Showing posts with label Intelligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Intelligence. Show all posts

18 September 2017

The future of intelligence analysis: computers versus the human brain?

Last month in The Strategist, Mark Gilchrist put down a wager that computers will ‘be unable to provide any greater certainty than a team of well-trained and experienced analysts who understand the true difficulty of creating order from chaos’. While I commend Mark’s bravery in predicting the future with such certainty, I suspect that, in time, he’ll lose his money. I’d also argue that his zero-sum perspective sets an impossible standard for human analysts and algorithms—whether basic or self-learning. Reducing the intelligence problem down to ‘making sense of war’s inherent unpredictability’ doesn’t do this field of endeavour any justice.

Discussing ‘intelligence’ theory and practice is made all the more difficult by the absence of any universally accepted definition. Nevertheless, talking about intelligence processes and outputs without referring to any intelligence theory leads to inherently inaccurate assumptions—a point Rod Lyon and I made last year in separate Strategist posts.

I’m firmly in Mark’s camp when it comes to the importance of qualitative analysis and the analytical ability of intelligence professionals to make assessments with incomplete datasets. But to do that work, intelligence analysts must have a clear understanding of the epistemological construction for their analysis: they must know what it means to know. Good intelligence tradecraft involves employing a range of analytical techniques to ensure that the validity and reliability of different assessments and explanations are tested.

15 September 2017

U.S. Intelligence Agencies in a Race for Skilled Workers

By Sandra Erwin

A massive change happened in the U.S. intelligence community after the 9/11 attacks. Agencies were realigned and bureaucracies expanded. Congress created the Director of National Intelligence position and the National Counterterrorism Center amid growing fears that the nation was unprepared for the jihadist threat.

There is now a brewing debate on whether the intelligence community — a collection of 17 agencies with an annual budget of about $54 billion — may have become too narrowly focused and slow to respond to a changing world. Analysts and foreign policy experts have sounded alarms in recent years as U.S. intelligence largely failed to predict the Arab Spring, the emergence of Russia and China as military competitors to the United States, North Korea’s advances in nuclear weapons, Iran’s rise as a regional power and the surge of the Islamic State.

Intelligence officials insist they recognize the problem and believe it will persist until agencies can fix their talent issues: namely that the government workforce needs more technically skilled workers, and agencies have to change how they work with the private sector.

“These are critical decisions for us: What skills do we invest in for the next five to 10 years?” said National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers, who also heads U.S. Cyber Command.

13 September 2017

A Botched Black Bag Job Reveals the Long Arm of Chinese Intelligence

By Scott Stewart

Medrobotics CEO Samuel Straface was leaving the office at about 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 28 when he noticed a man sitting in a conference room in the company's secure area, working on what appeared to be three laptop computers (one was later determined to be an iPad). Not recognizing the man as an employee or contractor, Straface, who did not identify himself, asked him what he was doing. The man replied that he had come for a meeting with the company's European sales director. The CEO said the sales director had been out of the country for three weeks. The man then stammered that he was supposed to be meeting with the company's head of intellectual property. Straface countered that he knew the department head didn't have a meeting scheduled for that time. Finally, the man claimed that he was there to meet CEO Samuel Straface. At that point, Straface confronted him.

The man said his name was Dong Liu and that he was a lawyer doing patent work for a Chinese law firm. He showed Straface a LinkedIn profile that listed him as a senior partner and patent attorney at the law firm of Boss & Young. Straface called the police, who arrested Liu for trespassing and referred the case to the FBI. On Aug. 30, the bureau filed a criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts charging Liu with one count of attempted theft of trade secrets and one count of attempted access to a computer without authorization. After his initial court appearance on Aug. 31, Liu was ordered held pending trial.

To understand Britain, read its spy novels

FEW countries have dominated any industry as Britain has dominated the industry of producing fictional spies. Britain invented the spy novel with Rudyard Kipling’s dissection of the Great Game in “Kim” and John Buchan’s adventure stories. It consolidated its lead with Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden stories and Graham Greene’s invention of “Greeneland”. It then produced the world’s two most famous spooks: James Bond, the dashing womaniser, and George Smiley, the cerebral cuckold, who reappears this week in a new book (see page 75).

What accounts for this success? One reason is the revolving door between the secret establishment and the literary establishment. Some of the lions of British literature worked as spies. Maugham was sent to Switzerland to spy for Britain under cover of pursuing his career as a writer. Greene worked for the intelligence services. Both Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond, and John le Carré, the creator of Smiley, earned their living as spies. Dame Stella Rimington, head of MI5 in 1992-96, has taken to writing spy novels in retirement. It is as if the secret services are not so much arms of the state as creative-writing schools.

Another reason is that British reality has often been stranger than fiction. The story of the “Cambridge spies”—Kim Philby, Anthony Blunt, Guy Burgess and the rest—is as far-fetched as it gets. One Soviet mole at the top of MI6 (Philby, who also worked for The Economist in Beirut); another even looking after the queen’s pictures (Blunt); a cover-up; a dash to the safety of the Soviet Union; larger-than-life characters such as the compulsively promiscuous and permanently sozzled Burgess.

11 September 2017

Artificial Intelligence and the Military

By Robert W. Button

The Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI). During a recent trip to Amazon, Google, and other Silicon Valley companies, Secretary of Defense James Mattis remarked that AI has “got to be better integrated by the DoD.” What do we mean by the term AI? In particular, what does “deep learning” mean? What are the advantages, disadvantages, and risks of using AI? What are potential additional military applications for AI?

What is AI?

AI is poorly understood in part because its definition is constantly evolving. As computers master additional tasks previously thought only possible by humans, the bar for what is considered “intelligent” rises higher. Recently, one of the most productive areas in the field of AI has been in technologies that can train software to learn and think on its own. This area is moving swiftly and appears to be accelerating. Simultaneously, “old school” AI using rule-based approaches are being abandoned. In the next decades, AI systems that can be trained, learn, and think independently will likely dominate the field of AI. This brings us to deep learning, a field that has made tremendous strides in recent years and generated considerable excitement.

5 September 2017

Is technology a threat to human intelligence?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

Some have been critical that defense and intelligence agencies appear to under-prioritize, under-resource and neglect human intelligence (HUMINT), as evidenced by declined funding.

To some degree, this is in favor of remote intelligence collection using modern and technological intelligence disciplines, including signals intelligence (SIGINT), image intelligence (IMINT) or communications intelligence (COMINT). These disciplines take intelligence from signals intercepts and both manned and unmanned assets in response to an increasingly complex world posing threats to human assets on the ground.

HUMINT, according to the CIA, is collected through clandestine acquisition of pictures, documents and other materials, overt collection by personnel overseas, debriefing of foreign nationals abroad and official contacts with foreign governments.

This perception of less reliance on HUMINT is best exemplified by a recent profile of a former U.S. diplomat by the Wall Street Journal, which points to potential pitfalls of relying solely on technological forms of intelligences at the perils of incorporating human intelligence. As the volume of HUMINT gathered from personal relationships began to decline, “In its place, policy makers in Washington turned to another form of information — the kind collected electronically and surreptitiously,” the profile said, citing security concerns in volatile Middle Eastern and South Asian countries post-9/11 preventing direct human contact.

1 September 2017

The Psychology Of Espionage

Dr. Ursula M. Wilder

People who commit espionage sustain double lives. When a person passes classified information to an enemy, he or she initiates a clandestine second identity. From that time on, a separation must be maintained between the person’s secret “spy” identity, with its clandestine activities, and the “non-spy” public self. The covert activities inescapably exert a powerful influence on the person’s overt life. They necessitate ongoing efforts at concealment, compartmentation, and deception of those not witting of the espionage, which includes almost everyone in the spy’s life. For some people, sustaining such a double identity is exciting and desirable; for others, it is draining and stressful. For a few heroic people, spying is a moral imperative that they would prefer to avoid but feel compelled to act on. This article focuses on spies whose espionage appears to be primarily self-interested, rather than altruistic or self-sacrificing. Within this criminal or treasonous type, specific psychological factors commonly occur, providing a guide to understanding the motives, behavior, and experiences of this type of spy. The risk of espionage can be reduced through understanding these psychological patterns and tailoring countermeasures accordingly.

31 August 2017

The Great US-China Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence Race

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into the U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Eleonore Pauwels – Director of Biology Collectives and Senior Program Associate, Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. – is the 104th in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.” 

Explain the motivation behind Chinese investment in U.S. genomics and artificial intelligence (AI).

With large public and private investments inland and in the U.S., China plans to become the next AI-Genomics powerhouse, which indicates that these technologies will soon converge in China.

China’s ambition is to lead the global market for precision medicine, which necessitates acquiring strategic technological and human capital in both genomics and AI. And the country excels at this game. A sharp blow in this U.S.-China competition happened in 2013 when BGI purchased Complete Genomics, in California, with the intent to build its own advanced genomic sequencing machines, therefore securing a technological knowhow mainly mastered by U.S. producers.

6 August 2017

Continuous Dissemination: Three Techniques for Improved Intelligence Support

by John G. Wildt and David Del Signore

In the 21st century, America’s adversaries are conducting operations and making decentralized decisions at increasing velocities. As intelligence professionals, we must provide timely intelligence support to maneuver commanders if we are to remain relevant. However, the traditional intelligence cycle itself has often stood in the way of our success during the last 15 years of counterinsurgency (COIN) and Gray Zone operations. Specifically, the fact that dissemination occurs at the end of the intelligence cycle has kept us at the mercy of the enemy’s decision cycle, which often has fewer constraints and is faster than ours. In order to fix this deficiency, the authors propose that “continuous dissemination” is the right mindset for 21st century military operations. Though nothing proposed in this article should be seen as revolutionary, the authors recognize that many intelligence professionals may not have had the advantage of deploying to and working in a high-op-tempo environment.

While serving as the intelligence staff for a special operations’ task force in Afghanistan in 2014, our team tested this approach and found the results to be excellent. We used three methods to ensure that we were synchronized with our maneuver elements. The first method we used was constant communication with the special operations teams we supported through the entire operational cycle. Some of our analysts were collocated with the teams to help plan operations, while other analysts at our headquarters made sure they disseminated all the intelligence they could find and develop. The second method we used was knowledge management. Our routine and predictable file architecture helped our supported teams find the information they needed, night or day. Finally, we worked hard to provide the best possible real time intelligence support once our teams were actively engaged with the enemy. Through trial and error, we developed what we believe is an excellent template for supporting troops in contact (TICs) with the enemy. We believe that these three methods together will provide intelligence professionals with an effective way to support their maneuver elements.

3 August 2017

Is Artificial Intelligence an Existential Threat?

It is not unusual for disrupting technologies to be embraced and feared—and not necessarily in that order. That was and will continue to be true for all technologies that bring both benefit and risk; it is a duality in which many technologies have to exist. Examples throughout history have been the airplane, the automobile, unmanned weapons systems, and now even software – especially the software which powers artificial intelligence (AI).

Last week at a U.S. governors’ conference, Elon Musk, the CEO of the engineering companies SpaceX and Tesla, reportedly told the assembled politicians that “AI is a fundamental existential risk for human civilization,” sounding the alarm bell. This is not the first time Musk has expressed this concern, he’s done so as early as 2014. Many have branded him a Cassandra, and if he is, he’s not a lone-wolf Cassandra; he’s joined in those views by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and other experts. It is not surprising there is an equal number of experts who question Musk’s concern and believe his alarm bell is tolling for a non-existent threat.

I am not an expert in AI, nor am I an AI practitioner; I’m more of a national security and intelligence philosopher. Therefore, I am not sure I want to debate a man who is one of the foremost entrepreneurs and risk-takers of his time. That said, it may prove useful to unpack the issues a bit and also discuss what we find in the context of AI’s use in defense of the nation.

2 August 2017

The artificial intelligence arms race

Cyberspace is now a territory where politics, economics, and foreign affairs are all contested – and Internet bots driven by artificial intelligence have emerged as key new actors, Andrej Zwitter writes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is pervading all aspects of our lives. As one of the primary methods of analysing unstructured and messy data sets, it has become synonymous with big data. And with much of the globally produced data being transmitted via the Internet, a new cyber landscape has emerged, a parallel digital world that still requires the carving out of territories and rules.

These territories are currently dominated by large corporate actors, such as search engines and social media networks, which themselves compete over access to the new raw material – data. It is roamed by vigilantes and cyber criminals. But states also need to define their own role in this new world.

In recognition of this need, states are increasingly investing in artificial intelligence. China recently announced an IT strategy focusing on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robotics. In doing so, the country is trying to ride the wave of renewed interest in emergent technologies around cyberspace, hoping to gain an economic advantage and position itself as technology leader by 2030. This foresight in national strategy might give China a decisive competitive edge over other countries that neglect the importance of artificial intelligence and robotics specifically for the emerging data economy.

26 July 2017

Pace of Change Complicates Signals Intelligence World, NSA Chief Says

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2017 — The National Security Agency has never seen the field of signals intelligence change as rapidly as it is right now, said agency director Navy Adm. Mike Rogers at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado today.

Washington Post columnist and best-selling author David Ignatius interviewed Rogers and Robert Hannigan, the former director of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, on the state of signals intelligence.

Rogers has worked in signals intelligence his entire 31 years in the Navy. He said technology is driving the rate of change in the field and enemies are embracing the advantages it provides. “I have never seen target sets change their communications profiles, to constantly upgrade their technology – whether it be a nation state or a group like [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] or al-Qaida,” he said. “The rate of change in our profession and the need for us to stay ahead of that keeps growing in complexity and speed.”

The measure of effectiveness for signals intelligence agencies is the ability to generate value, the admiral said. “If we focus on generating value for the citizens of the nation we defend [and] doing it within a legal and policy framework, that generates confidence in the citizens we support,” Rogers said.

21 July 2017

Elon Musk Says Artificial Intelligence Is the ‘Greatest Risk We Face as a Civilization’

David Z. Morris

Appearing before a meeting of the National Governor’s Association on Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk described artificial intelligence as “the greatest risk we face as a civilization” and called for swift and decisive government intervention to oversee the technology’s development. 

“On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” an unusually subdued Musk said in a question and answer session with Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. 

Musk has long been vocal about the risks of AI. But his statements before the nation’s governors were notable both for their dire severity, and his forceful call for government intervention. 

“AI’s a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation, instead of reactive. Because by the time we are reactive with AI regulation, it’s too late," he remarked. Musk then drew a contrast between AI and traditional targets for regulation, saying “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization, in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs, or bad food were not.” 

19 July 2017

Artificial Intelligence Will Help Hunt Daesh By December

By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

THE NEWSEUM: Artificial intelligence is coming soon to a battlefield near you — with plenty of help from the private sector. Within six months the US military will start using commercial AI algorithms to sort through its masses of intelligence data on the Islamic State.

“We will put an algorithm into a combat zone before the end of this calendar year, and the only way to do that is with commercial partners,” said Col. Drew Cukor.

Air Force intelligence analysts at work.

Millions of Humans?

How big a deal is this? Don’t let the lack of general’s stars on Col. Cukor’s shoulders lead you to underestimate his importance. He heads the Algorithmic Warfare Cross Function Team, personally created by outgoing Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to apply AI to sorting the digital deluge of intelligence data.

This isn’t a multi-year program to develop the perfect solution: “The state of the art is good enough for the government,” he said at the DefenseOne technology conference here this morning. Existing commercial technology can be integrated onto existing government systems.

“We’re not talking about three million lines of code,” Cukor said. “We’re talking about 75 lines of code… placed inside of a larger software (architecture)” that already exists for intelligence-gathering.

14 July 2017

Info Ops Officer Offers Artificial Intelligence Roadmap


Artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomy are central to the future of American war. In particular, the Pentagon wants to develop software that can absorb more information from more sources than a human can, analyze it and either advise the human how to respond or — in high-speed situations like cyber warfare and missile defense — act on its own with careful limits. Call it the War Algorithm, the holy grail of a single mathematical equation designed to give the US military near-perfect understanding of what is happening on the battlefield and help its human designers to react more quickly than our adversaries and thus win our wars. Our coverage of this issue attracted the attention of Capt. Chris Telley, an Army information operations officer studying at the Naval Postgraduate School. In this op-ed, he offers something of a roadmap for the Pentagon to follow as it pursues this highly complex and challenging goal. Read on! The Editor.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein

Artificial intelligence is to be the crown jewel of the Defense Department’s much-discussed Third Offset, the US military’s effort to prepare for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, “joint collaborative human-machine battle networks” are off to a slow, even stumbling, start. Recognizing that today’s AI is different from the robots that have come before, the Pentagon must seize what may be just a fleeting opportunity to get ahead on the adoption curve. Adapting the military to the coming radical change requires some simultaneous baby steps to learn first and buy second while growing leaders who can wield the tools of the fourth industrial revolution.

13 July 2017

Swarms at War: Chinese Advances in Swarm Intelligence

Source Link
By: Elsa Kania
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) anticipates that future warfare will be “unmanned, invisible, and silent” (“无人、无形、无声”战争), with ever higher degrees of “intelligentization” (智能化). [1] PLA strategists expect that future, autonomous combat involving unmanned systems, as well as the joint operations of unmanned and manned systems, will have a dramatic impact on traditional operational models (PLA Daily, January 5, 2016). Future UAV swarming (无人机集群) will involve “intelligentized” and semi- or fully autonomous systems. [2] The PLA recognizes the disruptive potential of these techniques, which could be used for saturation assaults (饱和攻击) to overwhelm the defenses of high-value targets, including perhaps U.S. fighter jets or aircraft carriers (Science and Technology Daily, March 29; China News Network, November 2, 2016; China Military Online, December 31, 2016).

Chinese advances in artificial intelligence, including deep learning techniques, have enabled considerable progress in swarm intelligence. There is technical and conceptual research, development, and testing ongoing across Chinese academic institutions, the private sector, defense industry, and military research institutes to support such capabilities. At this point, given the limited information available and the relative opacity of these efforts, it is difficult to compare U.S. and Chinese advances in swarm intelligence. Nonetheless, the PLA has closely tracked U.S. initiatives focused on swarm tactics (e.g., Science and Technology Daily, March 29; Science and Technology Daily, May 30, 2016) and seeks to develop countermeasures and comparable capabilities. Looking forward, the PLA’s advances in intelligent unmanned systems and swarm tactics could serve as a force multiplier for its future military capabilities.

12 July 2017

Artificial intelligence in here and now

Vanitha Narayanan

Today, even as automation is prevalent across industries, we have quickly moved to the age of robotics and artificial intelligence

The paradox of automation says the more efficient the automated systems, the more critical is the human contribution. Photo: Bloomberg

If I got a dollar every time artificial intelligence (AI) came up in a conversation around jobs, I would be very rich by now.

I want to spend a few minutes on the potential of AI—the way I see it. And let me tell you, it’s not in the future, it’s here and now. There is no point being an ostrich and burying our heads in the sand.

Automation has been part of our fabric since 1771, with the advent of the first fully automated spinning mill, and continues to be an integral part of every manufacturing process. Today, even as automation is prevalent across industries, we have quickly moved to the age of robotics and AI. Interestingly, the paradox of automation says the more efficient the automated systems, the more critical is the human contribution.

5 July 2017

What’s now and next in analytics, AI, and automation

Innovations in digitization, analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation are creating performance and productivity opportunities for business and the economy, even as they reshape employment and the future of work. Rapid technological advances in digitization and data and analytics have been reshaping the business landscape, supercharging performance, and enabling the emergence of new business innovations and new forms of competition. At the same time, the technology itself continues to evolve, bringing new waves of advances in robotics, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), and especially machine learning. Together they amount to a step change in technical capabilities that could have profound implications for business, for the economy, and more broadly, for society.
Table of contents

The opportunity available now Some companies are gaining a competitive edge with their use of data and analytics, which can enable faster and larger-scale evidence-based decision making, insight generation, and process optimization. But there is room to catch up and to excel. Harnessing digitization’s potential is similarly uneven.

Data and analytics are transformational, yet many companies are capturing only a fraction of their value Data and analytics have been changing the basis of competition in the years since our first report on big data in 2011. Leading companies are using their capabilities not only to improve their core operations but also to launch entirely new business models. The network effects of digital platforms are creating a winner-take-most dynamic in some markets. Yet while the volume of available data has grown exponentially in recent years, most companies are capturing only a fraction of the potential value in terms of revenue and profit gains.

25 June 2017

Russia May Have Accidentally Revealed Their New Military Satellites

Key points: 

Analysis of the photograph by Jane’s Intelligence Review identifies what appears to be a previously unknown Russian military satellite program named ‘Repei.’ 
The photograph was released following a low-profile visit by Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu to the ISS Reshtnev satellite factory near Krasnoyarsk. 
It is possible the photograph was released as part of an intentional leak — Russia has used this tactic in the past. 

However, the absence of the photograph from the Russian MoD website suggests that the leak may have been unintentional. 
On June 6, a delegation headed by Russian Minister of Defence (MoD) Sergei Shoigu visited the ISS Reshetnev satellite factory near Krasnoyarsk. Intended to acquaint Russia’s leadership with the company’s military products, it was a relatively low-key visit that was not even mentioned on the company’s website. 

Several photographs of the visit taken by a TASS photographer were released by the Russian MoD and subsequently appeared on the Press Association and Getty websites.

One of the photographs showed the delegation inspecting a board containing information on a geostationary satellite identified as the ‘Repei-S’ and what appears to be a sister satellite named ‘Repei-V’ that will fly in highly elliptical orbits. Significantly, the name Repei (meaning ‘burdock’) had not previously been associated with any Russian satellite project known in open sources.

What are the Repei satellites?

The satellite shown in the photograph has a pair of large antennae, indicating it could be either a communications satellite or a signals intelligence (SIGINT) satellite intended for intelligence collection. Writing in a forthcoming feature for Jane’s Intelligence Review, Bart Hendrickx, an experienced observer of the Russian space program and co author of the book Energiya-Buran: The Soviet Space Shuttle, he assesses that Repei may be one of two things: 

23 June 2017

Intelligence community must embrace the digital era: DIA director

By: Rachael Kalinyak

“What kind of future will we embrace?” 

This question echoed throughout Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart’s speech at the 2017 GEOINT Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency spoke about the risks the intelligent community faces, including becoming irrelevant in a technology-driven era. To make his point, he mentioned the challenges faced by the Kodak film company as digital photography first entered the picture. Embracing the digital age is critical for intelligence community, he said. 

The desire to stay in the past, live in the success of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and stick to the techniques that have proven to be successful is strong, Stewart said. But he noted that failing to embrace the digital world will only lead the intelligence community to extinction. 

“We are not indispensable unless we are relevant to our customers, all of them,” Stewart said, explaining that the notion that “our success in the past is good enough for our success in the future” is wrong. This idea stifles innovation, stopping those who wish to help shape the future. To remain relevant, the intelligence community must learn to nurture innovation and take risks. 

After concluding his speech, Stewart noted a military downfall that has occurred in recent years — wargaming.