In the modern era, there is great convergence in the technologies used by friendly nations and by hostile ones. Signals intelligence agencies find themselves penetrating the technologies that they also at times must protect. To ease this tension, the United States and its partners have relied on an approach sometimes called Nobody But Us, or NOBUS: target communications mechanisms using unique methods accessible only to the United States. This paper examines how the NOBUS approach works, its limits, and the challenging matter of what comes next.
J. Matthew McInnis is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the former Senior Expert for Iran at the US Central Command from 2010-2013. At AEI he focuses on Iran’s intentions, strategic culture, and military posture as well as Tehran’s foreign policies towards the US and throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. McInnis also works on broader US regional security issues in the Middle East and on the effectiveness of the US intelligence community. He is regularly called to give expert testimony before Congress and his public writing is frequently featured in The National Interest and Newsweek as well as The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, Fortune, CNN, Real Clear Defense, and other media. For more on J. Matthew McInnis, click here.