New Strategies to Build an Intelligence Community for the FutureApril 2021
Topics: Intelligence After Next, Intelligence Analysis, Counterintelligence
The start of a new presidential administration requires all federal agencies to produce a new strategic plan within one year. Leaders across government, including the Intelligence Community (IC), look to organizations like MITRE for innovative ideas to shape thought, dialogue, and action as they develop the plans, policies, and programs to guide the nation.
“We have unique policy and operational perspectives, along with an open mind about research and what’s possible,” says MITRE’s Phil Roberts, managing director for intelligence analysis. He and Cheryl Clopper, our intelligence analysis chief engineer, co-led an effort to develop a series of unclassified, publicly accessible papers about future strategies for the IC. “Our unique vantage point—our ability to approach this without an agenda—helps us establish thought leadership in this area.
“These papers also gave our employees the opportunity to give voice to ideas they believe will help the IC that are separate from the projects they work on every day.”
Complex Threats, Evolving Analysis
The resulting Intelligence After Next series of papers by experts from across MITRE presents pioneering views and strategies for improving intelligence analysis in the 2020s and beyond. The experts’ ideas focus on addressing significant national security concerns and persistent or emerging threats. The authors also propose using integrated solutions and enabling technologies to help ensure the success of the IC’s analytical community in the post-COVID-19 world. The collection currently includes:
- The Future of the IC Workplace: The past year has changed the mindset of secure remote work across all sectors. We need to view the IC’s interoperability challenges holistically and develop a road map for proposing successful policy and technology solutions.
- Radical Transparency in Intelligence Operations : Building trust and transparency in the IC would be a visible step toward achieving U.S. goals of collective global security and the rule of international law. It would also be a key differentiator between America and other global powers.
- Diversity and Inclusion: A Mission Imperative for the Intelligence Community: Increasing the numbers of IC experts from diverse backgrounds will lead to better-quality intelligence collection and analysis to support U.S. policy decision making and warfighting.
- Building a Counterintelligence Analytic Cadre: Complex missions domestically and overseas require extensive monitoring and analysis across sectors, both nationally and internationally. A counterintelligence cadre will help protect the United States from foreign threats.
- Mission-Based Challenges for the Intelligence Community: There are many mission challenges facing the IC today. What’s most important is to provide focus and prioritization, to drive progress through mission impact, and to move away from high-level strategies and technology road maps that contribute little to real progress.
- Ensuring Decision Advantage on the Future Battlefield—Intelligence at the Speed of Hypersonic Warfare: Using AI in the IC is no longer a question of if, but of how fast we can take advantage of the improvements AI can offer across the intelligence cycle. Success will require building trust in the AI processes that will underpin modern warfare.
- Making Current Intelligence Current: The IC needs to achieve new standards for timeliness and accuracy to meet the needs of consumers and improve operational effectiveness.
- Breaking Past AI’s Confirmation Bias: Current AI systems are well-equipped to find supporting evidence but less able to find contradictory evidence. Next-level AI systems will change that.
“We’re seeing these topics become part of the discussion around our nation’s intelligence strategy for the next four years,” says Roberts. “It demonstrates the close partnership we have with the Intelligence Community and the valuable insights MITRE can offer to the IC leadership team.”
Eli Niewood, MITRE’s vice president of intelligence and cross-cutting capabilities, agrees. “The world is changing. The IC needs to change with it or risk losing its edge, or even becoming irrelevant. MITRE is uniquely positioned to help the IC implement that change, and the ‘Intelligence After Next’ papers are helping to do that.”
—by Kay M. Upham
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