hit a bullet with a bullet.”

DIA Participates in International Affairs Careers Conference

October 30, 2017

Oct. 30, 2017 — Washington, D.C. – DIA officers participated in the International Affairs Careers in the 21st Century conference held by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Oct. 26 in Washington, D.C.

Anand Arun, a senior analyst for the Defense Combating Terrorism Center, and Col. Mark Barlow, a branch chief in the Europe-Eurasia Regional Center, were part of a panel on government international affairs careers and spoke about their experiences working at DIA and in the Intelligence Community. The panel also included representatives from the State Department and U.S. Trade Representative.

The panel moderator began the discussion by asking Barlow to discuss one of his favorite experiences working for the Department of Defense.

“Some of my most rewarding work was in Bulgaria when I was working with their military to improve their effectiveness as a NATO partner,” Barlow said. “It was a big challenge, both from a language and capabilities perspective, but there was a desire among the younger ranks to really modernize their force.”

Arun noted his deployment to Afghanistan and his work with providing threat analysis to American embassies throughout the Middle East as highlights of his career so far, but also the unpredictability that comes with being an intelligence analyst.

“Everyday is different, you don’t necessarily know what to expect when you walk in the door each morning,” Arun said. “You can be familiar with certain regions or groups but there are always surprises, you never get bored.”

Arun also explained DIA’s mission, diverse range of customers from the president to the warfighter and briefly touched on the different civilian career fields available at DIA. Barlow discussed his experiences as a Foreign Area Officer and the different career tracks for FAOs.

When asked what skill is most important for students looking to work in intelligence or national security, Arun and Barlow both emphasized the importance of good writing. “Someone who can write well is very critical for the international affairs field,” Barlow stated.

Arun explained how writing in the Intelligence Community differs from the academic world. “[Intelligence analysis] writing is much shorter than what most recent grads are used to,” Arun said. “It is an important skill to be able to write concisely and pull out the most important facts.”

Barlow also suggested international affairs programs offer classes in project management, strategic planning and negotiation skills as a way to further prepare students for government careers.

The panel ended with a discussion on how students can get hired into the IC and national security positions. Arun and Barlow mentioned DIA hiring efforts and highlighted internship and military reserve/National Guard options for students to get a security clearance and a start in the Intelligence Community.

Partnerships Key to Homeland Security, Says DNI Coats

October 27, 2017

The following are remarks as prepared for delivery by The Honorable Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, at the Homeland Security Week Conference.

Good morning. Thank you, Dr. Brothers for that introduction. And thank you to everyone in the audience today for the work you do to keep our country safe.

We all recognize that our government’s most basic responsibility is to protect its citizens. But we don’t do it alone. We do it in partnership with the private sector, with academia, and with foreign governments. So I’m glad to see you all assembled for this week’s conference.

I want to talk to you this morning about the threats we face, and then offer some ideas about the partnerships we need to protect the homeland. When I retired from the Senate last year, I looked forward to a much less strenuous lifestyle. I envisioned leisurely mornings reading the sports page over a cup of coffee. But it turned out retirement was a fleeting illusion.

And my morning routine as director of National Intelligence is anything but restful. I start the day reading the latest intelligence reports and analysis from around the world. And generally what I read makes me want to reach for something a little stronger than coffee.

By mid-morning, I head down to the White House to discuss these threats with the president in the daily intelligence briefing. In these briefings, (a very small group of us) confronts a complex array of national security challenges:

Global powers like Russia and China challenging the U.S. standing in the world. A provocative and assertive North Korea continuing to advance its weapons of mass destruction program. Instability and uncertainty in warzones across Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

And we frequently discuss many of the topics you are exploring this week, including cyberattacks, terrorist plots, and WMD proliferation.

Our adversaries are capable and potent. They are constantly adapting and adding new tools to their arsenals.

After just a few months in my current position, it has become clear to me that the Intelligence Community cannot tackle these challenges on its own. The threats are too fluid, the technology evolving too rapidly, and the data too immense.

Nor can our counterparts in the military, law enforcement, and private sector succeed in isolation. The multitude and diversity of threats requires that we expand and strengthen our partnerships. In many cases, we know how this collaboration can and should work. I’ll give you a couple examples, related to terrorism and cyber.

First, terrorism. Some of you in the audience may have served on a Joint Terrorism Task Force. This model brings together representatives from the Intelligence Community and federal, state, and local law enforcement. In doing so, we can rapidly share terrorism-related information among the agencies that need it. With more than 180 of these units spread around the country, we have created a warning system that has prevented attacks and saved lives.

And second, consider the growing cyber threat. The private sector holds vast amounts of data with national security and economic implications. Increasingly, we are seeing our adversaries use cyber operations against private companies to access this data. As a government, we need to find ways to share cyber threat information with private industry. In return, we need information from the private sector about the activities they are detecting. Together, we can blend this information to improve cybersecurity in both the government and private sector.

It is my belief that this kind of public-partnership will be essential to keep up with the rapid advancements in technology and the barrage of threats to our national security.

Now, across these two examples of threats and partnerships, the common thread is information sharing, which is absolutely critical to our effort to protect our homeland.

After September 11th, we developed a national-level information-sharing environment to disseminate terrorism-related information.

For instance, our 12 senior FBI agents in major cities around the country serve as my representatives. They convene their Intelligence Community colleagues, and when appropriate, state and local law enforcement and cleared private sector partners. This is a forum to pass along information, discuss threats, and ultimately foster greater collaboration.

We now need to expand this information-sharing mechanism to address the evolving threats to our homeland, like drugs, cyber, and transnational organized crime.

So I urge you to think about how we can strengthen our existing partnerships and build new ones. Think about how the Intelligence Community can support your mission. And think about we can best employ our collective data and wisdom to protect our citizens.

Whether you are at the Department of Homeland Security, a member of law enforcement, in the military, or with private industry … we have mechanisms for collaboration.

And with the threats we face, we can only keep pace through partnership.

Before I conclude my remarks this morning, I would like to take a moment to briefly comment on an issue which is just as critical to our success in preventing attacks on our homeland: Section 702 of the FISA law.

Section 702, which authorizes the government to conduct electronic surveillance on foreign targets operating outside the U.S., in order to acquire foreign intelligence, is a key tool we use in the Intelligence Community to help us thwart foreign adversaries.

The Intelligence Community is working closely with Congress to reauthorize this provision, which – without reauthorization – expires at the end of the year. It is the IC’s top legislative priority, because foreign intel collected through 702 vitally protects this nation against international terrorism, cyber threats, and weapons proliferators to name a few.

But, beyond the intel value, it is worth noting that we have stringent protections and robust oversight to safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. Section 702 is subject to rigorous oversight by all three branches of government, this is more extensive than any other IC authority.

And, over the past two years, we have made thousands of pages of documents publicly available to help assure the American people that we take great care in how we use this authority.

The IC is committed to ensuring that our use of 702 is consistent with the laws and privacy protections in place ... And as a U.S. citizen myself, I have (as we all do) a personal interest in this as well.

I bring up 702 this morning because without it we will lose the intelligence advantage we gained after 9/11 when our community made a purposeful effort to be more integrated.

We will lose our ability to see into terrorism plots against our homeland ... or to warn some of our closest allies that we see plots building on their shores.

As homeland security professionals you should be extremely proud of how far we’ve come in sharing information and building partnerships – but the lesson we are all learning with the reauthorization of 702 is that we cannot afford to simply sit back and admire our progression ... there is more work to be done.

We must work together to thwart our adversaries. And we must work together to help educate the American people that not just their security … but their privacy and civil liberties are of the utmost importance to us all. It can be very difficult to strike the balance between transparency and protecting our sources and methods, or even sharing amongst ourselves ... but I am so impressed and grateful to work alongside such a dedicated group of public servants – who strive every day to do just that.

So, thank you for your contributions to our nation’s security, and I look forward to hearing the ideas that come out of this week’s discussions.

NSA has SWAG: Information Assurance Research Project to Enhance Cybersecurity

October 27, 2017

When it comes to information security, passwords are one of the weakest links in the chain because there are countless ways they can be compromised. The need for so many passwords in our day-to-day lives spurs insecure practices such as writing them down, unwise sharing and using predictable values.

ABC123, anyone?

To make matters more challenging, longer and longer passwords are required to keep pace with technology. Creating and remembering today’s multiple passwords can be difficult enough, leading users to remain logged in when they leave their workstations. Furthermore, it is difficult to recall and enter multiple passwords under the stress of tactical and harsh environments. Combat zones are but one example.

So, how can the government help strengthen the information security chain and prevent potential security risks? Enter NSA.

The National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Research Group is currently working on the “Secure Wearable Authentication Gear” (SWAG) project, which offers a frictionless, wristband-based system to ensure and confirm a user’s identity.

Wearable technology will use cryptography to replace vulnerable passwords with a simple tap, and a proximity monitor will automatically lock the system when the user leaves the vicinity. On the whole, SWAG will position the U.S. Department of Defense to make the most of capabilities inherent in the Internet of Things.

This project reflects the National Security Agency’s ongoing research to advance cybersecurity in mission applications across both the Defense Department and the Intelligence Community.

In the Spotlight: An NSA Employee’s Passion Leads to a STAR Award

October 24, 2017

Inspiring the next generation of cyber warriors to tackle the challenges of tomorrow requires engagement, dedication and passion. NSA Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), sponsored by the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Directorate, exemplify this commitment through various external outreach activities and educational partnerships. ERG efforts encourage the communities they serve to explore opportunities that are not always easily accessible.

NSA technical and communications expert Kevelyn L. Feliciano-Moya is driven by this work. In an effort to expand science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities to Hispanic communities, she introduced the NSA Hispanic/Latino ERG to the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

“The Hispanic/Latino ERG was looking into ways to engage with student organizations,” Kevelyn said, “and that’s when I suggested the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Our main goal was to make SHPE members aware of the opportunities NSA has to offer.”

Leadership development and professional etiquette are objectives of the partnership as well. Kevelyn explained the Hispanic/Latino ERG wanted to help make SHPE members better candidates for employment, not just for NSA, but for the STEM and cyber arenas in general. There is so much talent in student organizations like SHPE, and NSA regularly supports efforts to mentor future leaders, she said. “And joining an organization like SHPE shows these students are motivated to be better and to learn.”It is because of this commitment that SHPE will present NSA with the Government Agency of the Year STAR Award at the 2017 SHPE Conference in Kansas City, Mo., in November.

“In a short amount of time there has been great progress and I think it is directly related to how involved NSA has been, how passionate we have been with our efforts, and our commitment to the relationship with the organization,” Kevelyn said. “We are honored to obtain such a big award.”Being recognized by SHPE is personal for Kevelyn. She joined the organization while matriculating at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. An electrical engineering major, she was first introduced to NSA at a university job fair. Her interactions with NSA recruiters led her to complete a co-op program.

Seventeen years later, Kevelyn is proof that it takes only one suggestion to effect change. “We’ve been able to make a great impact,” she said, “and for them to recognize us is extremely rewarding. I’m very proud.”

The NSA Hispanic/Latino ERG has worked a lot of hours establishing the partnership with organizations like SHPE. ERG members are doing this engagement on the side, in addition to their official NSA duties and responsibilities.

“We do this because we believe in it and we are passionate. We make it just as much a priority as the mission we do,” said Kevelyn.

Educational Partnerships like SHPE’s are also changing the way future STEM and cyber leaders are viewing the agency and government as a whole. Kevelyn explained positive interactions with students at conferences, workshops, and networking events makes NSA stand out.

“It’s the greatest return on investment!” she exclaimed. “Students are seeing the government as more of a possibility. I don’t think government was ever on their radar, so our engagement has helped open up their horizons about different career opportunities.”

“We are purposefully being more visible. It is pretty telling when workshop attendees come up to you saying how much they enjoy your talks and sessions,” she said. “We were just in their shoes and now we are able to show them a different view of what NSA can look like.”

Kevelyn encourages the Intelligence Community (IC) and organizations outside of government to take advantage of what NSA has done. “Take it as an example,” she said, “There is a need to develop networking and engagement opportunities with student organizations like SHPE. It’s a great resource for diversity and recruitment efforts, and for spreading the word that the IC and government as a whole are options.”

For more information on the SHPE STAR Awards, visit https://shpeconference.shpe.org/star/.

Marine Corps Imagery Instructor Recognized at Washington Caps Game

October 21, 2017

A Marine Corps imagery analyst assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in SPRINGFIELD, VA, was honored Oct. 21 during a Washington Capitals’ home game at the Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C.

NGA nominated Staff Sgt. David Yi, and the Capitals selected him as part of the team’s “Salute the Troops” program that honors a service member at each home game during the season.

“Staff Sgt. Yi goes above and beyond his duties. He operates at a higher level and is the embodiment of a stellar military service member,” said NGA’s Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brandee Churchill, who supported Yi’s nomination.

Yi joined the Marine Corps in 2007, and over the past three years taught more than 200 Marines at the Marine Corps Intelligence School’s imagery analysis and geospatial information detachment at NGA. His military experiences – such as Middle East deployments and domestic disaster support – allow him to portray real world scenarios to students, he said.

In 2012, he deployed to help first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency assess the damage from Hurricane Sandy and created landing-zone imagery products for military pilots, he said.

“We pulled imagery from before and after the disaster from (NGA) databases to get a good idea of how much destruction happened and how much support people on the ground needed,” said Yi. “Imagery really gives commanders, planners and those going into the mission the first look on the ground.”

Hurricane Sandy was Yi’s first real experience as a deployed tactical imagery analyst that also hit close to home, he said.

“I grew up on the northeast portion of New Jersey, and the hurricane hit hard in Staten Island, Long Island, Brooklyn and (the) Jersey shore – (where) I spent most of my summers at as a kid,” said Yi. “To know that I was able to help them was very humbling. It was rewarding.”

Yi credits his training and deployment experiences for preparing him to teach imagery analysis, which in turn has made him a better Marine.

“He is always leading from the front and ensures that he is involved with the joint team at NGA,” said Churchill. “When all the senior enlisted advisors of all military branches at NGA saw his nomination we all agreed that he should be recognized.”

The Capitals’ “Salute the Troops” honor is a public recognition of Yi’s dedication to service. He will get seats to a game.

“Teaching is really my chance to give back to the Marine Corps and Intelligence Community, and I’m honored to be nominated,” said Yi.

DIA’s Beyond the Beltway: United States Transportation

October 17, 2017

Travel to Scott AFB, Illinois to learn more about DIA’s support to United States Transportation Command’s mission to provide transportation, sustainment and distribution to the nation’s warfighters around the globe.

This episode focuses on DIA’s presence at U.S. Transportation Command. Find out how operations and intelligence from U.S. and international partners fuse together to provide global situational awareness to support the command’s mission on a daily basis. Learn about how USTRANSCOM connects national resources with joint-force requirements to deliver the right things to the right place at the right time. Hear from the TRANSCOM commander on the command’s top priorities and the importance of DIA’s analysis to ensure the command meets its daily air, sea, and surface global requirements.

DIA’s Beyond the Beltway explores DIA’s presence outside Washington, D.C., and gives a behind-the-scenes look at how this presence in over 140 countries enables the agency’s critical role in national security.

DIA Bids Farewell to Lt. Gen. Stewart, Welcomes 21st Director Lt. Gen. Ashley

October 3, 2017

Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2017 – Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, Jr. assumed directorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency from Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart in a ceremony presided over by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan Oct. 3 at DIA Headquarters.

Shanahan spoke to DIA’s major successes during Stewart’s tenure, including enhancing relationships with foreign partners, focusing on innovation and increased support to combatant commands. He emphasized the importance of the work done daily by DIA officers.

“You and the DIA team have worked tirelessly to provide top-notch defense intelligence to policy makers and the warfighter,” Shanahan said.

Before concluding his remarks, Shanahan presented Stewart with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal for his accomplishments while at DIA.

Leaders from throughout the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, former DIA directors and foreign partners were on hand to welcome Ashley to DIA and thank Stewart as he moves on to his new assignment as deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

Speaking to Stewart’s achievements, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats highlighted the innovation and technology challenges faced by the Intelligence Community and the advancements made by DIA. Coats then presented Stewart with the Director of National Intelligence Gold Medallion award. In his departing remarks, Stewart welcomed Ashley to the DIA family and thanked the DIA workforce for their committed dedication.

“To all of my intelligence officers, thank you for all you do … it is your accomplishments and more that instill me with great pride,” Stewart said. “It is clear to me the depths of your devotion to this country, your commitment to excellence, to your dedication to the oath … you have made DIA an unrelenting force for the security of the United States.”

Before officially handing over directorship to Ashley, Stewart had one last challenge to the workforce. “Never forget why we serve: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Never forget that we serve the citizens of the United States,” Stewart said.

In his first address as the 21st DIA director, Ashley recognized the responsibility he now assumes.

“My task is to ensure that 320 million Americans can pursue their hopes and dreams … it is why I get up in the morning,” Ashley said.

A career intelligence officer, Ashley comes to DIA after serving as the deputy chief of staff of Army military intelligence. He has also served in Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.; Izmir, Turkey; and deployments to Operation Joint Force in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“As the Army [director of intelligence] and in my career as a soldier, I have witnessed first-hand the great work this agency has done,” Ashley said. “I am honored for the opportunity to work together, building on DIA’s legacy.”

As part of his duties as DIA director, Ashley was also given command of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance from Stewart, with Shanahan presiding over the exchange.

2017 Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame Inducts Six Former Leaders, Geospatial Pioneers

October 3, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency inducted the Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame Class of 2017 during a ceremony at the agency’s headquarters in SPRINGFIELD, VA, Oct. 3.

“[The] induction into our Hall of Fame is the absolute pinnacle of achievement and recognition for anyone who’s ever served in a part of the geospatial intelligence enterprise,” said NGA Director Robert Cardillo. “The 65 phenomenal names inscribed in our Hall of Fame before today each represented pioneering spirits and hard work. They persisted and reached the pinnacle of our profession – not for themselves, but for the United States and our allies.”

This year’s inductees are:

David Alspaugh, Ph.D.
David Alspaugh, Ph.D., served as a physical scientist for NGA’s predecessor agencies, the United States Air Force Aeronautical Chart and Information Center and Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, and played a leading supervisory and hands-on role in the development and continuing improvement of the methodology and complex instrumentation used to exploit satellite imagery. He developed the Point Positioning Data Base and assembled the supporting equipment ensemble, the Analytical Point Positioning System, which were used during the Vietnam War and improved future military operations and increased their effectiveness.

Barbara Bond, Ph.D.
Barbara Bond, Ph.D., worked for the U.K. Ministry of Defence and worked closely with international partners, including DMA, on building and strengthening relationships to ensure the success of joint programs and GEOINT support. As the chair of the International Hydrographic Organization’s Antarctic Commission, she led the efforts to bring international agreement to surveying and charting programs around Antarctica during a time when increased tourism led to larger ships navigating the primitively-charted waters.

Nancy Bone
Nancy Bone led the way for women in the Intelligence Community as the director of NGA’s predecessor agency the National Photographic Interpretation Center. She spearheaded the effort to create innovation in information sharing, which led to the first time NPIC analysts, and support personnel could electronically access CIA files, exchange work documents and communicate with colleagues. She also pushed NPIC to increase dissemination of digital products and become a major provider of products and information on classified shared networks, increasing the availability of essential NPIC products for customers worldwide.

Keith Hall
Keith Hall was the 12th director of the National Reconnaissance Office, was appointed as the assistant secretary of the Air Force (Space) and also served as the executive director of Intelligence Community Affairs. Hall, with the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led the study that created the National imagery and Mapping Agency, the effort that consolidated and coordinated all U.S. imagery and cartographic capabilities and resulted in the nation leading the way in geospatial intelligence.

Retired Vice Adm. Robert Murrett
Retired Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, former NGA director, pushed to get more analysts and support staff into theater during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which deployed highly-trained geospatial intelligence analysts to combat zones to support warfighters. Murrett also ensured NGA provided a common operating picture in Haiti following the earthquake, and tracked the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He oversaw the construction of NGA Campus East, which consolidated the agency’s East Coast operations into a central location.

Lloyd Rowland
Lloyd Rowland served as NGA’s deputy director and assisted the director in formulating policies and managing agency activities in order to accomplish the agency’s mission and best serve warfighters, policymakers and first responders who depend on timely, accurate and actionable GEOINT.

NGA honors and inducts Hall of Fame members each year to recognize those who have profoundly affected the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and have made significant and transformative contributions to the GEOINT tradecraft.

Intelligence Matters Podcast Features NCTC Director

September 29, 2017

NCTC Director Nick Rasmussen is featured in this week’s episode of “Intelligence Matters with Michael Morell,” in an interview that gives insight into the progress made against ISIS in the battlefield, why al-Qa’ida is still a priority, primary threats currently facing the Homeland, and how the terror threat has evolved.

The interview gives a behind-the-scenes perspective of the effort to bring bin Laden to justice and clarifies for the public how NCTC fits into our national security.

“NCTC is an information hub, and our task is to provide the clearest possible picture of the terrorism threat that we face as a country, objectively, without bias,” Director Rasmussen said.

“We are a blended organization of permanent employees and officers who are loaned to us from other organizations,” he said. “What that gives us is a tremendous source of strength.”

“That’s what I want the American people to know, that they have the best and brightest people in their government working every day to keep them safe.”

Listen to the podcast on ODNI’s website.

NSA’s 2017 Codebreaker Challenge: Can You Crack the Code?

September 15, 2017

Calling all U.S. undergraduate and graduate students, it’s that time again. On September 15, the National Security Agency will launch the fifth Codebreaker Challenge.

Every day the National Security Agency faces difficult tasks, we solve them with a workforce devoted to the mission of protecting and defending our nation. Do you have what it takes to mastermind solutions for hard-hitting problems? This year’s challenge will give students the opportunity to construct viable solutions for similar, yet fictitious, tasks. The Codebreaker Challenge participant’s mission is to crack our code. Are you game?

This year’s Codebreaker Challenge scenario has a new component, it focuses on NSA assisting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with investigating an intrusion into a critical infrastructure system. To succeed, participants must perform network analysis and forensics to hone in on the intrusion, perform vulnerability analysis to identify how attackers get into the system and reverse engineer the malicious code that was found in the network.

Codebreaker Challenge participants can download and track university progress real-time on the leaderboard website.

Andrew, NSA Codebreaker Challenge program manager, says, “The Codebreaker Challenge is a great way for students to improve their applied computer security skills in a competitive environment. The problems that the participants will solve are designed to closely resemble real world challenges that NSA must overcome on a daily basis to carry out its offensive and defensive missions.”

Register and find out if you have what it takes to win the 2017 Codebreaker Challenge.

NGA Provides Imagery, Analytic Support in Response to Hurricane Irma

September 13, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA– The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is providing geospatial support for areas affected by Hurricane Irma at the request of the United States Agency for International Development, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Government of the Bahamas to aid in response and recovery efforts.

Upon receiving official requests, NGA has made imagery and mapping data publically available, provided evacuation route maps and produced damage assessments for areas in the Caribbean, including the Leeward Islands, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

Additionally, at the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, NGA deployed analysts to Tallahassee, Florida, to assist with domestic recovery efforts.

NGA-produced damage assessments highlight affected and destroyed properties, residential and non-residential, as well as impassable roads and bridges. This analysis assists local and federal emergency response officials in allocating resources for the overall effort.

“The support NGA is providing through its geospatial data analysis is essential to producing the most accurate assessment of damage, quickly,” said Todd Noel, chief of the domestic support and disaster analysis branch at NGA. “From determining and prioritizing areas in need of assistance, to evaluating evacuation routes, the damage assessments provide first responders and residents impacted by Irma the immediate information they need.”

One of NGA’s core mission sets is providing accurate and timely geospatial intelligence to first responders in the wake of natural disasters. NGA supports humanitarian and disaster relief efforts by working directly with the lead federal agencies responding to fires, floods, earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes or other natural or manmade disasters.

NGA products are available through the Hurricane Irma portal.

In the Spotlight: Technical Analyst and Korean Linguist Expert Jisoo Beanland

September 12, 2017

Jisoo Beanland has a unique story. She immigrated to the United States at a young age and learned lessons of strength and resiliency early. Today, with over a decade of service to America working for the National Security Agency, Beanland has accomplished things she never imagined and is sharing her journey as a reminder to never give up.

Initially a Korean Language Analyst, Beanland’s extensive knowledge of the language and culture impacted her career beginnings immensely. Currently serving as a technical analyst, Beanland explains how she contributes to mission success and why she chose to serve at the National Security Agency.

Q: Why did you choose to work for NSA?

A: I graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with a visual arts degree in imaging and digital arts and a concentration in animation. Not surprisingly, I aspired to work for Pixar and Disney while in college. While finishing my degree, September 11th occurred. That event made me think about the serious social, economic and national issues at large. I knew my bilingual capability could make a positive contribution to society. Immediately after my undergraduate tenure I began working as a Korean interpreter for a local hospital. Applying my language ability to help people and directly impact their lives was very rewarding. I thought about what I could do in a bigger environment with my language skills and also more about the impact September 11th had on me. In all, I wanted to do something to give back to the country that provided me with so many opportunities. In 2004, I applied to work for NSA, and the rest is history.

Q: As a Technical Analyst, what do you do?

A: First, I’d like to caveat that I do not consider myself a highly technical person naturally. I have worked very hard to learn and maintain technical tradecrafts. I help define and drive the mission and ensure both technical and analytical requirements are in place for my particular mission focus. It is a SIGINTer’s dream, really. As the sole analyst representing my team, I partner and integrate with other teams to get the job done and that partnership is essential when it comes to staying above the curve.

Q: Can you apply the Imaging and Digital Arts training you received at UMBC to your current position?

A: I find that training more useful than people would think. I used to develop story boards, characterization and details for my animation projects. Today, I apply that same discipline when I approach a new task. Much like an artist, I identify the overall scope of the project (the highlight of the story), details and background related to subjects (character development, scenery, moods/sounds), put them all into context (story board) and release a narrative (the final animated story). It just goes to show you that having a diverse education can really help you succeed in your career. My degree has definitely helped me become a more strategic thinker.

Q: How does your job impact NSA mission?

A: As a multi-disciplined language analyst and digital network analyst, I contribute to an important part of the mission at the agency. When I became an analyst I grew new skillsets because of the scope of my responsibilities and level of contribution. Looking back through the tours and projects in which I did not see immediate gratification, I later found out my contributions did make a noticeable impact. It is not unusual for me to receive positive feedback on reports I worked on years prior. Results may not appear immediately, but I know my work counts towards the mission. I have also been fortunate to work in diverse fields, which allowed me to meet some of the great cryptologic minds on this planet. I continue to learn so much from my peers. The more diverse the skillset, the more exciting the work environment is for me. Thinking about it all, I feel a bit geeky and imagine us as analytic “Avengers” – superheroes trying to protect and defend the nation. We are all different super analysts in some sense. We each have different skills that we bring to the table, but as a team we are strongest and that enables us to meet the challenges that truly make an impact towards NSA mission.

Q: How have your language abilities helped your career and the mission?

A: Being hired initially as a language analyst provided me opportunities I never imagined. I was placed in the Language Analyst Development Program (LADP) for 2.5 years and that experience was priceless. Around 2008, shortly after LADP graduation, I officially became a multi-disciplined language analyst. I fully embraced that position and it helped push me towards technical realms and tradecraft within the agency. I am still using my language abilities today. I am proud to say that language analysis has been and will always be my core skillset, and it is an important foundation which allowed me to grow professionally.

Q: Did your emigration experience impact your career in any way and if so, how?

A: Call it an environmental factor, but I became resilient and independent because of my upbringing. I also became quite good at adapting to changes. When I was growing up, we moved nearly every year and the move to America was obviously major. I went to a different school every year from kindergarten through eighth grade. Once a young immigrant myself, I understand the woes of an immigrant’s life and what it means to achieve the American Dream. I also observed and learned the lessons of my parents’ generation. Working at NSA has helped me achieve many things in life, both personally and professionally. I have been an official interpreter for the former Director and Deputy Director of NSA on several occasions and collaborated on cool projects with incredibly smart people.

I have made mistakes and stalled in some areas, but thanks to my early years of learning to be resilient, I did not give up. I always consider myself to be a work in progress and an analyst who is still eager to expand upon knowledge. When people ask me to mentor them, I am quite bashful because I still feel like a new analyst myself.

DIA Unveils New Innovation Hub

August 24, 2017

Washington, D.C., Aug. 24, 2017 – The Defense Intelligence Agency held a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of its new Innovation Hub (iHUB) Aug. 22 at DIA Headquarters on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

“This is a place where we can bring our challenges and work on them with our industry partners,” DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart said.

DIA’s iHUB virtually links entrepreneurs to the agency in a collaborative environment in which they can evaluate and test technology with potential intelligence benefits. The opening of the new iHub marks a significant milestone in DIA’s innovation mission.

“A year ago, the director charged us with developing the Innovation Hub,” said Al Bolden, chief of DIA’s Innovation Office. “We were challenged to partner with industry to find solutions that aid our decision advantage, and this new facility gives us the ability to do just that.”

Until now, DIA’s iHUB had been operating in a temporary space. The newly created facility is designed to enhance collaboration between DIA officers who have technology needs for specific problem sets and entrepreneurs who have applications that potentially can meet the needs.

Since last fall, DIA has hosted quarterly Industry Day events at the iHub designed to find new capabilities and business processes developed in private sector and academia. The third quarter Industry Days were held in two parts: Aug. 2-3 and Aug. 21-22. The event was split due to an overwhelming response from industry and academic institutions. Future Industry Day events will be announced on DIA’s innovation page and DIA social media platforms.

‘Section 702’ Saves Lives, Protects the Nation and Allies

August 24, 2017

The U.S. Intelligence Community relies on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the constant hunt for information about foreign adversaries determined to harm the nation or our allies. The National Security Agency, for example, uses this law to uncover the identities or plans of terrorists.

In a time of increasing cyber threats, Section 702 also informs the Intelligence Community’s cybersecurity efforts.

This law has played both a unique and decisive role in national defense.

Last year a foreign attack resulted in the deaths of more than 20 people. Who was behind it? Had they also taught others how to carry out such malicious acts? It was NSA’s Section 702 collection that revealed the identities of the overseas terrorists who were responsible.

This collection provided the necessary insights and reporting on the attack that refuted the terrorist organization’s denial of any involvement. Specifically, Section 702 collection provided a direct claim of responsibility from the terror group’s leaders and included a list of terrorists trained for the operation. This was crucial for supporting timely U.S. and coalition force planning and operations against terrorists in the region.

NSA’s contribution to the fight probably hadn’t been factored into the adversaries’ schemes. Without Congressional reauthorization, Section 702 will expire on Dec. 31.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers – Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and NSA Director – has emphasized that this law is an absolutely essential tool to help secure both our nation and allies.

NCTC Deputy Director Talks Data at DoDIIS

August 17, 2017

NCTC Deputy Director John Mulligan spoke before a crowd of about 2,000 defense and intelligence professionals as well as industry partners at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) Worldwide Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Aug. 15. The theme of this year’s event was “Dominating Cyberspace Against Persistent Threats.”

Continuing the conversation from Director Nick Rasmussen’s appearance at the event last year, Mulligan discussed the current terrorism landscape, characterizing the cyber threat as NCTC views it in the center’s CT mission space.

For the most part, terrorists hacking capabilities have been limited, Mulligan said. However, while hacking is not at the top of the NCTC cyber threat list, Mulligan said he is concerned groups like ISIS capitalize on commonly available technologies to amplify their narrative and communicate with followers online.

To address this, he pointed to what NCTC brings to the CT fight: the center’s access to data. Mulligan explained how this access as well as the center’s partnerships position the center and its partners to accomplish the counterterrorism mission.

He also pointed to some the challenges that exist when handling multiple data streams in a variety of formats, highlighting some of the steps NCTC is taking to address the center’s data management needs. This includes embracing the cloud.

DoDIIS Worldwide is hosted annually by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats As-Delivered Remarks at Briefing on Leaks of Classified Materials Threatening National Security

August 4, 2017

Thank you Attorney General Sessions for your leadership and for inviting me to join you here today and working together on the Task Force. We have served together in the U.S. Senate, and now we serve together in the Trump Administration. We stand together today to address an issue which we both strongly believe needs to be addressed using the authorities of our respective agencies.

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of working with the dedicated men and women of the Intelligence Community. I have seen first-hand the work they do, tirelessly and without fanfare, to protect our country. I stand here today as their leader to express our grave concern that unauthorized disclosures of classified material are damaging our mission, and jeopardizing the safety and security of the American public.

In the last several years, the U.S. Intelligence Community has experienced some of the worst compromises of classified information in our nation’s history. These disclosures have been disseminated to both the media and our foreign adversaries. Let me be absolutely clear this morning – these disclosures have resulted in a major threat to our national security.

  • They endanger the men and women of the Intelligence Community, the armed services, and those who serve overseas;
  • They give our adversaries knowledge of our activities;
  • They impede our ability to share information with allies;
  • There is also a real cost – in dollars – to compensate for blown programs;
  • And, most importantly, as I have previously noted, these unauthorized disclosures endanger the safety and security of Americans across this country.

I would like to point out, however, that these national security breaches do not just originate in the Intelligence Community. They come from a wide range of sources within government, including the executive branch and including the Congress.

Now if someone – who has access to classified material – has legitimate concerns, there are multiple ways for them to put forward a complaint.

The IC offers avenues for whistleblowers … and protections for those individuals to report concerns without fear of reprisal. And there are other legal options available outside of those channels, including notifying the congressional intelligence committees, or even their congressional representative or senator in Congress. Having said this, it is important to stress that any disclosure outside of authorized channels is a criminal offense. And we will simply not tolerate the illegal release of classified information.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which is part of my office, is currently carrying out a review of the policies that are in place, guiding IC agencies’ processes for investigating and reporting cases of unauthorized disclosures. In addition, NCSC is studying security clearance procedures to look for any inconsistencies in the processes for issuing security clearances to all IC employees including, government officials, contractors, detailees, etc.

If inconsistencies are found, NCSC will make recommendations to strengthen the security clearance process. And this can be discussed, and will be discussed, after we finish our remarks. We will also continue to ensure the federal workforce is clear on the importance of respecting classifications and is fully aware of whistleblower options. And, we will also work with our counterparts in the executive branch and the Congress to address this issue.

I want to conclude by saying that we are prepared to take all necessary steps to:

  • One, identify individuals who illegally disclose classified information;
  • Secondly, forward information about their deeds to the FBI for full investigation;
  • And we will work closely with DOJ to support prosecution of any person who makes an unauthorized disclosure of classified material;
  • Fourth, and finally, as the Director of National Intelligence, I am also empowered to take administrative action within the IC to deal with individuals who break the law. And let me be clear, I will not hesitate to exercise those authorities.

Anybody who engages in these criminal acts is betraying the Intelligence Community and the American people. We feel the pain of these betrayals intensely and I can assure you that I will do everything in my power as DNI to hold these individuals accountable.

For those who may be listening or watching this announcement, or who will later learn about what has been said this morning… Understand this: If you improperly disclose classified information we will find you, we will investigate you, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, and you will not be happy with the result.

Annual Demographic Report: Hiring and Retention of Minorities, Women and Persons with Disabilities in the United States Intelligence Community Fiscal Year 2016

August 1, 2017

The Annual Demographic Report on Hiring and Retention of Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities in the United States Intelligence Community examines workforce demographics relating to civilian employees in all 17 elements of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

It highlights progress the IC has made in increasing diversity and illustrates the IC’s continued investment in strengthening the talent and diversity of the workforce through innovative and broad-based inclusion initiatives. The October 5, 2016 Presidential Memorandum (PM) titled “Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the National Security Workforce” stated that “We have made important progress toward harnessing the extraordinary range of backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, skills, and experiences…[however] agencies in this workforce are less diverse on average than the rest of the federal government.”

NGA Office of Ventures and Innovation Explained

July 24, 2017

NGA’s Office of Corporate Communications sat down with NGA Director of Plans and Programs Anthony Vinci, Ph.D., discusses the new Office of Ventures and Innovation and how it will help steer NGA towards disruption and technological advancement.

Vinci explained the four-step process to innovation at NGA: incubating, adopting, creating a standard program and decommissioning.


Why does NGA need to innovate?
Vinci: I’d like to step back for a second on the principles of why we are here. Intelligence agencies are here to provide the best information we can to decision-makers. And that decision-maker might be a president who needs to know what to do about the South China Sea; or it could be a soldier who needs to know whether to kick down the front door or the back door. It’s our job to provide the best information – GEOINT – to those decision-makers.

The additional duty, the unsaid duty, is to continuously improve that information that we provide to those decision-makers. We already provide them a really good product, but there should never be a place of stasis. We should always be thinking of ways to improve. That is what innovation is, always coming up with new, better ways to do things.

What is the goal of the Office of Ventures and Innovation?
Vinci: The goal of the Office of Ventures and Innovation is to think about, develop and support that constant process of improvement across NGA.

We’re still standing it up and still figuring out exactly what it will be, but what we initially decided to do is to change the way we think about innovation. It isn’t just an internal thing like organizational change, or just an external thing like acquisition reform. It’s not just a technology thing, and it’s not just a people or a process thing – it’s all of those things combined.

Who will run the Office of Ventures and Innovation?
Vinci: We’ve asked David Bray to join NGA and run this office. David is coming to us from the FCC, where he is the chief information officer, leading FCC’s IT Transformation since 2013. David has a history of being a change agent, bringing change to the government. He combines that with a long history of working in government and understanding its needs and the processes and how to make real change.

How do you see the role of the Office of Ventures and Innovation changing over time?
Vinci: In many ways this office is practicing what we preach, it’s a new office – an innovation in itself. We’re going to test it and try it out, and go through a process and iterate to develop it the best we can, so you’re going to see it evolve. It may not be as standardized and stable as some people are accustomed to in an NGA office. The agency itself is changing and the needs of the office will change, and so we’ll have to adapt.


Do you feel resistance to change from the NGA workforce?
Vinci: This is a really important one to me – just because it’s a new idea doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. It’s not just about innovation for innovation’s sake. Sometimes innovations just don’t work, and the people doing it the old way are right.

I think there’s a perception of an ‘us vs. them’ scenario. There are some people who want to change and some people who want to keep doing things the old way. Really, I think both sides want to do the right thing. We’re all trying to accomplish the mission, and I really believe that.

My goal and the Office of Ventures and Innovation’s goal is to figure out what change is net good and make that happen.

Creating a standard program

If the first steps are finding new technologies and capabilities and adopting new ways of doing business, what’s the next step, the ultimate goal?
Vinci: The eventual goal is to become a standard operating procedure; to become a program.

How do we get from A to B? If it’s a piece of technology, how does it become something that’s used first in NGA and eventually by the entire NSG? What is that path? What is that process to get there? That’s what the Office of Ventures and Innovation is going to help figure out.

I see a valley of death between the incubation stage and that program stage, where it becomes a standard tool – whether it’s a technology tool or work flow. This isn’t just an issue at NGA, it’s an issue with any large organization. It can be difficult to get from that idea stage to that program or standard tool stage. This is a really hard challenge for us because it is not just a technology issue, it’s a people issue, and a process issue all together. I think this is an area the Office of Ventures and Innovation can help with.

There are a lot of pieces that need to be coordinated. This office is meant to figure out how to adopt new technologies and new processes that help support our mission, and it’s doing that by providing the pathway and the process for which these new innovations can be incubated and adopted and made standard.


What’s success look like? Creating a standard program and process for implementing new tech?
Vinci: We’ve gone through three steps; incubating, adopting, and then creating a standard program. The last piece of the innovation process is decommissioning.

If you come up with a new piece of technology, a new process or a new work flow, it’s to replace some old process or work flow. Decommissioning, in many ways, is the most difficult thing to do because we don’t always have control over the situation. Often times it’s our customers who are using these specific programs or technologies.

We have to be very strategic and very understanding when decommissioning. We have to understand what our customers want, and we have to work really closely with all the relevant NGA offices so we’re understanding as an agency what our customers’ expectations are, what their needs are, and to plan ahead as far as possible.

In some cases it might mean planning years ahead for decommissioning a legacy piece of technology that’s in use. Sometimes a piece of technology might not be updated consistently, it might be updated every five years, so you really have to plan ahead.

What do you want readers to remember from this interview?
Vinci: It’s not innovation for innovation’s sake. It’s innovation as a means to support mission, as a means to help improve what we do, what products we make and how we make them.

It’s not just about technology, it’s about people and it’s about processes and it’s about work flows.

It’s really important to take away that the innovation itself – the ideas – will happen throughout our agency. The Office of Ventures and Innovation is there to help support and coordinate that innovation.

Coding Their Way to Success!

July 21, 2017

While “java coding” has nothing to do with coffee, liking “java” in Puerto Rico has a lot to do with career opportunities and success.

This summer, Oscar Morales Gonzalez, NSA Texas Associate Language Authority, visited the GenCyber Camp at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. GenCyber camps are jointly funded by NSA and the National Science Foundation, and this camp used course materials developed through Department of Homeland Security grants.

Along with a GenCyber contractor, Morales met with the Graduate School Dean and GenCyber Program Director Dr. Miriam Pabon and the founder and Director of the Center for Information Assurance for Research and Education Dr. Alfredo Cruz. They exchanged views on cyber education topics at major universities and colleges in Puerto Rico and Morales received a full overview of this year’s GenCyber camp activities from the program coordinators.

This was the third “For Girls” iteration of the GenCyber Camp at the Polytechnic University. Thirty young women, ages 12 to 14, participated in this year’s event. The goal of the program, as presented by the dean, was to provide a cybersecurity experience with the intent of fostering the next generation of cyber experts. The positive passion and commitment of the dean was evident throughout the day. The dean’s approach was simple yet profound: “We want to change lives by providing the guidance and mentoring that many of these young women won’t receive at home.”

A prominent cyber-forensics professional gave a presentation about online security and captivated the young minds with true and easy-to-understand stories of situations involving fake internet personas. The campers also attended a class about the basics of cryptography, led by a graduate student. Despite the technical jargon, the relevant content and challenging exercises fascinated the participants.

Although Puerto Rican millennials have “adopted” English as their primary language, a phenomenon that was evident throughout the campus, Morales addressed the young women in Spanish. He talked about the importance of “languages,” be they human or the computer kind. Morales praised the campers and the staff for their efforts and encouraged the young women to pursue their dreams.

“It was inspiring to see diversity and inclusion in such a powerful way as these budding cyber professionals learned to code their way to success,” he said.

IARPA Announces Functional Map of the World Challenge to Develop Automated Analysis of Satellite Imagery

July 18, 2017

WASHINGTON – The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announces the launch of the functional Map of the World – “fMoW” – Challenge. The challenge invites solvers from around the world to develop machine learning algorithms and other automated techniques that accurately detect and categorize classify points of interest from satellite imagery.

The goal of the fMoW Challenge is to promote and benchmark research in object recognition and categorization from satellite imagery for automated identification of facility, building, and land use. A satellite imagery dataset collected commercially with one million points of interest annotated will be provided for researchers and entrepreneurs, enabling them to better their methods for understanding satellite imagery through novel learning frameworks and multi-modal fusion techniques.

“Although deep learning has been making a really big impact in many areas including image processing, it has not been applied to the satellite imagery domain extensively,” said Dr. HakJae Kim, IARPA Program Manager. “Going into the challenge, these will be the largest functionally annotated databases of satellite imagery made available to the public, and we are excited to see what outcomes will be revealed.”

IARPA invites experts from across academia, industry, and developer communities – with or without experience in satellite image analysis – to participate in a convenient, efficient, and non-contractual way. IARPA will provide solvers with a predetermined point-of-interest category library and image sets containing numerous unidentified points as training data. Participants will be asked to generate an algorithm to detect and categorize building and land use in the provided images.

Participants will generate algorithms to detect and categorize facility, building, and land use in the provided satellite images. Throughout the challenge, an online leaderboard will display solvers’ rankings and accomplishments, giving them various opportunities to have their work viewed and appreciated by stakeholders from industry, government, and academic communities. Solvers who are eligible to win a prize and with the most accurate and complete solutions will be eligible to win cash prizes from a total prize purse of $100,000.

To learn more about the functional Map of the World Challenge, including rules, criteria and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.iarpa.gov/challenges/fmow.html. To become a Solver, register today at crowdsourcing.topcoder.com/fmow. For updates and hints, follow @IARPAnews on Twitter and join the conversation using #IARPAfMoW. For questions, contact us at functionalmap@iarpa.gov.

NSA Recognizes Future Cyber Experts and Mathematicians at Intel ISEF 2017

July 14, 2017

The National Security Agency Research Directorate (RD) recently awarded rising science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) stars for their projects in cyber security and mathematics research at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles, CA. ISEF brings together thousands of students from around the world to showcase their innovative ideas to the STEM community.

Rucha Joshi, from Westwood High School in Austin, Texas, took home the 1st place Science of Security award for her project, titled “Power-efficient, Delay and Spatial Error Tolerant, Dynamic 3D Network Analysis.” Joshi designed and coded an algorithm to determine optimal low-power communication solutions in evolving networks.

Shobhita Sundaram, from Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Conn., received the 1st place Mathematics award for her project, titled “Detection of Premalignant Pancreatic Cancer via Computational Analysis of Serum Proteomic Profiles.” Sundaram built a model that helps identify significant pancreatic cancer biomarker proteins quickly, enabling earlier diagnosis.

Other awardees include: Holly Jackson of San Jose, Calif., (2nd place in Science of Security); Mihir Patel and Nikhil Sardana of Alexandria, Va., (2nd place in Science of Security); Nicky Wojtania of Plano, Texas (Honorable Mention in Science of Security); Mary Lorio of Baton Rouge, La., (Honorable Mention in Science of Security); Michael Litt of Pepper Pike, Ohio, (Honorable Mention in Science of Security); Carson Cato of Hot Springs, Ariz., (Honorable Mention in Mathematics); and Tassilo Schwarz of Germany (Honorable Mention in Mathematics).

This was the first year RD recognized outstanding projects in mathematics. Adam Tagert, Science of Security Technical Lead, explained, “These awards we hope inspire the greater science community to think about cyber security in their work and advancing cyber security in their projects.”

NSA RD awarded a total of $6,000 to ISEF participants this year.

The cyber domain is constantly evolving. Therefore, it is imperative for current STEM professionals to seek future talent. NSA RD is committed to this search.

The Research Directorate’s Science of Security initiative is dedicated to developing a scientific discipline focused on cyber security. The Research Directorate uses ISEF to spark student interest in research protecting, “cyberspace interactions in an increasingly interconnected world.”

At Intel ISEF 2017, members of RD engaged with students, parents, and other STEM enthusiasts, to educate participants on the career opportunities that exist within the agency and the cyber security profession as a whole.

“We look to grow a community of researchers doing scientifically backed research and support rigorous security research measures,” says Tagert. “We advance these two goals with our participation at ISEF.”

For more information on the initiative visit the, Science of Security and Privacy website.

Defense Intelligence Agency Releases Russia Military Power Assessment

June 28, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 28, 2017 – The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) today released “Russia Military Power,” a report that examines the core capabilities of the resurgent Russian military. It is the first in a series of unclassified military power assessments on major threats facing the United States.

The series of reports are designed to help the public achieve a deeper understanding of key threats to U.S. National Security and will focus on DIA’s five “no fail” missions, which also includes China, North Korea, Iran and transnational terrorism.

“These products are intended to foster a dialogue between U.S. leaders, the national security community, partner nations, and the public about the challenges we face in the 21st century,” said Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, DIA director.

The resurgence of Russia on the world stage – seizing the Crimean Peninsula, destabilizing eastern Ukraine, intervening in Syria, and shaping the information environment to suit its interests – poses a major challenge to the United States and its allies and led to the development of these “military power” publications.

“Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge. The United States needs to anticipate, rather than react, to Russian actions and pursue a greater awareness of Russian goals and capabilities to prevent potential conflicts,” said Stewart.

DIA has a long history of producing comprehensive and authoritative defense intelligence overviews. The first unclassified Soviet Military Power assessment was published in 1981 and was translated into eight languages and distributed around the world as an annual report in the 80’s, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The 2017 military power report series includes analysis of foreign national security strategies, military doctrines, force structures, and core military capabilities, including nuclear forces, biological and chemical weapons, underground facilities, space/counter space and cyber operations.

The China assessment, the next in the series planned for release, will offer insights into the modernization of Chinese military power and its engagement in military diplomacy across the globe.

DIA Leaders Discuss Innovation, Leadership at Senior Military Intelligence Conferences

June 26, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2017 – The Defense Intelligence Agency hosted a series of senior military intelligence conferences June 21-23 at DIA Headquarters on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

The annual conferences gathered senior civilian, military officer and enlisted leaders throughout the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. The theme of this year’s conference was “Intelligence support in an era of persistent threats.”  

The purpose of the conference was to look beyond DIA’s current no-fail mission areas (Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and extremist organizations) to other possible threats and conflict areas. More than a dozen topics from around the defense intelligence enterprise were addressed during the conference. However, a central challenge throughout the majority of conversations was the growing amount of data the Intelligence Community is faced with and how to handle it.

“We are collecting more data than we can effectively process,” said Lt. Gen Vincent Stewart, DIA Director. “What we process, we struggle to make sense of, and what we understand, we can’t effectively disseminate across a global enterprise to ensure it helps drive critical decision making.”

To address the issues of data processing of which Lt. Gen. Stewart spoke, DIA’s Innovation office will hold Industry Days in August where private companies can pitch their ideas on artificial intelligence, augmented reality and Virtual reality to DIA leaders.

DIA’s Command Senior Enlisted Leader Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker hosted fellow senior enlisted leaders and advisors from all military services and the U.S. Coast Guard during the Senior Enlisted portion of the intelligence conferences. Stalker addressed the full range of current and “over-the-horizon” threats that will continue to challenge the Intelligence Community and its leaders. In addition to discussing emerging threats, the conference also addressed the key role senior enlisted service members play within the intelligence community.

“… You have a critically important role to play in preparing your organizations to deal with this world,” said Stewart. “You must have moral courage. Moral courage to tell your boss when he or she is wrong.”

NSA Technology Transfer Program Releases Latest NSA Patent Portfolio

June 26, 2017

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Technology Transfer Program announces an updated portfolio of NSA patents available for licensing.

From digital camera fingerprinting to streamlined synchronization of communication devices, the patent portfolio represents NSA’s premier innovations available for use in the private sector. The NSA TTP team creates these partnerships between the agency and industry, ensuring that NSA’s investment in mission research finds additional uses that benefit the U.S. economy.

The NSA patent portfolio is easily searchable and available online at www.nsa.gov/techtransfer under NSA Technologies Available to License. It features color coded categories, indexing, and keyword cross-referencing for ease of use in both electronic and manual formats.

The NSA Technology Transfer Program, located within the Research Directorate, operates under a federal mandate to move agency technology out of the lab and into the commercial marketplace. Successful transfer and commercialization of NSA technologies:

  • Gives traction to the federal government’s annual commitment to research and development, now totaling over $145 billion;
  • Accelerates NSA mission solutions;
  • Creates new companies, new jobs, and new revenue; and
  • Strengthens the economy, which in turn, strengthens national security.

The new portfolio helps the NSA TTP team continue to create partnerships and ignite innovation to advance NSA’s mission and to create positive economic impacts.

DIA Hosted 6th Annual Pride Month Event

June 21, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 21, 2017 – Chief of Staff Suzanne White and Command Senior Enlisted Leader MGySgt Scott Stalker hosted the Defense Intelligence Agency’s 6th annual Pride Month event June 19 at DIA headquarters.

White kicked off the event with the first-ever focus on challenges unique to deployed transgender officers. Before introducing the event’s keynote speaker, Laila Ireland, White remarked, “We exist to support our warfighters and defense policymakers in everything they do, be it in peace or in conflict. We aim to employ a workforce that is diverse and more than representative of the society we serve, and ensure that workforce feels valued every single day for all they bring to the mission – but here, admittedly, we still have work to do.”

Ireland, a retired Army veteran and transwoman, discussed her remarkable experience as a transwoman in the military and as a transgender woman with a deployed trans spouse. She emphasized the importance of persistently using our collective voice to facilitate meaningful, lasting change.

“We’ve come such a long way from exclusion to a time period of inclusivity,” said Ireland. “We want to pave the way so younger generations can live in a world where they are free to be who they are and can serve confidently.”

MGySgt Stalker moderated a paneled discussion for the second half of the event. Four LGBT officers discussed the challenges, benefits, and resources available when LGBT officers choose the rewarding experience of deploying.

The event’s coordinator and panel speaker, DIA Expeditionary Readiness Center Chief Stephen Schreiner, said, “We encourage all employees to take advantage of deploying and to do so with the confidence that you’ll be taken care of like anyone else.” He added, “There are a number of resources for deployed employees, including family support nights that provide support for families of all stripes.”

NSA Recognizes 29th Annual Law Day

June 21, 2017

Every year the National Security Agency Office of General Counsel honors the men and women who work to ensure the rule of law is upheld throughout the NSA Enterprise. The 29th Annual Law Day Award Luncheon hosted Intelligence Community partners, past and present, and Sen. Thomas Cotton of Arkansas addressed the NSA workforce and invited guests from the IC.

Cotton emphasized the importance of preparedness, integrity, justice, and adherence to the rule of law.

He challenged a room full of IC lawyers to think strategically and question conventional wisdom, “especially when that wisdom is comfortable and easy.” He quoted theologians, professors, and world leaders, insisting that our nation’s leaders must be prepared for all events during peacetime and wartime. It falls to us and our government, whether elected or career officials, to understand the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”

Cotton also encouraged the audience to assure “your fellow citizens that your agencies conduct their missions in accordance with the law.”

“I have this obligation as a senator, you all have this obligation as intelligence officers,” he said.

He went on to explain some specific challenges that will be faced this year, “whether it is adequately funding our military and intelligence agencies,” or, “reauthorizing section 702.”

The work NSA does is not easy. But the NSA mission, “helps us understand the threats we face as a nation,” which is essential said Cotton.

In order for this work to continue, the rule of law must be adhered to.

Cotton said U.S. citizens are counting on their elected and career officials to act accordingly while protecting and defending the nation. “It’s the most fundamental reason they hire us in the first place.”

NSA also welcomed the former Office of the Director of National Intelligence General Counsel, Robert Litt, to the event. He was awarded the 2017 Intelligence Under the Law award for his exemplary service.

Upon receiving the award, Litt insisted that the rule of law resides, “at the core of America’s identity.” It is because of this principle that he was proud to serve alongside his IC partners.

He added, “It was always clear to me that regardless of the troubles and criticism that NSA faced, this Agency remained fundamentally committed to operating within the law.” Litt also reassured the workforce that he knows how committed NSA is to upholding this principle. “I don’t think most of the world appreciates how deeply the rule of law is part of the culture here.”

NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell shared how he is, “in awe of the extraordinary sense of mission and zeal for protecting our country that is displayed by really everyone in the agency.”

“I have been especially pleased to see the level of commitment and dedication along with professional excellence daily evident among the attorneys in our own Office of General Counsel,” Gerstell said.

At NSA, Law Day is a reflection, “of how important the law is to what the National Security Agency does every day,” said NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.

“The strength of us as an organization not only is the capabilities of the motivated men and women who generate insights and knowledge that help ensure the security of this nation as well as our friends and allies, but the fact that that insight is always generated within a legal framework, and that we are totally committed to adhering to that legal framework. It goes to our very ethos, it goes to our very culture,” said Admiral Rogers.

DIA Senior Leaders Provide Career Advice at African-American Intel Summit

June 16, 2017

Defense Intelligence Agency Special Advisor for Innovation Robert Dixon, Principal Deputy Director for Analysis Johnny Sawyer, and Chief Information Officer Janice Glover-Jones gave career advice at the fourth annual African-American National Security and Intelligence Summit June 3 in Alexandria, Va.

The forum brought together more than 100 African-American intelligence professionals and senior leaders to discuss how to support, promote and advance competitiveness within senior levels of the national security enterprise and intelligence community.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has stated about 11 percent of the federal workforce are African-Americans; however, in the Intelligence Community that number drops to about three to four percent. The goal of the summit was to help inform career strategies and improve competitiveness for advancement in the intelligence community.

Intelligence professionals collect, analyze, and disseminate timely and relevant intelligence and provide context for the president, senior policy leaders and – specific to DIA – the warfighter. For this reason, the Intelligence Community must leverage diversity to ensure the most highly-skilled and critically-thinking workforce is able to meet the full range of modern and dynamic intelligence challenges.

OPM has identified five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) which are required for entry into the Senior Executive Service and are used by many departments and agencies in selection for management and executive positions; these include performance management and leadership development abilities. The Intelligence Community recently added a sixth ECQ entitled Leading in the Intelligence Enterprise, focusing on the skills needed to increase collaboration and integration across the community and integrate the work one agency is doing with the work of other agencies.

In a seminar entitled “Inspirational Leadership – ECQ,” Dixon focused on the importance of results driven ECQs. He explained the key question that must be answered when writing the ECQs is “so what?” He advised the group that in their answers they must be able to detail and express what they have accomplished, the impact it has had on the organization, and how critical it was to the mission. Further, he explained the answers should never be just a regurgitation of a job description, rather how the results of their work had impact across the organization internally and externally.

In a seminar entitled “Workplace Executive Presence,” Sawyer discussed the process of competing for higher positions in the intelligence community. He pointed out that African-Americans and women tend to deselect themselves out of positions for which they are qualified. 

He stated if the application requires five or six core competencies and the African-American or the woman potential applicant has three or even four, they usually do not apply; however, a Caucasian applicant who has fewer core competencies often focuses on those he has and how he can get to the others. He stressed that it is essential to take an approach of applying even if a person is missing one or two core competencies.

Sawyer pointed out that there will always be people who do not agree with you and may stand in your way, advising the audience to go around them rather than go through them. Finally, Sawyer passed along some sound advice from his father, “Always walk with purpose and look like you always have somewhere to be – because you are always being watched.”

FBI Hosts Sixth Annual “IC Pride” Summit Keynote Speakers from IC, Congress and Human Rights Campaign

June 15, 2017

LGBTA – A for Allies – officers from across the Intelligence Community today gathered at FBI Headquarters for the Sixth Annual “IC Pride” Summit. Notably, this year’s event included speakers from outside the IC: Congressman André Carson and Nicole Cozier, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Human Rights Campaign. Additionally, Deputy Director of National Intelligence Dawn Eilenberger, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Office of Naval Intelligence Commander Rear Admiral Robert Sharp provided keynote remarks.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe welcomed the assembly of IC members in Bonaparte Auditorium. This year’s Summit focused on amplifying the voices of LGBTA people of color and people with disabilities to encourage employees from all walks of life to promote diversity and achieve mission success.

“The bedrock of the Intelligence Community is our credibility. To maintain that credibility, we must understand and reflect the people we protect, across the full spectrum of diversity that is the strength of this country,” said Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. “We all need to be allies, to walk in each other’s shoes, to try to understand what it’s like, for example, to be gay, a person of color, or transgender or all of these at the same time.”

Congressman Andre Carson – a long-time advocate for the LGBT community – said, “No one should ever be discriminated against or denied services based on who they are or who they love.” Nicole Cozier, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Human Rights Campaign, shared her wealth of knowledge from her career, which has mostly focused on gender equity.

Deputy DNI Dawn Eilenberger addressed the assembly and shared her reflections on LGBT equality, in addition to words from DNI Coats, whose schedule precluded his attendance. Reflecting on the Summit, DNI Coats said: “Since my confirmation as DNI, I have been impressed with spirit of service that permeates the IC. As I get to know more IC officers, I am struck by the wide variety of backgrounds that enrich our workforce. Because the IC’s mission is to protect our country by understanding the complexities of the world, I would argue that we need the widest pool of talent – including the officers we are celebrating here today.

“You may have heard that I referred to the position of DNI as akin to the head coach of a football team, with each agency director playing the role of a coach with unique expertise. But the buck stops with me for the whole team, and you have my word that I will do everything to empower each of you, including defending the law of the land and anyone who feels any discrimination. I’m sorry I could not be here today, and I am proud to lead our team.”

After the keynote speakers, break-out sessions met – in-person and via video teleconferences from posts around the globe – to discuss:

  • Law Enforcement and the Transgender Community
  • Religion and LGBT Issues in the Workplace
  • In-Between: Deconstructing the Binary and Ditching the Identity Hierarchy
  • Intersectionality Working Group Inaugural Meeting

DIA Historian Discusses Military Intelligence on Spy Museum’s ‘SpyCast’

June 14, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 14, 2017 – Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Historian Greg Elder was interviewed by Dr. Vince Houghton of the International Spy Museum for an episode of their acclaimed SpyCast. The episode was released June 13.

SpyCast is a weekly podcast “with ex-spies, intelligence experts and espionage scholars” that discusses the history and stories of the Intelligence Community. The DIA/Spy Museum collaboration addressed a range of issues to include DIA’s origin and role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, POW/MIA rescue missions, medical intelligence, and even the “Top Gun” movie.

The podcast begins with DIA’s origin, with Elder recalling the rocky start to the Agency in 1961 in the midst of intelligence controversies lingering from the 1950’s. As the 60’s began, the missile gap with the USSR was at the forefront of military and political discourse. When Secretary of Defense McNamara reviewed current missile inventory estimates and found no consensus, he was convinced that DoD needed a single objective source for strategic defense analysis – hence the formation of DIA. Despite the support of McNamara, DIA’s establishment faced considerable hurdles, including battles with the services over resources and the confirmation of a director with decades of experience in the FBI rather than service in the military. Ultimately, DIA’s exceptional performance in the Cuban Missile Crisis helped demonstrate the utility in a unified intelligence voice in DoD.

DIA played an instrumental role throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis, from tracking Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missiles to using aircraft, satellites and HUMINT in new and innovative ways. These intelligence gathering tactics led to the quarantine of Cuba and ultimate resolution of the crisis. At its conclusion, DIA was asked to present a nationally televised intelligence briefing – the first of its kind in history – to the American public.

Houghton and Elder also discussed DIA’s role in the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) mission, with DIA taking over as lead as mission manager for intelligence after escalation of the Vietnam crisis. The podcast includes a detailed description of a special operations raid, known as Operation KING PIN, which provided the proof of concept for numerous successful rescue operations over the last 50 years.

The podcast also touched on DIA’s roles in the making of the movie “Top Gun,” air-to-air combat training with MiG aircraft, and DIA’s medical intelligence role and support of humanitarian missions through the National Center for Medical Intelligence.

DIA and the Spy Museum plan to continue collaboration is a series of podcasts on military and Defense Intelligence.

Armed Forces and National Police Celebration Brings Record Crowd to Museum

June 12, 2017

More than 1,500 visitors came to the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) last month to celebrate our Armed Forces and Police men and women. Children and adults enjoyed more than 30 attractions including games, hands-on crafts and cryptologic challenges.

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team was a new attraction this year. Five sailors awed the crowd with a spectacular demonstration of skill and precision with M1903 Springfield rifles.

The World War II 4th Infantry Division Military Police Platoon was another new attraction this year. This reenactment group of the Military Vehicles Preservation Association brought several WWII vintage vehicles for visitors to climb into and inspect, weapons displays, and even a mock-up post office. At the request of one of the 4th ID reenactors, NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers happily climbed in front of the steering wheel of one of the jeeps for a photo op: a four-star Navy admiral sitting in an Army jeep doesn’t happen every day.

Two members of the 200th Military Police Command, U.S. Army Reserve, brought a Humvee, tons of giveaways, and loads of information to tell people about what they do as military police and members of the Army Reserve. It gave people more appreciation for what these citizen warriors do for our nation.

Of course, they weren’t the only military participants. Several members of the 700th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, U.S. Air Force, and Navy Information Operations Command Maryland came to greet visitors and share their stories of why they serve our nation in uniform and do the jobs they do.

The celebration would not have been a success without the participation of the NSA Police (NSAP). This year was their biggest participation to date. From the Bike Patrol Unit to the Mobile Command Center, Emergency Response Team with weapons display and pull-up bar, Weapons of Mass Destruction vehicle, recruiting, a display with sobriety goggles, and the K-9 unit, the NSAP clearly had the largest footprint at the event. They allowed kids to crawl inside a modern police cruiser and blare the sirens and lights to get the feel of what it’s like to respond to an emergency call. Grown-ups compared this vehicle to the 1977 Plymouth and 1989 Chevrolet Maryland State Police Cruisers on display: the evolution of police cars has come a long way!

Other new displays and exhibits included the Defense Media Activity, who brought their satellite truck so visitors could ham it up on camera or pretend they were news reporters. The SHAPE Fitness Center, NSA Waste and Recycling, and Cyclist Advocacy Network educated people about their organizations and services they provide to NSAers and the community.

Speaking of ham, the Ham Radio returned for the third year. People saw what it’s like to set up and talk on ham radio. They also learned a little about the history of ham radio and the role it played in the past.

As the NCM increases its visibility in the community, a key goal is to increase the community’s involvement in the event. A baseball corn hole game by the Y of Central Maryland, an information booth run by the Military Cyber Professionals Association, and performance by the Civil Air Patrol Col. Mary S. Feik Squadron, contributed to this goal along with the presence of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Central Maryland, Corsairs who participate every year by running a table, setting up and tearing down tables, chairs, and signs, and directing traffic flow.

And no event like this would be complete without food. The First Class Petty Officer Association provided hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and drinks, while the Optimist Club of Freedom District provided SNO cones. Kids earned free SNO Cones for visiting 20 of the activities and earning a star on their “Seek the Stars” sheet.

As NSA’s principal gateway to the public, the NCM works every day to be a more visible member of the Ft. Meade and surrounding community in its efforts to educate all who walk through its physical or virtual doors about the history of cryptology and the agency. Events like the Armed Forces & National Police Celebration help bring people together to have fun and learn something about our history.

More photos of the day’s event can be viewed on the National Cryptologic Museum Facebook page.

DIA Director Discusses Innovation at GEOINT 2017

June 9, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 9, 2017 – Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart discussed DIA, innovation and the future of intelligence at the 2017 GEOINT Conference June 7 in San Antonio, Tx.

Stewart began his address praising the work of DIA officers around the world. “Who is DIA?” he asked. “We are analysts, scientists, collectors, soldiers, accountants, programmers and more. Our men and women are the best and brightest, which is good because our mission requires no less. We are a global agency of 16,500 who provide intelligence on foreign militaries and operating environments ... to prevent and decisively win wars.”

From there Stewart talked about the speed of change in the digital world and how it’s affecting the Intelligence Community as a whole.

“We are collecting more data today that we can effectively consume. There is simply so much information that we struggle to make sense of it. What we are able to collect, we can’t process. And what we can process, we can’t effectively disseminate across a global enterprise to ensure it gets to the decision-maker who needs it most. We aren’t just struggling to keep up; we are actively resistant to changing the way we do business in the Intelligence Community. And history shows us that those who fail to adapt to change are often left behind,” he said.

He also compared the way intelligence was analyzed before and after the digital age. “When I was a young man, we analyzed information based on 50 to 100 documents received through old school technical or human collection. Is that effectively still how we are collecting and analyzing information? Sometimes, I’m afraid the answer is yes. The old days – the old analytic processes when we have 50, 100, 200 documents – we’d work our way through that; we’d try to make sense of it. How do we design tools and techniques to sort through this new information environment? How do we render the data we do collect? How do humans interact with that data? How do we design an architecture that can deliver that data instantly, globally, and securely?”

Finally, Stewart asked industry partners to become just as innovative as DIA, “Doing this effectively will require the ingenuity and commitment all of us; all of us including industry partners. And we need these solutions sooner rather than later, because we are faced with a rapidly change security environment.” The talk was broadcast live on DIA’s Facebook page.

DIA Hosts Senior Enlisted Intelligence Seminar

June 6, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 6, 2017 – Nearly 70 senior enlisted leaders from all services met at the Defense Intelligence Agency May 12 to discuss policy and current events at a classified world-wide threat seminar.

The leadership summit provided briefings of DIA’s five no-fail mission areas, as well as overviews of the roles and capabilities of the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and DoD integration with Five Eyes Partners across the world.

The seminar was opened by Command Sergeant Major John W. Troxell, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who provided a senior perspective from Pentagon and highlighted the importance of intelligence to the DoD and joint mission.

Led by DIA Senior Enlisted Leader Master Gunnery Sergeant Scott Stalker, the summit provided valuable collaboration opportunities across the spectrum of armed services, special operations leaders, Coast Guard, combatant commands and intelligence specialty areas.

Highlights of the threat briefs included classified intelligence on China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and trans-national terrorism as well as an overview of DoD intelligence. “The difference between us and the CIA is our customer,” said Stalker. “We support policy makers such as the president, Congress and SECDEF … but just as importantly we support the COCOMs and warfighters on the ground.”

The summit emphasized the global role of the intelligence profession. “This building is not DIA. DIA is in 140 countries across the globe, with half our workforce outside Washington D.C,” said Stalker. That point was reinforced by the Defense Attaché service, which includes the largest cadre of enlisted members at DIA and provides military personnel to embassies around the world.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an E-6 or an O-5, a case officer is a case officer,” said one briefer.  You’ll be working with ambassadors, 4-star generals, private corporations. You’ll come back a better person.” That breadth of experience pays off for enlisted personnel. “We see our enlisted promotion rate usually above the average, particularly at senior levels,” said another briefer.

The summit discussed a number of inter-agency initiatives, including presentations by NSA/Cybercom and NGA. NSA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sergeant Major David Redmond said, “Cyber is an integral part of every aspect of war … I spend my time reinforcing defense. It shouldn’t be cyber just for cyber’s sake.” Among his challenges Redmond said, “We’re not a domestic collection agency, despite what you may have heard.”

Closing remarks were provided by DIA director Lt. Gen. Stewart, who emphasized DIA’s dedication to the warfighter. “We really work for the warfighters outside the intel community. Keep spending time with us like this; we need to hear firsthand from our clients. Tell us your requirements… what is that critical piece of information you need to make a decision? We owe you an answer in time for you to make an informed decision,” said Stewart.

Maryland School for the Deaf Cadets Visit Agency

May 30, 2017

Six high school military cadets from the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, Md., visited the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in SPRINGFIELD, VA, May 16 to learn how the agency supports the military.

The cadets received an agency overview brief, participated in a video-teleconference with an NGA deaf employee stationed overseas, watched a demo from NGA police officers and their K-9s, and attended a panel with analysts who are deaf or hard of hearing, said David Jones, NGA Analysis Tradecraft Programs staff officer.

The cadets also received an overview of the model of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which NGA worked in collaboration with other intelligence agencies to create.

In the past two years, NGA personnel visited the MSD campus twice to educate students about the agency, Jones said.

It is one thing to have presenters come to the Maryland School for the Deaf and present, but it is another thing to visit the campus and interact with employees, said Keith Nolan, a co-instructor for the Deaf Cadet Corps.

“I hope the visit encourages the cadets to consider future tradecraft and careers within the agency,” Nolan said. “From what I have seen, NGA has been terrific to its deaf and hard of hearing employees. By maintaining a relationship between NGA and MSD, we will hopefully see our graduates offer their skills and capabilities to the needs of the NGA in the future.”

Maryland School for the Deaf is a bilingual school in which American Sign Language and English are used.

“It is the only Cadet Corps Program in a school for the deaf in the nation, according to the school’s website,” Jones said. “More than 400 deaf and hard of hearing students are enrolled.”

The Maryland School for the Deaf is a part of NGA’s Partners in Education Program. The program demonstrates NGA’s commitment to advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education in local schools. The program also encourages future employment in the Intelligence Community, geospatial information fields, national security fields and the federal government.

Agency PIE activities include guest speakers, tutoring, mentoring, career days, science fairs, summer camps, pen pals, GIS fairs and STEM outreach.

Defense Attaché Service Offers Worldwide Job Opportunities for Elite Service Members

May 18, 2017

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 — In his first address to the Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis stressed the importance of DoD and its ties to the Intelligence Community.

“Together with the Intelligence Community, we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation,” he said. “Our military must ensure that the president and our diplomats always negotiate from a position of strength. Global threats require a global response applying the full weight of our own and our allies’ power, allies who are also increasing their defense outlays.”

There are many ways to serve the nation, but one way most are unfamiliar with is the Defense Attaché Service (DAS). While serving in uniform overseas, enlisted from all services offer support to U.S. diplomats, DoD and the intelligence community.

DAS provides opportunities for enlisted service members to serve in diplomatic assignments at U.S. embassies located worldwide. Noncommissioned officers and petty officers selected for a DAS assignment become part of an elite group of specially trained personnel who represent the U.S. and DoD. They serve in a wide array of roles and responsibilities, such as operations coordinators and operations NCOs, which challenge the most talented and experienced enlisted professionals.

According to SMSgt Paul Shideler, who works in the Defense Attaché Office in Taipei, “my experience working in the Liaison Affairs section at the American Institute in Taiwan has afforded me the unique opportunity to personally interact with many senior level leaders that shape U.S. national policy.”

While working in a defense attaché office, these service members represent DoD to the host-nation government and military, assist and advise the U.S. ambassador on military matters, and coordinate other political-military actions within their area of responsibility. They serve as part of the embassy staff and contribute significantly to the U.S. diplomatic mission abroad. Noncommissioned officers and petty officers accepted into the program will gain valuable experience that can improve their skill set regardless of their background.

The Defense Attaché Office plays a vital role in supporting the U.S. interests. During a time of crisis or military contingency, the DAO is often at the center of the action. The men and women who have served in the DAS have reaped personal rewards rarely duplicated in any other part of the military service.

“My experience working in USDAO Yerevan has given me the opportunity to be the face of the American Staff NCO for the Armenian military and set the example that shows NCO’s lead from the front,” said SSgt Robert Taylor, USMC.

A normal assignment in the DAS requires a four-year commitment. The first year is dedicated to preparation for assignment to a DAO. All service members are required to attend a 13-week course at the Joint Military Attaché School. Depending on an individual’s skill-set, language training, defensive driving, or a myriad of other courses may follow JMAS graduation.

How an attaché serves the last three years of their commitment depends on the DAO. DAS has locations with one, two, and three-year tours. Most will serve a three-year tour at one location, but others that serve in a one-year location may PCS to a two-year location as a follow on assignment (and vice-versa).

The DAS program is family friendly as well. The vast majority of the two-year, and all of the three-year tour locations, allow family members to PCS with the service member. Additionally, JMAS offers a spouse course, which provides spouse-specific training to prepare them for the pending assignment.

Below are some of the basic duties for noncommissioned officers or petty officers serving within the DAS.

  • Operations Coordinator (OPSCO)/Operations NCO (OPSNCO)
    • Provide overall operational, financial, administrative, and logistical support to the DAO
    • Provide day-to-day office management, including include the supervision of assigned NCOs, U.S. civilian employees, and locally employed staff as directed
  • Program manager for the DAO budget and the disbursement of funds
    • Drafting, implementing, and enforcing policy
    • Primary action officer to the embassy and DIA mission support offices
  • Program manager for counterintelligence, personnel, information, and physical security programs
    • Manage housing, motor pool, and property book programs
    • Assist in planning and execution of special functions, ships and VIP visits
    • Assist with coordination of U.S. military/civilian diplomatic aircraft landings and overflights
    • Support to the Office of Security Cooperation

Skills recruited by the DAS

  • Interest in foreign languages
  • Interest in operating in austere environments under minimal supervision
  • Gathering information and studying its meaning
  • Ability to think, speak, and write clearly
  • An outgoing personality and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to foster good working relationships with local staff and host nation/U.S. government agencies

Serving in the DAS is an opportunity to perform a career-broadening assignment and gain exposure to a joint, interagency environment. Serving in a DAO provides the opportunity to perfect language skills and cultural knowledge while developing a new appreciation for the complexities of the international environment and foreign military doctrine. The vast majority of DAS service members become involved in the local culture and take pride in having the ability to influence peoples’ opinions and understanding of the U.S. and its policies.

DIA C41 Experts Discuss Future of Defense Intel at C4ISRNet Conference

May 5, 2017

Washington, May 5, 2017 – Defense Intelligence Agency’s former Chief of Analytic Enterprise Operations Geoffrey Strayer and Senior Defense Intelligence Expert for C4I Louis Werdebach discussed Enterprise Intelligence for Command and Control at the 16th Annual C4ISRNET conference May 3 in Crystal City, Va.

The expert panel described how the Intelligence Community and military are fusing data into common operating procedures (pictures?) to a greater degree than ever before to provide military commanders and policymakers with holistic intelligence analysis.

Strayer noted that about 10 years ago the agency began to see an “exquisite” level of detail in intelligence, providing intelligence that had not been available in the past and creating a scenario where detailed information was copious but the ability to process, display and disseminate that intelligence was lagging. In the last five years DIA has continued to look at new ways to close the intelligence requirements gap with a variety of technologies and methodologies, including crowd sourcing, data science as well as artificial intelligence and object-based production.

We’re in an era where we display intelligence on an iPad. “That is a pretty radical change for a lot of people in our community who tend to work in a much more structured way,” said Strayer who has attended meetings with senior policy makers where the traditional briefing has been replaced by back-and-forth discussions with analysts.

Each member of the panel emphasized the need for continued collaboration within the intelligence community. Werdebach said one of the most important things with respect to the intelligence enterprise is to strengthen the partnership between policy makers, decision makers and our warfighters in the field by supplying them with defense intelligence that builds a common operational picture.

Strayer said DIA works with 21 organizations across the United States government and allies. Each one has its own customer set, its own priorities, and its own format in which it provides information. Further, every single sensor and weapons program has its own way to describe information. The challenge is to getting everything to come together in one consistent focus.

“Defense intelligence now has an opportunity to reimagine its support for the warfighter and policy makers,” said Werdebach.  He pointed out that with the recent advances in IT, cyber and innovation, “this is an opportunity that rarely comes along. We in the intelligence business need to examine ourselves, reimagine what we would like to be in the future, and start building towards that future.”

NGA Fourth Annual GIS Fair Showcases Local High School Student Talent

May 5, 2017

More than 80 seniors from high schools near the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s SPRINGFIELD, VA, headquarters participated in the agency’s fourth annual Geospatial Information Systems Fair here, May 2.

Tuesday’s fair was part of NGA’s Partners in Education program, which focuses on sparking interest among students from community schools in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program is part of a larger relationship between NGA and local high schools in Virginia and St. Louis to encourage future employment in the intelligence community, geospatial information, national security and federal government.

“It is clear that [the projects] get better every year, said NGA chief of staff Ed Mornston. “The projects improve, the quality of the presentations are better, [which] is very encouraging and uplifting for us.”

Students from local Virginia high schools, Robert E. Lee and South Lakes, who are interested in GIS are able to enroll in James Madison University’s Integrated Science and Technology department, Geospatial Semester program. Throughout the year, students take college GIS classes and focus on a yearlong project that gives them the skills needed for higher education and eventually, their careers. Upon completion of the program students earn college credit.

The Geospatial Semester program was founded in 2005, as a partnership between JMU and high schools across Virginia to keep seniors engaged in STEM during their final year.

“The program has a tremendous amount of success,” said Joyce Keranen, geospatial instructor from JMU. “Kids get so much independent project work to solve geospatial problems and get experience through this program.”

Projects at this year’s fair included exploring drunk driving behavior in the U.S., improving walkability and examining the country’s suicide trends using GIS concepts and technology.

In the morning, students presented their projects to a panel of judges. They also received professional mentoring and showcased their projects in front of NGA employees to view and provide feedback. The students will use the feedback to improve their projects before presenting their final projects at JMU at the end of the month.

“It was great receiving feedback from professionals because they are able to tell you different technology to use and other information that should be incorporated that was originally missed,” said Ben Gryski, a student at South Lakes High School.

“We need people who value diversity and (who want) to apply their talents to make a difference nationally and globally,” said Mornston. “And in the area of geospatial sciences, we need people who can use the rapid evolution of information technology and social media to enhance mission operations and advance the field.”

NSA’s GenCyber Reaches New Territories

May 3, 2017

This year, the GenCyber Program, co-sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), is bigger and better than before. The program is offering more than 130 summer camps in 39 states across the nation, and in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

GenCyber will host teachers and students in grades K-12 across America. Both NSA and NSF are excited to provide participants new cybersecurity awareness techniques in a town near you. The program will offer camps in more than 35 new locations in 2017.

Constantly growing and changing cyber threats in today’s digital world have dramatically expanded the demand for cybersecurity experts in both the public and private sectors of our nation. The GenCyber program enlists both public and private partners to assist in the mission of inspiring and growing the next generation of cyber warriors and security experts.

“We live in an online world and cybersecurity impacts everyone. The GenCyber program introduces students and teachers to the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the essentials of online safety. Over the last three years, we have reached thousands of K-12 students and teachers who may have otherwise missed the opportunity to learn about cybersecurity. GenCyber is impacting lives and increasing the number of students interested in pursuing cybersecurity studies and ultimately joining the cybersecurity workforce of the future,” said Tina Ladabouche, GenCyber Program Manager.

How much does it cost?
GenCyber is free for all participants, thanks to federal funding provided to NSA and NSF.

How can I register my child or how can I register as a teacher?
Visit the official GenCyber website to find a camp near you and register. Also check out NSA on Twitter @NSAGov for the latest GenCyber happenings.

DIA Analyst Speaks at James Madison Intel Conference

May 2, 2017

Harrisonburg, VA, May 2, 2017 – Eurasia intelligence analyst Rachel Kesselman was a panelist at the James Madison University Women in Intelligence Conference on April 14 in which she discussed her experience as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, her perspective on being a woman in the intelligence field, and opportunities available for students aspiring to work at DIA.

Kesselman began her intelligence career in 2008 after being offered a job at a DIA hiring event in San Antonio, Texas. For the past nine years she has accomplished a great deal both personally and professionally, which includes completing two master’s degrees (one in linguistics from the University of Florida and one in applied intelligence from Mercyhurst University) and working in a number of countries in Europe and the Middle East while becoming a rising star in the intelligence world.

“Few jobs let you say you made the world a safer place,” said Kesselman. “My biggest advice for students entering any career field is to ensure that the job is your passion. Make sure it’s what excites you and gets you out of bed every day.”

“DIA has offered me the opportunity to constantly improve myself and hone my skills through different rotations and deployments. Since graduating from college, I’ve deployed to Iraq, lived in London for three years, and have been extremely fortunate to travel to a number of countries around the world. I don’t think I would have been afforded these experiences in any other field, and I’ve felt at home with this agency from the minute I walked through the door nine years ago.”

For those unfamiliar with the Intelligence Community and for women concerned with breaking into a demanding career field, Kesselman spoke in-depth about how she balances work and life.

“You can have a good work-life balance and embrace demanding professional opportunities with a busy personal schedule,” she said. “I’ve learned how to work long hours and exercise/eat healthy every day. There’s also great support mechanisms available from the DIA organization, supervisors and colleagues. And when I needed them most, federal benefits were there for me and saved my life in more ways than one.”

Kesselman had a number of professional tips for the students, which included:

  • Make sure love your job – if not, you’re going to have a difficult time turning it into a long and rewarding career;
  • As hard as it is, try not to close yourself off from opposing viewpoints. Stick to your beliefs and your gut feelings, but also learn to open yourself up to competing viewpoints and opinions;
  • Be that person that makes an effort to get away from your desk. Pick up the phone and physically go see people, don’t only speak to people via social media because it’s more convenient;
  • All you have in this business is your credibility – don’t do foolish things that might damage trust with other colleagues/supervisors or jeopardize your career;
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or tell someone you don’t know an answer – they’ll respect you in the long term for not making something up or being wrong;
  • The Intelligence Community is a great place to work if you get bored often; there are always opportunities for new assignments in adventurous locations, or to stay put if that’s what you desire;
  • Always take opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone or scare you; you’ll be a better person in the long run.

For more information on DIA internships and academic opportunities, see our website .
For information on careers visit http://www.dia.mil/careers.

NSA Stops Certain Foreign Intelligence Collection Activities Under Section 702

April 28, 2017

The National Security Agency is instituting several changes in the way it collects information under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Section 702, set to expire at the end of this year, allows the Intelligence Community to conduct surveillance on only specific foreign targets located outside the United States to collect foreign intelligence, including intelligence needed in the fight against international terrorism and cyber threats. NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target. This information is referred to in the Intelligence Community as “about” communications in Section 702 “upstream” internet surveillance. Instead, NSA will limit such collection to internet communications that are sent directly to or from a foreign target.

Even though NSA does not have the ability at this time to stop collecting “about” information without losing some other important data, the Agency will stop the practice to reduce the chance that it would acquire communications of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.

Finally, even though the agency was legally allowed to retain such “about” information previously collected under Section 702, the NSA will delete the vast majority of its upstream internet data to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.

The changes in policy followed an in-house review of Section 702 activities in which NSA discovered several inadvertent compliance lapses.

NSA self-reported the incidents to both Congress and the FISC, as it is required to do. Following these reports, the FISC issued two extensions as NSA worked to fix the problems before the government submitted a new application for continued Section 702 certification. The FISC recently approved the changes after an extensive review.

The agency’s efforts are part of its commitment to continuous improvement as we work to keep the nation safe. NSA has a solemn responsibility and duty to do our work exactly right while carrying out our critical mission.

NGA Delivers Unclassified Intelligence via Apple App Store and Google Play

April 21, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA – The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released its latest app, Tearline, into Apple App Store and Google Play, delivering unclassified geospatial intelligence to verified government users via tablets and mobile devices.

Tearline is open to the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, allies, and academic and private sector partners sponsored into the system.

“We built and launched the Tearline platform to not only address the commercialization of GEOINT but to deliver high-quality, original content around the clock to senior officials, whether drinking coffee at home in the morning, waiting at the airport or driving around town,” said Chris Rasmussen, NGA’s public software development and GEOINT Pathfinder lead.

According to Rasmussen, “It’s like a banking app, the shell is delivered from the app stores but you need credentials pointed to a secure server for it to work.”

The Tearline mobile application was developed by NGA’s GEOINT Pathfinder project, which answers intelligence questions using only unclassified tools, data, information technology and services available in the commercial and open source world.

Security clearances were not a prerequisite to joining the Pathfinder team, which enabled the project to utilize diverse talent pools. For example, the Android app was coded by an intern from Thomas Jefferson High School, located in northern Virginia, near NGA’s headquarters.

“As GEOINT shifts toward a more unclassified data future, NGA has an opportunity to tell more stories at the protected yet unclassified level,” said Rasmussen.

Tearline is accessible through commercial app stores and web browsers of any kind.

Interested contributors and readers from DoD, IC and partner nations should email oss@nga.mil for login instructions.

In the Spotlight: The Director of NSA’s Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy

April 17, 2017

Rebecca “Becky” Richards has one of the National Security Agency’s most important jobs: to ensure that the privacy rights and civil liberties of U.S. persons - a category that includes citizens, green card holders, and U.S.-incorporated companies - are taken into account in all of NSA’s activities.

At NSA, Richards has a seat at the table and an influential voice. She is passionate about NSA’s mission to protect the nation and all that it stands for. Below are some of her recent thoughts on the role of the NSA Office of Civil Liberties and Privacy, which she has led for three years.

Q: What have you accomplished so far?

A: Our office has embedded our civil liberties and privacy assessment process as a foundational element to support NSA activities. This means that the right issues are raised at the right time and resolved so that civil liberties and privacy considerations are baked into processes at NSA. To make this happen, CLPO works cross-organizationally every day with policy, compliance, risk, legal, and operational elements to tackle complex issues and make sure that a strong privacy voice contributes to decision-making at the working level.

We’ve also made great strides in terms of NSA’s transparency and openness. For example, my office has issued three public reports that have given the public access to a large body of information about NSA’s targeted signals intelligence activities under Executive Order 12333, the USA FREEDOM Act, and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. This level of transparency is unprecedented. It helps to build public trust and inform the public debate about intelligence, surveillance, and privacy.

We’ve come a long way since the days when NSA kept such a low profile that people would joke that it stood for ‘No Such Agency.’ I’m proud to play a central role in ‘translating’ what NSA does so that the public can fully understand and appreciate it. NSA is finding its voice in the public arena. Sometimes that involves expressing complex legal nuances and technical concepts in an understandable way, in unclassified settings, which is difficult but worthwhile. That kind of transparency protects against an unaccountable intelligence apparatus.

Q: What did the creation of your role in 2014 really add?

A: I was hired from outside of NSA specifically to bring a different perspective and recommend new ways to improve upon existing policies and procedures. My office centralizes a lot of functions that were already being performed across NSA to protect civil liberties and privacy.

The agency’s appointment of a director of civil liberties and privacy is a milestone. Having a single official dedicated to privacy and civil liberties protection brings continuity and focus as rules and oversight and technology evolve over time. We’re able to be proactive, not reactive, and we’re positively influencing the discussion about privacy requirements within the Intelligence Community and the federal government as a whole.

Q: How would you respond to critics who might characterize you as only a figurehead?

A: I can understand why people would be skeptical about my job title or even consider it an oxymoron. However, in my opinion, this is the best privacy job in the federal government. NSA plays an essential role every day in keeping America safe. I take the responsibility of contributing to NSA’s success very seriously, and public confidence is critical to that success.

The American people expect and deserve to hear what NSA is doing to protect civil liberties and privacy. My job is basically located at the nexus between privacy and security, and that’s a challenging and fascinating place to be. Privacy and security are both imperatives for NSA: they’re equally important and we have to get them both right.

In terms of what it’s like for me inside the building, I report directly to the director of NSA, and I serve as the primary civil liberties and privacy advisor to him and the rest of the senior leadership team. I have their full support, and the work that I’m doing contributes to their strategic decisions. My office operates independently and has full access to examine civil liberties and privacy requirements for all NSA operations, tradecraft, and technology. It’s not a check-the-box exercise, and nothing is off-limits. My job often involves bringing a set of NSA stakeholders together in a room to make progress on extremely complicated issues and answer very tough questions to evaluate the civil liberties and privacy impacts of a given program or activity. We look at hard problems and we find solutions that strengthen privacy protections.

There’s a real commitment to privacy rights at NSA and a very strong compliance ethic. I learned that at the outset.

Q: What does “oversight” look like?

A: Inside NSA, we have rigorous oversight by my office, the Inspector General’s Office, the Office of the General Counsel, and the Office of the Director of Compliance. Within the executive branch, NSA’s activities are subject to oversight by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Department, the U.S. Justice Department, and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

In terms of congressional oversight, NSA has hundreds of written or in-person exchanges with congressional overseers every year. There is also significant judicial oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The men and women of NSA, and of the Intelligence Community as a whole, take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. It has been my experience that they take that oath seriously.

CDX 2017: The Winner is …

April 14, 2017

On 14 April 2017, the U.S. Naval Academy were announced victorious in the 17th Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX). This is the fourth year that students from the U.S. Naval Academy have come out on top at CDX.

This year, students from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), and Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), competed in the Blue Cells teams. 

The adversarial Red Cell began its engagement with the Blue Cell networks Tuesday morning, emulating attacks as would real adversaries, 24 hours per day. Lt Col Sam K., the Unix Team Lead on the Red Cell, said that the most common access method to Blue Cell Networks continue to be human error, targeted VIA spear-phishing, as it gives the adversary a foot hold into the network. From there, the Red Cell would survey other areas of the network and abuse credentials, run scripts to identify other users, and look to see if any software on the network can be exploited.

Targeted by the Red Cell activity, the Gray Cell participants acted as every day users, for example, clicking links in emails and falling prey to spear phishing attempts. Michael R., the Gray Cell Lead, said they attempted to create a small haste act of traffic and activity. “We’ve seen multiple schools who have implemented mitigation strategies to mitigate threats of malicious users,” he said on Wednesday. “Some strategies have been good - some bad.” The “bad” strategies typically prevent damage, but block usability for the everyday users on the network.

Working closely together, user feedback from the Gray Cell is then forwarded to the White Cell, who communicates to the Blue Cell that there is a user access issue on their network. Robert C., the White Cell Lead, said that there is a Directive that CDX participants in all Cells must follow, though it is not all-encompassing. Some methods used by any of the Cells may violate the spirit of the exercise and the White Cell has to decide upon penalties. However, Robert said that the students pay close attention to the Directive and do their best to abide by it. “They look at CDX as a contractual exercise of rules, constraints, boundaries, and penalties, and they try to push those boundaries and use it to the best of their advantage,” he said.

This year, a number of cadets and midshipmen had the opportunity to participate in the Red Cell at CDX headquarters, where they experienced the other side of the challenge from their class mates back at the academies. MIDN Chad R., a Red Cell student of the U.S. Naval Academy, said that some of his friends are on the Navy Blue Cell team. “They all think the Red Cell was already in their system before [the exercise] began,” he said.

The Red Cell student participants’ academic focus is of or relating to cyber. CDT Daniel T., a Red Cell student from the U.S. Air Force Academy, has participated in other cyber-focused exercises and said that working in CDX has given him the opportunity to shadow professionals and learn what they do. “We get to learn about network penetration and pivoting,” he said, “and how to limit the attacker to the borders of [the] network and push them out.”

CDT Mason A., a Red Cell student from the U.S. Military Academy, is a computer science major, thinking about branching cyber. He said as of Wednesday the cadets and midshipmen were taking on a learning role. “We’re just trying to learn from Red Cell members,” he said, “looking over shoulders.” The students were afforded the opportunity to explore the software that the Red Cell used and observe how it’s used. They then worked to take over each other’s systems in a controlled setting, connecting to each other’s networks.

MIDN Chad R., a cyber-operations major, said that on Tuesday evening, the students sat with the Air Force reserves on the Red cell to observe activity on the Blue Cell networks. “They let us connect from our computers to see what was going on,” he said. The Red Cell students first had to see if they could gain access to the Blue Cell networks and then looked for “tokens” that they could submit to the White Cell to deduct points from the Blue Cell teams.

New to the Blue Cell participants was the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) challenge. Two of the Service academies chose to participate in the optional challenge: USNA and RMC. The students worked the week prior to CDX to build their UAV and execute their mission, which was to take down five targets protected by enemy UAVs. Their UAVs were then “launched” on Tuesday morning; once the UAVs launched, the students waited to see if their efforts were successful.

The RMC graduate students also participated in the UAV challenge as part of an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) Challenge. Sam A., from the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), said that the UGV-working-into-UAV experience integrates cyber operations into physical effects. The AFRL brought specialists to work on the Red Cell for a scenario in which the specialists recover an UAV that belongs to the graduate students. They then perform reverse-engineering on the software associated with the UAV. The students’ objective was to take down four targets, two of which were simulated surface-to-air missile sites, using their UGV and UAV resources.

At CDX headquarters, the AFRL supplied a UGV with an attached video camera with which the RMC grad students could see the vehicle’s surroundings. Sam said the students could also move the vehicle with a Play Station 3 controller from their location in Canada.

The RMC graduate students also competed against NASA and NSA teams in the Space Cyber challenge (SCC). The SCC is designed to teach next generations to think about cyber security in relation to space. One of the engineers in charge of the program said that they plan to offer this to the undergraduate students in the future; this year, they are testing the challenge on the graduate students. “They seem to be grasping it well and working well with the hardware,” he said on Wednesday during the event. By using a model satellite, mocked up ground station, and a representative plot of where in space the satellite is “located”, the teams conducted simulated operations associated with the tools as they would use in real-world operations. In that context, the teams had to defend their satellites from each other while attacking the other teams’ satellites. In the background, Red Cell members also emulated adversary activity.

CDX continues to put the student-experience at the highest priority of the event so that the Nation’s next generation of cyber warriors are ready for future cyber challenges. “We’re here to cater to an educational exercise - not every school works at the same level, and that’s okay,” White Cell Lead, Robert C., said. “Our job is to elevate them from students to professional network defenders.”

Small Sats Conference Explores Data Analytics and Harnessing Innovation

April 14, 2017

Industry and government leaders discussed how innovative approaches to data collection and analysis capabilities help strengthen the data used in answering intelligence questions during a U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation conference hosted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at its headquarters in SPRINGFIELD, VA, April 13.

“Sometimes you need people to come in from an entirely new direction to develop technologies and ideas,” said Anthony Vinci, NGA’s director of Plans and Programs, who gave the keynote address at the “Powering GEOINT Analytics: Big Data from Small Sats” conference.

Vinci said partnerships help develop new products that were not previously available in the Intelligence Community. “There is an entirely new class of data information that we can access to do our mission,” he said. The conference was designed to explore how the government can and should use commercial GEOINT from small satellites as well as commercial analytic capabilities.

Several panels and speeches throughout the day addressed current capabilities and trends in technology as partnerships with industry and academia continue to foster new ideas in the approach to intelligence and big data.

“Do you embrace it? Or do you try to compete with it?” said Justin Poole, director of the NGA’s Source directorate, who spoke on a panel that addressed modern technology infrastructure for analysis. “Our choice is to embrace it.”

IC IG, DHS and DOJ OIGs Release Joint Report on the Domestic Sharing of Counterterrorism Information

March 31, 2017

The Inspectors General (IG) of the Intelligence Community (IC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today the release of a joint report on the domestic sharing of counterterrorism information.  The IGs’ review was conducted in response to a request from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The objectives of this review were to: (1) identify and examine the federally supported field-based intelligence entities engaged in counterterrorism information sharing to determine the overall missions, specific functions, capabilities, funding, and personnel and facility costs; (2) determine if counterterrorism information is being adequately and appropriately shared with all participating agencies; and (3) identify any gaps or duplication of effort among these entities.

The OIGs found that federal, state, and local entities are committed to sharing counterterrorism information by undertaking programs and initiatives that have improved information sharing. However, the OIGs also identified several areas in which improvements could enhance the sharing of counterterrorism information.

The findings in today’s report include:

  • To share information effectively, the federal, state, and local entities actively involved in counterterrorism efforts must understand each other’s roles, responsibilities, and contributions, especially when multiple agencies are involved in complex investigations. The review found that this is an area where information sharing could be strengthened. For example, both DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have counterterrorism-related missions and a role in gathering and disseminating counterterrorism information, yet officials from both of these agencies expressed concerns about potential overlaps in law enforcement and counterterrorism missions and activities.  In addition, although there is a national-level, interagency information sharing strategy, its implementation has been viewed to be uneven. The OIGs believe that the ODNI, DHS, and DOJ should review the interagency information sharing agreements and take necessary actions to update intelligence information sharing standards and processes among the departments, which we believe would result in better implementation of the strategy and foster greater and more consistent cooperation.
  • The DHS Intelligence Enterprise – the integrated function of DHS intelligence components and programs – is not as effective and valuable to the IC as it could be. For example, there is a lack of unity across the DHS Intelligence Enterprise, problems with the Office of Intelligence & Analysis staffing levels in the field, issues with the internal intelligence product review and approval processes, and difficulty accessing classified systems and facilities in the field.
  • DOJ can improve its counterterrorism information sharing efforts by implementing a consolidated internal DOJ strategy and evaluating the continued need and most effective utilization for the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices’ Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council meetings. In addition, the FBI should spur participation associated with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and improve its efforts to obtain partners’ input to the process for identifying and prioritizing counterterrorism threats.
  • Within the ODNI, the Domestic DNI Representative Program is hindered by large geographic regions, as well as the lack of a clear strategic vision and guidance. In addition, the National Counterterrorism Center Domestic Representative Program has also struggled to sufficiently cover its regions.
  • At the state and local level, fusion centers are focused on sustaining operations rather than enhancing capabilities due to unpredictable federal support. Further, varying requirements for state and local security clearances sponsored by federal agencies can impede access to classified systems and facilities.

Today’s report makes 23 recommendations to the components of ODNI, DHS, and, DOJ to help improve the sharing of counterterrorism information and ultimately, enhance the government’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks. The components of ODNI, DHS, and DOJ agreed with all 23 recommendations.

With Senior Leaders like Research Director Dr. Deborah Frincke, We Aim High

March 27, 2017

At the National Security Agency, our mission is to help protect the nation 24/7/365. We are constantly innovating. We are constantly seeking new ways to outwork adversaries who want to harm the United States and our allies.

With senior leaders like Research Director Dr. Deborah Frincke (shown), we aim high. We never forget that our fellow Americans and allies depend on us to help keep them safe.

Food Security, Regional Stability Emphasis of NGA's Los Angeles-Area Hackathon

March 22, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is scheduled to hold its second hackathon event of 2017, March 25-26 in Los Angeles.

The two-day event will bring together local innovators, industry, small businesses and academia to tackle a food security scenario based on a 2015 global food security assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"Food security and regional stability are hugely important issues to the intelligence community because they act as threat multipliers, aggravating existing problems such as political instability and regional tensions," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Satterfield, NGA's lead for crowd sourced-driven innovation. "We are asking participants to use geospatial information to better understand, model, visualize and monitor that nexus between food security and regional stability."

Hackathon participants will have opportunities to meet with NGA recruiters and industry representatives and receive briefings from NGA experts. NGA will have subject matter experts on hand throughout the event to answer content-related questions from hackathon participants.

The event culminates in final "pitches" addressing the challenge from the participating teams. The winner will receive a cash award of $3,000, and the first runner-up will receive an award of $1,000.

"Challenges and hackathons reach beyond traditional federal government and defense partners and expose NGA to previously untapped innovative thinkers," said Satterfield.

NGA's next hackathon is scheduled for Seattle, Washington, May 21-22, 2017 and will focus on crowdsourcing for information collection and distribution.

Watch DIA's Beyond the Beltway: NORAD/NORTHCOM

March 15, 2017

Follow a DIA employee to NORAD/NORTHCOM and learn more about DIA's support to the command's mission to conduct homeland defense, civil support and security cooperation.

DIA's Beyond the Beltway explores DIA's presence outside Washington, D.C., and gives a behind-the-scenes look at how this presence in over 140 countries enables the agency's critical role in national security.

This episode focuses on DIA's presence at the bi-national U.S. Northern American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Find out how U.S. and Canadian counterparts work together to conduct homeland defense, civil support and security cooperation. You'll learn about how NORAD/NORTHCOM provides air cover support for events like the Super Bowl and presidential inaugurations, partners with our neighbors - the Bahamas, Mexico and Canada - and assists with natural and manmade disasters within the U.S. You'll also hear from the director and deputy director of NORAD/NORTHCOM's Directorate for Intelligence (J2).

DIA provides military intelligence to warfighters and defense policymakers in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community in support of U.S. military planning and operations. DIA plans, manages, and executes intelligence operations during peacetime, crisis and war.

DIA Director for Analysis Briefs Congress on Tradecraft

March 7, 2017

WASHINGTON — Defense Intelligence Agency's Director for Analysis Mr. Neil Wiley testified before the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 28 about DIA's standards and policies on tradecraft.

DOD Instruction 3115.17 (Oversight and Management of DoD All-Source Analysis") directs DIA to monitor the state of Defense Intelligence analytic capabilities and establish training, education and certification programs for DoD analysts.

Wiley discussed many of DIA's investments in creating a strong foundation for objective, high-quality intelligence.

"We've been aggressively investing in initiatives to strengthen analytic tradecraft and analytic processes. We established the Defense Analytic Tradecraft Council to coordinate and implement analytic tradecraft and process improvements across the Enterprise – most noteworthy thus far have been the implementation of an enterprise-wide analytic ombudsman program, and a common process for analytic product evaluations. We've expanded professional analysts career education through the addition of a 10-day course for DIA analysts offered both in the national capital region and at the combatant commands, stressing and exercising Intelligence Community Directive 203 tradecraft standards and analytic design," said Wiley.

Tradecraft – the standards of analysis that guide production and evaluation of intelligence products - is the foundation of a strong intelligence community. Tradecraft standards reinforce integrity and rigor in analytic thinking and are maintained by the Defense Intelligence Agency for all DOD analysts in accordance with Intelligence Community Directive 203.

"I have made it very clear – and I know DIA is supporting me on this – analysts that are from DIA that work at combatant commands, work for the combatant commander; they work for J2," said Maj. Gen. Mark Quantock, director of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, who also stressed that analysts must be aware of the requirements and tradecraft standards set by ICD 203.

Analytic standards are the core principles of intelligence analysis. Applied across the entire intelligence community, tradecraft standards serve as a common foundation for assessment criteria, ethic for analytic rigor, and personal integrity in analytic practice. The standards also promote protection of privacy and civil rights by ensuring objectivity, timeliness, relevance and accuracy of sensitive information used in analytic products.

"The support to national security decision-making requires the best intelligence, knowledge, advice and recommendations that can shape strategic outcomes. As we look to the future to ensure we have this capability, we will continue to work with USD(I), DIA, and combatant command J2s to find ways to improve the defense intelligence enterprise's analytic policies, processes, training and education," Maj. Gen James Marrs, Joint Staff J2.

The Directorate for Intelligence, J-2, is a DIA directorate supporting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff and Unified Commands.

"Integrity is at the foundation of everything we do – no matter what your role.  It has been, and will remain, one of our top priorities. I am committed to ensuring analysts have the tools, resources and support needed to continue speaking truth to power," said DIA Director Lt. Gen Vincent Stewart.

DIA provides military intelligence to warfighters, defense policymakers and force planners in the DoD and the Intelligence Community in support of U.S. military planning and operations and weapon systems acquisition.  DIA plans, manages, and executes intelligence operations during peacetime, crisis and war.

Defense Intelligence Agency's Director for Analysis Mr. Neil Wiley testified before the House Armed Services Committee Feb. 28 about DIA's standards and policies on tradecraft.

NGA's CIBORG initiative enables $4.4M contract with VRICON for 3D Modeling

March 6, 2017

​SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency contracted for $4.4 million in VRICON 3D high resolution data packages through an initiative with the General Services Administration, Feb. 10. 

"We are excited to be partnered with GSA as they modify a Special Item Number under Schedule 70 to expand access to a wide variety of suppliers," said Nicole Pierce, NGA Senior Procurement Executive. "We look forward to rapidly satisfying our customer's diverse mission needs."

The Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT, or CIBORG, leverages schedules and contractual instruments available via the GSA to allow commercial purchases by government organizations for geospatial earth observation data, products and services.

"CIBORG enables geospatial solution providers to make their capabilities available on the GSA schedule for other government customers, warfighters, first responders as well as fulfilling NGA customer needs," said Julie Saville, Lead for CIBORG. "Expanding the offerings on the GSA schedule is an important step as this allows them to easily request and purchase GEOINT that fits their unique mission demand."

Contracted services by VRICON include Digital Surface Model data, Digital Terrain Model data, Point Cloud data and True Ortho data.

Director Robert Cardillo testified in September 2016 at an open hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence where he discussed CIBORG as part of a larger NGA initiative to more effectively and efficiently partner with industry data and service providers.

"The era of multiyear, billion-dollar contracts for services that last decades have had their time," he told the committee. "We have to become more agile and revisit fundamental acquisition strategies."

Secret Blows: African American Intelligence Operations 

March 2, 2017

WASHINGTON — While the issue of slavery was not the only issue leading to the South's secession from the United States beginning in December 1860, it played a significant role. In the debate over states' rights, the right to secede from the Union, and the expansion of slavery as an objective in the conflict, Southerners had to reconcile slavery with Christian faith and the American notion of equality before the law.

Editor's Note: This article is brought to you by the Defense Intelligence Agency's History Office In honor of February's African American History Month.

"Who would be free themselves must strike the blow." Frederick Douglass, noted African American social reformer and statesman

"I had no educated Negros in my household." Varina Howell Davis, 1905, responding to an inquiry that the Confederate White House harbored an African American spy.

While the issue of slavery was not the only issue leading to the South's secession from the United States beginning in December 1860, it played a significant role. In the debate over states' rights, the right to secede from the Union, and the expansion of slavery as an objective in the conflict, Southerners had to reconcile slavery with Christian faith and the American notion of equality before the law. Many Southerners justified slavery through belief that slaves were not equal to whites, and that they were improving the lives of African-Americans even in their indentured state. As such, when the Civil War began, most Southerners could not fathom that African Americans could be a threat – whether as spies or soldiers. Acknowledging African Americans as equals, and therefore a legitimate threat, undermined the entire notion of slavery in Christian society.

Even those that did not think African Americans were inferior could not acknowledge it without undermining the culture and political institutions of the South, of which slavery was a fundamental component. By 1860, this Southern mindset was pervasive, engrained, and almost subconscious.

Read the full article click here.

NGA 'hacks' Huntsville, Seeks Solutions for Natural Disaster Emergencies

February 24, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is holding its first hackathon event of the year Feb. 25-26 in Huntsville, Alabama.

The two-day event will bring together local innovators, industry, small businesses and academia to tackle a natural disaster scenario and develop geospatially-focused solutions to aid emergency responders.

"The challenge we're proposing involves determining where and when exactly disaster events – like flooding – will take place based on publicly-available data sets and how response personnel can stay in front of a dynamic situation," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Satterfield, NGA's lead for crowdsourced-driven innovation.

The hackathon will begin with remarks from Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and include opportunities to meet with NGA recruiters and industry representatives and receive briefings from NGA experts. The event culminates in final "pitches" addressing the challenge from the participating teams.

The grand prize winner will receive a cash award of $3,000, and the first runner-up will receive an award of $1,000.

"Crowdsourcing NGA's mission-centric problems provides valuable technical solutions and allows NGA to recruit top talent," said Satterfield. "This hack supports one of NGA's most public mission sets – providing accurate and timely geospatial intelligence to first responders."

This is the second NGA hackathon to be held in Huntsville. The 2016 event resulted in the creation of an open-source geospatial tool that provides information rapidly to first responders. NGA's next hackathon is scheduled for March 25-26 in Los Angeles, California, and will focus on food security and regional stability.

The conclusion of the hackathon also coincides with the beginning of this year's "Innovate Huntsville," a week of scheduled events, panels, and social activities designed to educate, inspire and engage the region's brightest entrepreneurs, investors, strategic advisors, and community supporters. 

NGA Seeks Nominations for 2017 Hall of Fame

February 21. 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is accepting nominations through May 19 for individuals to be considered for induction into the 2017 Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame.

The Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who made significant and transformative contributions to NGA, one of the NGA heritage organizations, or the geospatial intelligence discipline. NGA honors individuals each year in an induction ceremony, the next induction ceremony will be held in October 2017.


Open to U.S. persons and allied partners who have made significant contributions to NGA, one of the NGA heritage organizations or the geospatial intelligence discipline.

Selection Criteria

The nominee's contribution should be clearly recognizable as having changed the direction and scope of, or increased the value of GEOINT for national decision-makers, military commanders, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), NGA Heritage Organizations, or NGA customers and partners. Contribution shall meet one or more of the following standards:

  • Made a contribution that transformed NGA operations or GEOINT tradecraft at NGA or one of its heritage organizations
  • Demonstrated a legacy of leadership that exemplifies NGA traditions and core values
  •  Performed a significant GEOINT contribution during a national security crisis
  • Contributed a technological or analytic innovation that provided greater geospatial understanding to the U.S. government
  • Made a significant personal sacrifice in the accomplishment of the NGA mission
  • Demonstrated significant accomplishment that greatly enhanced the value of NGA to other U.S. government entities, commercial vendors, or foreign governments

Nomination Process

Hall of Fame nominations may be made by any current or former Department of Defense or Intelligence Community Employee, member of the National System for Geospatial Intelligence, or member of the Allied System for GEOINT. All nominations will be considered by the Hall of Fame selection board.

The format for all nomination packages shall be as follows:

Limited to no more than four unclassified pages, or 1,000 words, double-spaced, in Arial 12-point font and submitted to Hall_of_Fame@nga.mil or mailed to Attn: Hall of Fame, N73OCC, 7500 GEOINT Drive, Springfield, VA 22150-7500.

The package must include a narrative providing general information about the nominee, including name, title, and grade/rank at the time of retirement; date of retirement from civilian or military service, current contact information; and elements served and location.

An essay explaining which selection criteria the nominee meets and detailing the rationale for nominating the individual to the Hall of Fame.

It should also include a brief description (no more than 60 words) of his/her accomplishments that will be used as the basis for an award citation should the nominee be selected for induction into the Hall of Fame.

All information in the narrative should be unclassified. If required, the submission of classified narrative of no more than one double-spaced page in Arial 12-point may be coordinated via Hall_of_Fame@coe.ic.gov.

The Geospatial Intelligence Hall of Fame Selection Board will review all nomination packages, evaluate the merits of each package in concert via open discussion, and submit a slate of suggested nominees to the NGA Director. The Director will render a final decision, and an announcement of the selection(s) will be made. NGA will hold an annual induction ceremony in October 2017 in conjunction with the NGA 20th Anniversary Celebration to pay tribute to the individuals and their prestigious accomplishments to the geospatial intelligence community.

For questions regarding the Hall of Fame, contact Hall_of_Fame@nga.mil.

NGA Earns National Accreditation for GEOINT Certification Programs

February 16, 2017

​SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency achieved national accreditation for two geospatial intelligence professional certification programs Jan. 31.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, the standard-setting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredited the GEOINT Professional Certification (GPC) programs for GEOINT Fundamentals and Imagery Analysis for a period of five years.

"Implementing the GEOINT Professional Certification Program for civilian and military personnel across the Department of Defense is essential to the continued development of our people and tradecraft, and ultimately to the success of the GEOINT mission," said program director Kurt Savoie.

NCCA accreditation highlights the agency's adherence to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.  Since 1977, NCCA has accredited over 270 programs across more than 120 credentialing organizations.

"NCCA's standards are quite rigorous, we are very appreciative of the Commission's commitment to understanding details unique to national security certification programs," said Savoie.

GPC certifications address the specific requirements of GEOINT professionals across the Department of Defense. The Imagery Analysis certification program is one of 10 full performance level certification programs built for the Department of Defense GEOINT community. GEOINT Fundamentals is the foundational certification upon which all the proficiency level II GPC programs are built, and is required of all DoD GEOINT analysts.

These are the second and third GEOINT certifications to become accredited. In August 2016, NCCA accredited the Aeronautical Analysis full performance level program. NGA plans to apply for NCCA accreditation for the remaining eight programs over the next 18 months.

 "The GEOINT mission is increasingly complex and it requires professionals at the top of the field. The GPC Program is setting the standard of excellence for GEOINT," said Savoie.

Across all certifications, NGA has administered more than 13,000 exams and awarded over 7,200 credentials to GEOINT Professionals.

Arctic DEM Project Highlights New Elevation Models to the Public

February 15, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — The ArcticDEM project, a public-private initiative to produce high-resolution, high-quality digital elevation models (DEMs) of the Arctic have released the largest addition of new elevation models to the project Feb. 14.

The ArcticDEM project is a continued collaboration between NGA, the Polar Geospatial Center, and Esri to produce high resolution elevation models to support scientific and national security implications in the ArcticAccording to Esri, a global leader in spatial analytics, ArcticDEM can meet the need for high-quality elevation data in remote locations and provide accurate measurement of topographic change.

New elevation models on the public online portal display surface detail from mainland Canada and Russia. In many locations, the models are created from images collected on multiple dates, allowing anyone to see how the landscape changes over time.

"The release includes a much broader area of the Arctic geography than ever before, comprising more populated areas that will see a substantive benefit from access to this kind of detailed location data," said Don Kerr, Chief of News and Information, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency presented new ArcticDEM elevation data at Esri's 20th annual FedGIS Conference, February 13-14, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

NGA Awards Four Contracts to Enhance Artificial Intelligence and Automation

February 15, 2017

​​SPRINGFIELD, VA — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency awarded four contracts in January and February designed to enhance artificial intelligence and automation to improve geospatial-intelligence analysis.

The contracts are part of an effort to bolster NGA's ability to meet current and future customer demands. The awards were based on responses to the artificial intelligence and automation topic under the Boosting Innovative Geospatial-Intelligence (GEOINT) broad agency announcement written to solicit input from industry and academia that is open for three years.

"This research provides NGA with great opportunities to explore how humans and machines can team together to sift, sort, and process in a data rich environment," said Amanda Weaver, Senior GEOINT Officer. "Analysts seek new, different and efficient ways to process information for customer consequence."

NGA awarded research contracts to Concurrent Technologies Corporation, HRL Laboratories, Raytheon, and Soar Technology, Inc., in January 2017.

"We are very excited about the upcoming work from these selected vendors that will surely set the foundation for future AVA capabilities in the NSG," said Robert Arbetter, NGA's program manager of the Analyst Virtual Assistant (AVA).

The specifics of each of the four research contracts are:

•    CTC ($498,242) will advance an interdependent human-machine network concept designed to enable task automation and management, cloud-wide as opposed to within traditional desktop and server-based environments.

•    HRL ($499,677) will develop an adaptive system that will identify correlations between analysts' interactions and automatically share relevant data across like-user groups. The system will autonomously address mundane user tasks and simultaneously streamline workflows to allow analysts more time to address challenging intelligence problems and develop products.

•    Raytheon ($496,525) will develop automated solutions designed to help recognize cognitive bias in analytic decision-making. These machine learning-based solutions will recommend new analytic hypothesis for consideration and autonomously provide workflow recommendations and suggested courses of action to help analysts become aware of unconscious bias when making key judgments.

•    Soar Technology ($499,947) will develop and evaluate autonomous 'virtual assistant' technologies designed to help integrate disparate service oriented and cloud-based architectures. These new technologies will facilitate improved information sharing, information management and analyst understanding of large datasets. Additionally, the endeavor will provide automated mining of streamed data to alert analysts to anomalous activity that could be of interest.

As part of the BAA, periodically new topics will post on FedBizOpps.gov as a way to seek creative solutions to unique GEOINT challenges at NGA.

NSA's Response to Hostage Events: Swift and Enduring

February 14, 2017

Kidnapping for ransom and other forms of hostage-taking are not new. They occur worldwide and are widespread in a number of impoverished countries. In fact, it has become increasingly dangerous for Americans and Europeans to travel to countries and regions where terrorist organizations and other hostage takers operate. It is estimated that, since 2008, kidnapping of Westerners has yielded millions of dollars, and that this success has emboldened terrorist groups in a number of regions to view Westerners and other foreigners as valuable commodities.

The National Security Agency has historically supported the U.S. government's immediate and more enduring efforts to help recover U.S. persons held hostage abroad. Since 2008 - when a permanent Hostage Event Management Team was formed within NSA's National Security Operations Center to coordinate the Agency's support efforts around the clock - we have responded swiftly to the actions of hostage takers, provided direct support to rescue operations, and maintained vigilance for potential breakthroughs in longstanding cases. Moreover, signals intelligence has been a critical element used by the newly formed U.S. Government Hostage Recovery Working Group, which coordinates a whole-of-government response to bringing hostages back alive.

NSA's workforce makes a real difference.

We never forget that the nation depends on us to help keep our fellow Americans safe.

IARPA Launches "CREATE" Program To Improve Reasoning Through Crowdsourcing

February 9, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, announced today a multi-year research effort to develop and test large-scale, structured collaboration methods to improve reasoning. If successful, the Crowdsourcing Evidence, Argumentation, Thinking and Evaluation—"CREATE"—program will improve analysts' and decision makers' understanding of the evidence and assumptions that support—or conflict with—their conclusions. These tools will improve their ability to provide accurate, timely, and well-supported analyses of the complex, ambiguous and often novel problems facing the Intelligence Community.

"CREATE is a unique opportunity to extend crowdsourcing beyond its traditional applications," said Steven Rieber, IARPA program manager. "Wikipedia has demonstrated the power of crowds to organize information. Prediction markets and IARPA's Aggregative Contingent Estimation program have harnessed crowd wisdom to make accurate forecasts. CREATE will combine crowdsourcing with structured techniques to improve reasoning on complex analytic issues. The resulting technology will be valuable not just to intelligence analysis but also to science, law, and policy—in fact, to any domain where people must think their way through complex questions."

The increasingly complex questions faced by today's analysts require not only better answers, but clearer understanding and communication of conflicting evidence, knowledge gaps, and degrees of uncertainty. CREATE systems will help analysts explain to decision makers why judgments were made, why seemingly plausible alternatives were rejected, and the major gaps in what is known.

The CREATE program also seeks to develop and test structured crowdsourcing platforms that meet these needs. If successful, these platforms will combine different perspectives to support more rational and thorough exploration of analysis problems.

Through a competitive Broad Agency Announcement, IARPA has awarded CREATE's research contracts to teams led by George Mason University, Syracuse University, Monash University, and the University of Melbourne. John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and Good Judgment, Inc. will work together to independently test the new systems—drawing on thousands of volunteers to try them out and learn how well they work.

IARPA invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community. Additional information on IARPA and its research may be found on https://www.iarpa.gov.

NGA Military Analyst Honored at Washington Capital's Game

Feb. 2, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — A U.S. Army staff sergeant assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Springfield, Virginia, headquarters was honored Feb. 1 during a Washington Capitals' home game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., for his service as an imagery analyst.

Staff Sgt. Cody Longbotham was nominated by the agency and selected by the Capitals as part of the team's "Salute the Troops" program, which honors a military member each week of the season during home games.

"I am a huge sports fan and any opportunity like this is pretty cool," said Longbotham.

Longbotham is one of more than 500 active duty and reserve military members supporting the agency's mission and daily operations. The service members serve in a variety of jobs throughout the agency, and work side by side with the civilian and contract workforce to provide NGA customers and national security decision makers the best geospatial-intelligence products.

"Staff Sgt. Longbotham exemplifies what it is to be a United States Army soldier," said NGA's senior enlisted adviser, Army Master Sgt. Adam Cook, who nominated Longbotham for the recognition. "He is a natural leader (who) can thrive in any situation or environment, (and he) has excelled during his time here at NGA."

Longbotham joined the Army in 2010 after graduating Brooke Point High School in Stafford, Virginia. He deployed twice to Afghanistan in 2011 and 2014 as an imagery analyst. On his second deployment, he logged over 700 combat hours during aviation operations. Longbotham started his tour at NGA in 2015 as an analyst and NGA liaison to the Defense Intelligence Agency. While at DIA, he was the sole NGA representative to the Office of Counterintelligence. He now works full-time at NGA's headquarters in the Analysis directorate working on counterintelligence projects.

DIA Announces Death of Former Director, Lieutenant General Leonard H. Perroots, USAF (Retired)

January 30, 2017

WASHINGTON — Lt.Gen. Leonard H. Perroots, U.S. Air Force who served as 8th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from October 1985 to December 1988, died January 29, 2017 after a short illness.

During his tenure as DIA Director, the agency focused on a shifting national security environment, including changes within the Soviet Union, the Iran-Iraq War and the threats of terrorism, narcotics trafficking, global volatility and low intensity conflict. Under Perroots' leadership, DIA received its first Joint Meritorious Unit Award for intelligence support during the TWA and ACHILLE LAURO hijackings, the crisis in the Philippines, and support to military operations against Libya.

As DIA Director, Lt.Gen. Perroots worked with Dept. of Defense leadership to enhance the National Military Intelligence Center (NMIC) and collocate the NMIC with the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Military Command Center to better fuse operations and intelligence during crises at the national level. Following the Goldwater-Nichols Act designation of DIA as a "Combat Support Agency" in 1986, Lt.Gen. Perroots spearheaded the effort to improve DIA cooperation with the Unified and Specified Commands by developing a joint intelligence doctrine.

A Morgantown, West Virginia native, Perroots received a bachelor of science degree from West Virginia University in 1955 and a master of arts degree in international affairs from George Washington University in 1975. He also was a distinguished graduate of the National War College, Washington, D.C.

He entered active duty in May 1955 and served as an Air Force intelligence officer in the U.S. and overseas. Prior to his assignment as DIA Director, Lt.Gen. Perroots served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force and Commander of the Air Force Intelligence Service in Washington DC.  He was appointed the director of DIA October 1, 1985.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

National Intelligence University Begins Historic Move; Main Campus leaving Washington, DC after 55 Years

January 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — National Intelligence University (NIU) is relocating to a new facility on the Intelligence Community Campus in Bethesda, Maryland (ICC-B). The phased move of the NIU main campus out of the District of Columbia to Bethesda began in December and will be completed in late February.

The move has been termed an inflection point in the institution's 55-year history; it is the culmination of the evolution of NIU from a Defense Department schoolhouse to an accredited university serving the entire U.S. Intelligence Community. The new state-of-the-art facility in Bethesda, designed by a firm specializing in academic architecture, is the result of a significant capital investment by intelligence community leadership in the career development of future leaders of the intelligence and national security communities.

Originally established in 1962 as the Defense Intelligence School, the NIU has been located on military bases throughout its history - on Anacostia Naval Station from 1963-1984, and inside the Defense Intelligence Agency Headquarters from 1984 to present. The move to Bethesda follows the school's 2011 renaming as the National Intelligence University.  

NIU is an accredited federal degree-granting institution that offers two master's degrees, a bachelor's degree and a growing number of graduate certificate programs. It is a member of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.  

Its graduates are past, present, and future leaders in the intelligence and national security communities and in the private sector.

Notable alumni include a former director of national intelligence; former directors of CIA, NSA, DIA, and NGA; current and former heads of military intelligence; ambassadors, members of congress, and a growing number of senior government executives and corporate leaders. For more information, visit www.ni-u.edu.

IARPA Announces the "Nail to Nail Fingerprint Challenge" To Develop Next Generation Fingerprints

January 26, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, today launches the "Nail to Nail Fingerprint Challenge." The challenge aims to improve live and forensic biometric fingerprint recognition by improving biometric fingerprint collection and recognition systems, eliminating plain fingerprint captures.

N2N fingerprints capture the entire fingerprint from the edge of one finger nail bed to the other. The existing N2N standard utilizes a trained human operator who holds and physically 'rolls' the subject's fingerprints over a surface in order to capture the complete print. Slap (or plain) fingerprints, an alternative form of capture, utilize a single press method that does not require human operation. However, they only capture the parts of the finger touching the sensor, providing significantly less surface area and decreased matching performance for live and latent fingerprint recognition. With this challenge, IARPA seeks to produce an automated N2N capture technology that can eliminate the need for human operators while collecting data that performs as good as or better than the traditional rolled biometric gold standard for matching other live collection or forensic fingerprints.

The Challenge will officially run in two stages through the fall of 2017 and conclude in a final live test where finalists will be invited to test out their devices in the Washington DC metro area. Their captures will then be compared to ground truth data and finalists will be eligible to win prizes from a total prize purse of $325,000.

IARPA is conducting this challenge to invite the broader research community of industry and academia, to participate in a convenient, efficient, and non-contractual way.

To learn more about the N2N Fingerprint Challenge, including rules, criteria and eligibility requirements, visit https://www.iarpa.gov/challenges/n2n/n2n.html. For update­­s, follow  @IARPAnews on Twitter and join the conversation using #iarpa2Nchallenge.  For any questions, please contact us at N2NChallenge@iarpa.gov.

IARPA invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs to tackle some of the most difficult challenges of the agencies and disciplines in the Intelligence Community. Additional information on IARPA and its research may be found on https://www.iarpa.gov.

NGA Appoints New Director of Plans and Programs

January 25, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, VA — Anthony Vinci, Ph.D., was named NGA director of plans and programs, responsible for managing and developing future concepts and collaboration across NGA. He will begin his new position Jan. 30.

Vinci is a technology entrepreneur, executive and intelligence officer who has developed new technologies and approaches to solve emerging, global challenges. Vinci is the founder of Findyr, a crowdsourced data collection company.

"Anthony brings a unique background and set of skills to NGA and our leadership team," said NGA Director Robert Cardillo. "His experience will be invaluable as we coordinate and accelerate our work in areas like agile acquisition, modeling, crowdsourcing, code development, disparate data sets and anticipatory analysis."

Previously, Vinci was a member of the executive management team of a machine learning company, technology advisor to a private equity firm and worked with a global management firm. Vinci served as a staff officer at the Department of Defense in Iraq, Africa, Asia and throughout the Middle East. He received his Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and studied at Reed College and Oxford University. He is published extensively on topics of security and strategy, and recently served as one of NGA's independent advisors.

The previous director of plans and programs, Misty Tullar, will join the National Reconnaissance Office as the director of business plans and operations.

Closing the Book on bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases Final Abbottabad Documents

January 19, 2017

Third, Final Tranche Echoes Earlier Revelations in "Bin Laden's Bookshelf" Series

Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year effort to declassify several hundred documents recovered in the raid on Usama bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound in May 2011.  This final batch of documents mirrors themes in previous releases, including bin Laden's:

  • Focus on the United States and the West as the primary enemy
  • Hatred, suspicion of Iran and a foreboding forecast of a major Sunni-Shia clash
  • Criticism of the ISIL (then al-Qa'ida in Iraq) brand of terrorism, cautioning against undisciplined targeting and the importance of gaining support, consensus-building, and providing for the needs of a populace before declaring an Islamic State

"Bin Laden later in life recognized how terrorist organizations are prone to brutal violence that alienates the support they are so desperate to attract, but he and his successors could do little to temper the rise of ISIL and the next generation of zealots," said one analyst from the interagency team.

This release aligns with the president's call for increased transparency—consistent with national security prerogatives—and the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act, which required the ODNI to conduct a review of the documents for release. 

Beginning in October 2014 and with DNI approval, the CIA spearheaded a rigorous interagency review of the classified documents under the auspices of the White House's National Security Council staff.  Representatives from seven agencies combed through the documents—with the goals of increasing transparency and responding to the congressionally-directed action.

"The declassified documents reveal bin Laden's strategy for upending global politics through protracted violent conflict directed primarily against the United States and the West.  Bin Laden—like many terrorist leaders before him—was an idealist who romanticized terrorism as a way to right what he believed was wrong with the world—and lead to the re-creation of a lost utopia for his followers, a destructive vision that continues to spark violent conflict globally," the analyst said.

Given the large number of documents to review, and the increasing public demand to see them, the White House asked ODNI to declassify and release the documents as they were ready.  This is the third, final tranche to be released.  The first tranche was released May 20, 2015 and the second on March 1, 2016. 

Since the first release, the Intelligence Community has reviewed hundreds of additional documents for possible declassification and release.  The document-review process can be time consuming because—once a document is declassified—it cannot be reclassified. The IC needs to ensure no declassified document will directly injure efforts to keep the nation secure, including safeguarding sensitive sources and methods.

"While I am pleased to finally bring this interagency effort to its close, I would note that playing a small role in fostering increased government transparency by enabling the American public access to these historic documents is truly humbling," said the head of the interagency task force as she reflected on the end of the declassification review.

Faces of Defense Intelligence: The Honorable James R. Clapper, Jr.

January 18, 2017

WASHINGTON — "Whatever I did or people think I did or didn't do, I'm not sure I can gauge that personally very well as I walk out the door," said LtGen James Clapper upon leaving DIA in 1995." You do leave with somewhat of a sense of unfulfillment because there are still things to be fixed, problems to be resolved, etc. I guess I would rather leave it as modest as I can and say I hoped that people would think of me as someone who cared a lot about the mission, about the people that do it and try to make a difference, and let others judge whether I did or not."

Editor's note: The Faces of Defense Intelligence series highlights the accomplishments of former military and civilian intelligence personnel who exemplified the DIA's moto "excellence in defense of the nation." This iteration of the series focuses on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as he retires from service.

"Whatever I did or people think I did or didn't do, I'm not sure I can gauge that personally very well as I walk out the door," said LtGen James Clapper upon leaving DIA in 1995." You do leave with somewhat of a sense of unfulfillment because there are still things to be fixed, problems to be resolved, etc. I guess I would rather leave it as modest as I can and say I hoped that people would think of me as someone who cared a lot about the mission, about the people that do it and try to make a difference, and let others judge whether I did or not."

In 1963 a young Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate took his commission and started the Signal Intelligence Officers Course at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. In the 54 years to follow, James Clapper rose to the rank of lieutenant general and filled assignments as the director for intelligence at U.S. Pacific Command, deputy chief of staff for intelligence at Strategic Air Command, assistant chief of staff for intelligence for the U.S. Air Force, and was appointed as the director of the DIA in November 1991.

His retirement from military service in 1995, though distinguished, was not the end of his service to defense intelligence. After working in the private sector, Clapper became the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) from 2001-2006, then became the second under secretary of defense for Intelligence until 2010. For the last seven years, James Clapper filled the highest intelligence-related position in the U.S. as the director of national intelligence. During his career, he also served as a consultant for the House Intelligence Committee, the former Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Policy and Science Boards, as president of the Security Affairs Support Association, and on various government panels, boards, commissions and advisory groups. Throughout his storied career, Clapper exemplified leadership as well as DIA's motto of "excellence in defense of the nation."

Books will be written about Clapper and his intelligence career. His time as DIA director from November 1991 to August 1995 was noteworthy in itself, with accolades that continue to benefit the agency and wider intelligence community. As director of DIA, he oversaw some of the most significant changes in DIA history. In 1990 DIA had 20 official mission functions; by 1997 that number increased to 57.

Clapper arrived at DIA at a turbulent time. After nearly 50 years of conflict, the Soviet Union collapsed and with that came the end of the Cold War. This transition led to a call for significant cuts to the defense and intelligence budgets.

"There was a lot of pressure on the intelligence community in general and DIA specifically to reap the peace dividend, and there was a mandate from the Congress to reduce the community, which of course has an impact on DIA," Clapper said.

Conversely, the threat to U.S. interests was diversifying rather than dissipating. The U.S. had just concluded Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm against Iraq, demonstrating the continued possibility of large-scale conventional conflicts in a post-Cold War world, and the asymmetric threat from non-state actors was increasing. Requirements for intelligence support to senior policymakers and in support of military operations were not declining, despite the call for cuts.

"I became convinced that we had entered a critical phase in DIA's existence," Clapper said in a 1993 interview. "We needed to make a change … and we needed to make it now. Rather than allowing someone else to do it for us, we chose to do it ourselves."

Clapper wanted to improve DIA's ability to provide intelligence to defense customers, particularly the warfighting commands, but that seemed incompatible with the budget cuts and expansion of missions. To manage the changes, he implemented a sweeping reorganization others have described as a "watershed" event in the agency's history. Although parts of the reorganization were controversial, they helped DIA weather the budget cuts while maintaining strong core capabilities. These efforts were recognized in October 1996 when DIA received its fourth Joint Meritorious Unit Award from the secretary of defense, spanning the period from June 1994 to September 1996.

In 1992, the Defense Authorization Act expanded DIA's management of imagery exploitation, analysis and dissemination. The legislation also significantly expanded DIA's role in defense science and technology matters. In this realm, DIA became the IC's functional manager for measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) in 1992. Additionally, Congress directed that the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC), now the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC) become DIA field production activities. Both organizations were relied upon heavily during Clapper's tenure with the expansion of DoD support to humanitarian and nonproliferation efforts, and continue to play vital roles today. Nevertheless, the incorporation of the new missions, thousands of additional billets, and dispersed offices outside of DIA Headquarters posed additional management challenges.

Clapper also consolidated human intelligence (HUMINT) in the Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) to preserve the department's ability to manage HUMINT under the constraints of diminishing resources while more rapidly and efficiently focusing the HUMINT elements of the department on targets worldwide. According to Clapper, this was his most important accomplishment during his tenure as director.

"It was hugely controversial," Clapper said. "The rationale was, at the time, that since each of the services had their own management structures and hierarchies that savings would accrue by generating more tooth and less tail by folding the strategic HUMINT billets from the services into DIA, but keeping its joint flavor, and thereby saving on management overhead."

Clapper presented the proposal for the creation of a unified HUMINT service at the annual Joint Review of Intelligence Programs June 11, 1993, which culminated in the Perry Plan in November of that year. This decision prompted positive change both within DIA and in defense intelligence. By October 1995, DHS had more than 2,000 personnel stationed in over 100 locations, including Washington, D.C., supporting DoD missions. DHS met the Perry Plan initial operating capability date of Oct. 1, 1996.

Despite budget cuts, Clapper was committed to maintaining a high level of support to military operations, which required tough decisions and thinking outside the box. In August 1992, Clapper tasked the Joint Chiefs of Staff Directorate for Intelligence (J2) to formulate a concept of operations (CONOPS) for a National Intelligence Support Team (NIST) to be a single point of contact providing national-level, all-source intelligence support from the entire IC to deployed commanders during crisis or contingency operations. NISTs deployed 13 times in the 1990s, acting as a critical link between national- and tactical-level intelligence.

Another step Clapper took in bolstering intelligence support to customers was seeking new technological solutions to communicate information. In September 1990, he signed the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) charter, marking the founding of the intelligence community's global, high-speed, classified network. JWICS began with only a few select customers, including the J2, but grew rapidly to a must-have innovation for flag-level officers. After a visit by then-President Bill Clinton to the Pentagon, JWICS was installed in the White House Situation Room. By 1994, the JWICS program office grew from three to 12 employees, and the number of sites rose from the initial three to approximately 50. Today, because of those decisions, JWICS empowers warfighters, intelligence analysts and national decision-makers across the government with a robust, reliable and flexible IP-based communications infrastructure.

Upon his assumption as director, Clapper was also involved in a budget management battle. One of his most important responsibilities was as program manager for the General Defense Intelligence Program (GDIP). The March 1991 plan to restructure management of the GDIP by placing the staff and authority with the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I), who was a political appointee, raised the risk of politicizing DIA's intelligence support. The plan would have meant the DIA director had no program-execution authority over the GDIP, though technically responsible for managing that program. Clapper wanted to ensure the director's role as the GDIP program manager came with the necessary authorities, and his efforts to raise concerns played an influential role in restoring authority to DIA.

Clapper's tenure marked a significant milestone in the agency's history for other reasons as well. For some, most important was Clapper's efforts to emphasize that DIA was part of a larger IC. Clapper commissioned a joint intelligence center (JIC)/joint analysis center (JAC) study, designated himself as the director of military intelligence, and implemented the DoD Intelligence Production Program—a concept revolutionary in its time, which remains valid. During Clapper's era, JICs and JACs were established in the commands and Clapper led a broader defense intelligence community in his role as GDIP manager.

"It was really the beginning of a new era for DIA," said former DIA Chief of Staff Louis Andre observed.

While all these changes were occurring, Clapper's transformations were paying real-time dividends to policymakers and warfighters alike. DIA provided vital geographic, military capabilities, operational, and battle damage assessment intelligence to numerous operations, for which DIA received another Joint Meritorious Unit Award. The award highlighted the "unprecedented level of intelligence support…to meet the real-time requirements of national decision-makers and joint and coalition military commanders…[T]he agency provided vital intelligence to the White House and senior officials during operations in Iraq, to policymakers and on-site operational units in Somalia, offshore Haiti and supporting United Nations Forces in the former Yugoslavia, and to decision-makers during tense periods in Russia and on the Korean Peninsula."

Clapper maintained that the reorganization, along with "rethinking" the way defense intelligence did business, fit well with the emerging military environment of regional contingencies. Then-Chairman of the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN Colin Powell pointed to the significant reforms in defense intelligence in his February 1993 Report on the Roles, Missions and Functions of the Armed Forces. A major intelligence success, he noted, was the creation of a forward-based JIC, and explained that as a result of the secretary's 1991 defense intelligence reorganization, it was currently being institutionalized for all the combatant commands.

"You've engineered a true revolution in the joint intelligence business that, frankly, no one else could have pulled off," Powell wrote to Clapper at the end of his DIA tenure.

There is no doubt the 1990s marked a milestone in DIA's history. In the 1980s, DIA had been largely focused on military planning, with the services providing the tactical intelligence support. Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm changed that. DIA came to the forefront in supporting the operating forces, and the agency's role grew with Clapper's retooling. In many ways DIA's operational support role can be traced to the end of the Cold War and introduction of the new post-Cold War era under his leadership.

NSA's Women in STEM: Diverse Roots Add Up

January 18, 2017

Numerous studies have documented roadblocks to success for women working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) - from fewer promotions and leadership appointments to lower salaries.

Minority women in those fields often face additional challenges, researchers have noted.

At the National Security Agency, workforce diversity matters. It is essential to the continued development of innovations that keep us ahead of adversaries. Our stellar women in STEM areas are often front and center - not in the Hollywood sense, but behind the scenes to help defend the nation. Many of them also know first-hand what it's like to experience negativity based on gender and race and how to overcome it.

Read more about what three of NSA's stars - who've earned doctorates in mathematics or computer science - have to say about their paths to success, and why they consider NSA the ideal place for them to shine.

Dr. Aziza Jefferson:

Dr. Aziza Jefferson
What made you choose NSA and why have you stayed?

I first applied for NSA's Summer Program for Operations Research Technology (SPORT) internship. The summer internship advertised interesting work. Once in the internship I decided to return full time because I found that I could truly help other people by solving interesting problems. I am not only able to use my mathematical skills, but engage my interests in other fields as well.

What are some of the challenges you've faced as a black woman in your field?

I have encountered challenges in achieving peer acceptance. There have been multiple encounters when my achievements were questioned. Although I have experienced adversity, my mother provided a strong support system for me and her encouragement has helped me overcome many obstacles.

Dr. Valerie Nelson:

Dr. Valerie Nelson
How did you become interested in your field?

I have always loved to learn and be a problem solver so, naturally, I was interested in a range of career fields. When it came down to deciding a college major, I could not make up my mind! I knew I wanted to teach, but I did not want to go solely into education. My father always told us that mathematics was at the root of everything, just after knowing how to read, so I chose math, which grants me the option of working in any field that I choose.

What is your greatest achievement at NSA, thus far?

This is a difficult question for me. I have experienced many technical accomplishments and numerous examples where I affected significant impact on our mission, but what is most important to me is the welfare of people. People deserve to be safe, comfortable and granted the opportunity to be successful and productive. I recently received the Director's Excellence in Leadership Award, and that was a key moment for me, primarily because it was a peer-nominated award but selected by our leadership. This award was proof that my efforts truly improve people's lives and effectively make things happen. My other awards and successes do not compare to that fact alone.

Dr. Philicity Williams:

Dr. Philicity Williams
Have you experienced adversity being a minority in your field? If so, how did you overcome it?

I have experienced adversity being one of the only or very few females and often the only person of color in various settings with other technical peers. Being the only one can cause feelings of isolation and cause some self-doubt in my technical abilities. I've overcome it by including other women and people of color whenever possible - mentoring and championing diversity, and not allowing the feelings of doubt or fear to stop me from trying.

What advice do you have for the younger generation of women interested in STEM fields?

Stick with it. Don't be afraid to be the only girl or to try something new. Also, check with your local universities to see what type of programs are offered during the summer to grow and enhance your skills in a variety of STEM disciplines until you find the one you vibe with most.

U.S. Air Force and City of St. Louis Take Next Step Toward N2W

January 13, 2017

​SPRINGFIELD, VA. — The option to acquire property for construction of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's west headquarters was executed between the U.S. Air Force and the City of St. Louis Jan. 6.

The step assures the government's intent to procure the site — located at the corner of north Jefferson and Cass avenues in north St. Louis City — and is required for the project to remain on schedule. Land acquisition is slated for the end of fiscal year 2017.

NGA designated the north St. Louis City site as the Next NGA West location in June 2016 with an anticipated move-in date of 2022.

DNI Clapper Statement on Conversation with President-elect Trump

January 11, 2017

This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last Friday. I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.

We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it. I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.

President-elect Trump again affirmed his appreciation for all the men and women serving in the Intelligence Community, and I assured him that the IC stands ready to serve his Administration and the American people.  

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

National Intelligence Council Releases Global Trends Report

January 9, 2017

Unclassified Assessment of the Strategic Landscape Identifies Changing Nature of Power

The National Intelligence Council today released its quadrennial Global Trends Report. The report—"The Paradox of Progress"—is rooted in conversations with more than 2,500 people around the world from all walks of life in more than 35 countries.

The report examines how trends will converge at an unprecedented pace to make governing and cooperation harder and to change the nature of power—fundamentally altering the global landscape. Economic, technological and security trends, especially, will expand the number of states, organizations, and individuals able to act in consequential ways. Within states, political order will remain elusive and tensions high until societies and governments renegotiate their expectations of one another. Between states, the post-Cold War, unipolar moment has passed and the post-1945 rules based international order may be fading too. Some major powers and regional aggressors will seek to assert interests through force but will find results fleeting as they discover traditional, material forms of power less able to secure and sustain outcomes in a context of proliferating veto players.

The National Intelligence Council for nearly two decades has prepared for an incoming or returning US Presidential administration an unclassified assessment of the strategic landscape, reflecting insights gathered from around the world. The Global Trends reports consistently shape strategic conversations globally, are used extensively by US government planners and strategists, and are read by millions.

ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections

January 6, 2017

On December 9, 2016, President Barack Obama directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review and produce a comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections.  We have completed this report and briefed President Obama as well as President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership.  We declassified a version of this report for the public, consistent with our commitment to transparency while still protecting classified sources and methods. 

The Intelligence Community did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election, and DHS assesses that the types of systems the Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying. 

This declassified version of the report is being released to the public and can be accessed via IC on the Record.