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DOD and the DNI Open Source Center--Building the Partnership.

Growing Outreach to the Combatant Commands

Department of Defense (DOD) components represent the largest segment of the Director, National Intelligence (DNI) Open Source Center's (OSC) customer base, and many of its organizations have long-standing relationships with the Center and its predecessor, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). Strengthening and expanding those partnerships and the level of collaboration is a keystone of the Center's strategic objectives. The partnership with the nine Combatant Commands (COCOMs) is especially important because of their broad and direct role in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and because of the many significant OS activities resident in some of the commands. Over the last year, the OSC has taken a number of steps to build on what was already a solid working relationship. The goal has been to more closely engage the commands to form mutually beneficial relationships in exploiting OS and carrying out media analysis in support of the warfighters' mission.

A First-Ever Meeting

Most notable among the growing contacts between the Center and the commands was the first-ever FBIS-DOD Under secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) Conference, held outside Washington D.C. in July 2005. The jointly sponsored conference focused on developing strategies and recommendations for facilitating closer and more effective OS support to the COCOMs and the National Guard. More specifically, the conference was intended to provide a forum that would facilitate the sharing of information on OS collection, analysis, and dissemination, and the identification of opportunities for collaboration between the then FBIS and the COCOMs. It was the first time that the OSC had met with all the Commands together. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the various OS units to connect.

Nearly 100 participants, about evenly divided between DOD and the OSC, attended the three-day conference. On the DOD side, in addition to participants from the Commands and the National Guard, attendees included the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the other key combat support agencies, as well as the National Virtual Translation Center (NVTC), which is housed in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but provides extensive support to the COCOMs. Program managers, key project managers, and subject-matter experts from the OSC participated and provided insights into the Center's collection and analytical capabilities. The conference attracted considerable high-level attention within the Intelligence Community (IC) because of the growing recognition of the important role of OS in support of military operations.

The first day of the conference was built around a series of presentations by the OSC, the COCOMs, and the National Guard, creating a baseline understanding of coverage responsibilities, capabilities, and challenges. These presentations set the stage for the working groups that focused on key issues raised by the commands:

[] Managing OSINT requirements.

[] Information sharing and dissemination.

[] Leveraging subject-matter experts.

[] Technology enablers.

The second and third days centered on work in four smaller break-out sessions, ending with presentations that included recommendations for moving forward in the four key issue areas. Several themes became quickly apparent as the groups came back together to present their findings. On the positive side:

[] OS has emerged as an important source of intelligence from the bottom up, rather than being driven from the top down.

[] OS provides alert functions and is often the only reporting available to respond to requests.

[] The demand for OS support will continue to grow very quickly.

At the same time, however, virtually all of the commands and the National Guard face common challenges in meeting OS requirements, most notably:

[] Unclassified information does not compete well against classified information--a culture of "If it's unclassified, it must not have value" still pervades the IC.

[] OS collection is poorly funded and units are understaffed.

[] The lack of access to the Internet at the desktop is a huge obstacle to OS collection and analysis.

[] Defense OS cells have no training in media analysis and lack language capabilities.

[] There is no clear external point of contact or central responsibility for OS support for the military.

[] Legal interpretation of the use of publicly available (i.e, open) sources is varied and inconsistent.

[] Access to OS research tools is limited or even nonexistent.

Conference participants worked to develop a common understanding of these challenges and to formulate some strategies and recommendations to address them in the near and long term. Participants flowed through the four key interest area sessions, first defining the issues, then developing strategies and possible "quick wins," as well as potential "red flags." On the last morning the original groups met again and developed recommendations and quick wins that were then briefed and discussed by all the attendees.

By all accounts the conference was a success, marking a strong start toward building a long-term productive, mutually beneficial relationship. The OSC plans to hold a community-wide conference within a year to build on and expand the work of this first joint OSC-DOD OS conference.

Supporting the Information Operations Mission

Information Operations (10) dovetail tightly into the mission of the OSC, and the Center already plays a role in the command's Strategic Communications initiative. The OSC is well positioned to broaden support to the command's multi-faceted 10 mission at several key points through--

[] Media surveys that can help identify how key demographic groups obtain news and generally stay informed.

[] Tailored coverage that can help gauge public and official reaction to the Commands' theater engagement activities in their respective areas of responsibility (AORs) as well as other U.S. diplomatic and economic relationships in the regions.

[] Collection of gray literature, which can provide a good sense of public opinion on a local level.

The Ongoing Partnerships as Forerunners

Strong ties that exist now between the COCOMs and the OSC illustrate the potential for the growing partnerships in the following areas.

Geospatial Information

The unique service provided by the OSC and its predecessor organizations, especially the skills and knowledge of what type of mapping and geographic information is openly available and how to apply it, has drawn the attention of military services for more than 60 years. Fully 25 percent of the geospatial information disseminated by the OSC goes to the military, ranging from the COCOMs to individual small units. The military has called on OSC's expertise for operations from noncombatant evacuations in the wars in Africa to combat operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Working with the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), the OSC obtained road and navigation data to assist in contingency planning for rescue and reconstruction efforts for natural disasters and humanitarian relief efforts for India, Korea, and other countries. Such information as road surfaces, bridge types, harbor depths, and port facilities allow the SDDC to plan sea and land routes for heavy equipment and personnel to heavily populated as well as out-of-the-way locations in the event of an emergency.

Commands and service components frequently turn to the OSC as a source of commercial and foreign mapping to augment what is available from other government agencies. In advance of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Special Operations Command used OSC-provided data to plan operations and set up bases. In Iraq, DOD units turned to the OSC to obtain useful and openly available information detailing addresses and ownership of buildings and other property. The OSC converted the information into digital maps that was then incorporated into "MapQuest[TM]"-like products allowing service personnel to narrow down coordinates to within a house of a desired location as opposed to within a neighborhood. That ability minimizes collateral damage in the event of firefights as well as the time troops have to spend in potentially hostile environments. Prior to this effort, units had to sift through mounds of paper in order to find a neighborhood or a street address. Whereas previously, hours were spent to find a location, finding locations in cities for which address data is available now takes minutes.

Collection and Product Support

A striking example of DOD-OSC cooperation takes place in the Pacific Command (PACOM) AOR where the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade's Asian Studies Detachment (ASD) at Camp Zama (See David Reese's article on the ASD in this issue of MIPB) has created links with an OSC Bureau in Asia and the OS Academy at OSC headquarters. Coordination between ASD and the OSC resulted in the OSC taking on the daily headline summary of the on-line version of the leading Chinese military newspaper, freeing up an ASD resources to focus on other important mission tasks. ASD makes its monthly acquisitions list available to OSC analysts and provides copies of requested materials, expanding the amount of OS data available from the region for OSC to exploit, saving resources by reducing redundant collection. Consistent with the community's broad goal of increasing product availability, OSC is rehosting ASD's Force Protection and Situational Awareness Report, posting it on OSC's unclassified, Internet-based dissemination platform--OpenSource.gov. (See Douglas Peak's article on OpenSource.gov in this issue.) Finally, ASD has taken advantage of OSC's drive to support OS training across the government by sending two senior managers to participate in core courses at its OS Academy.

Acquisition of Open Source Material

The OS Acquisition Center (OSAC), a branch of the OSC library, supports several military installations by supplying them with foreign publications ordered from U.S. embassies and OSC bureaus around the world. OSAC supplies customers with a variety of military, government, political, and economic publications as well as a cross section of newspapers. Several military customers, including the Defense Language Institute, have a heavy need for Asian titles, especially those from China and Korea.

OSAC also supports ad hoc special requests from commands. For example, it arranged the purchase and delivery of several Mexico City telephone directories to the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) through the embassy procurement officer. OSAC initiated the process after contact by NORTHCOM and after verifying availability, cost, and shipping methods before handing completion of the transaction directly to the embassy and NORTHCOM.

Boundless Opportunities

With its mandate to build a community enterprise through a distributed architecture of OS collection and exploitation across the government, the OSC hopes to work with the COCOMs and the entire DOD to deconflict strategies and minimize redundancy. In conjunction with colleagues across the OS community, the Center will develop and provide a number of centralized services that will include tradecraft training, the building of common procedures and policies related to such issues as copyright and use of the Internet, and content procurement. The OSC is exploring the viability of detailing an OS officer to a command to learn more about how the commands operate and to test the viability of on-site support that has direct reach back to the Center. Meanwhile, ASD and OSC are considering the possibility of a personnel exchange on the small-unit level to achieve similar goals. Such forward deployment and personnel exchanges are the natural next step toward a broader and deeper partnership between OSC and the DOD. We look forward to the not-so-distant future when DOD uniformed and civilian personnel are working side-by-side with colleagues from across the community in the OSC.

Editor's Note: There are four articles from the DNI Open Source Center in this issue of MIPB. Two of the articles, DOD and the DNI Open Source Center-Building the Partnership and The Open Source Academy Helps the Intelligence Community Make the Most of Open Sources, are unclassified. The other two articles, History of Open Source Exploitation in the Intelligence Community and OpenSource.gov, are FOUO and can be found on the sensitive but unclassified (SBU) "side" of MIPB. Request a user's account to read these and other articles at the MIPB Home Page, http://www.umi-online.us/mipb. For more information on the Open Source Center, call Customer Service at 1.800.205.8615.
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Title Annotation:Department of Defense; Director, National Intelligence
Author:Peak, Douglas
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:1948
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