The Intelligence Community (IC) plays a vital role in defense of the Nation. They are entrusted with accurately collecting, analyzing, and delivering foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information for America’s leaders who, in turn, make sound decisions to protect the country. The IC conducts decision support by connecting, inferring meaning from, and making analytic judgments about disparate data sets. However, this is easier said than done when the sheer magnitude of data points available today can overwhelm a human’s ability to review and analyze it in a timely manner. Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, supercomputing, and 5G can help, but for various reasons addressed in this report, it often takes too long to employ emerging technology rapidly throughout the IC.
To compound the issue, the IC is made up of separate agencies with countless stove-piped systems and serial processes. Stovepipes challenge the IC’s collective ability to understand and find the most relevant data to make analytic judgments, while countries like China are rapidly advancing their Artificial Intelligence techniques by employing whole-of-nation strategies.
“For decades, the IC’s traditional space platforms were designed to address the Cold War. For the most part, the Soviet Union was the single adversary, and over the years, the IC came to understand the landscape very well. However, by today’s standards, keeping tabs on the Soviets was simple. In those days, the IC focused on watching and listening to big, loud things that moved slowly, ICBMs, tank divisions, and fixed radars. It was a job they did very well; it was also a job that drove the requirements for the IC’s capabilities and systems for decades (The NRO Overview).”
Now we are in a race to modernize. The IC must move quickly to extend its Cold War success into the next phase of competition or risk losing the innovation war to China.