INSA Intelligence Community (IC) Summit

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, INSA hosted the inaugural Intelligence Community (IC) Summit. More than 500 members and guests from the private, public, and academic sectors of the intelligence and national security communities registered to attend the Summit at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.  The event featured plenary sessions with the Honorable James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence; Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency; Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman, HPSCI; and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Ranking Member, HPSCI.  The day-long Summit featured dual-track breakout sessions focused on Cyber and Intelligence trends and critical issues facing our nation.

Morning Plenary Session: Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)

 The first plenary discussion of the Summit provided attendees with a perspective from Capitol Hill. Moderator and former INSA Chairwoman, Fran Townsend, was joined by Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MA) of the HPSCI to discuss current issues facing the IC and nation.  The cyber threat, recent leaks of classified materials, al-Qaeda, and Syria were discussed by the Congressmen.

A main theme emphasized by both members in their remarks was the importance of bipartisan cooperation on their Committee. Congressman Ruppersberger stated that: “he and Congressman Rogers always will come to an agreement, even when they “disagree and that the work they do on the Committee depends upon respect, relationships, and trust.” Both Rogers and Ruppersberger underlined that their job on the Committee is to work to deal with the perception problems created by the recent leaks of classified materials, as well as work with the IC to declassify as much as is reasonable to show the American people that the IC is working for their security, rather than against their privacy.  C-SPAN 3 broadcasted the plenary sessions live on their channel and online. To see the full webcast of the Congressmen’s discussion, please click here.

Cyber Track Breakout Sessions

The Role of Intelligence in Confronting Cyber Threats

The first panel in the INSA IC Summit’s Cyber Track, The Role of Intelligence in Confronting Cyber Threats, addressed the newly released White Paper, Operational Levels of Cyber Intelligence, and discussed best practices and tradecraft in the cyber realm. The panel acknowledged that behind every cyber threat there is always a person and since we will never outnumber our cyber adversaries, we must outthink and outmaneuver them. There was also broad recognition that a major hurdle in addressing issues in cyber intelligence is the lack of common cyber definitions and agreement that the model set forth in Operational Levels of Cyber Intelligence is a step in the right direction. The panelists also spoke about the difficulty of predicting the future of cyber intelligence. Looking out at three to five year horizons in cyber becomes very difficult when technology moves at its current pace. Additionally, the conversation urged that all future development in cyber must be accompanied by parallel progress on the issue of privacy and civil liberties. Finally, the discussion kept returning to the fact that progress must be made through the partnership of all IC sectors since what happens to one happens to all.

Cyber R&D Priorities for the Future

The “Cyber R&D Priorities for the Future” panel focused on the challenges the United States faces in developing robust defensive measures to combat cyber attacks, and what technological breakthroughs might advance its position in the rapidly developing cyber space arms race. The panel touched on many challenges facing the United States, foremost being the susceptibility of critical infrastructure systems to attack and vulnerabilities associated with updating systems.  This will prove to be the Decade for Analysis, both in intelligence analysis and research analysis, but not because of Big Data – if U.S. agencies had better cognitive-analytic software they could actually take in less data.  Suggestions to improve innovation in Cyber R&D included: increasing the collaboration between government and academia to employ “hot, new ideas” to protect IC networks, heightening situational awareness to fully grasp what resources are needed for proper security, and shifting to operating with co-located encrypted data.

Evolving Insider Threat Issues

The “Evolving Insider Threat Issues” Breakout panel discussed identification, patterns, and best practices for addressing insider threat issues, as well as the impact of sequestration on the likelihood of an insider threat, as mentioned in INSA’s new white paper, “A Preliminary Examination of Insider Threat programs in the U.S. Private Sector.”  Recent events have steered focus on monitoring the activity on classified networks and challenging individuals to think differently about information assurance to develop means to share information through new pathways.  The panelists discussed the patterns of individual behavior over time and identified mental and financial well being as strong indicators of insider threat potential.  The participants agreed that insider threat is a continuously growing issue in the IC and will continue to be a problem, particularly in light of current budget challenge.  In order to address insider threats organizations must implement training and awareness programs designed to utilize collected data to minimize potential threats.

IC ITE: Industry Perspectives and Recommendations

The “IC ITE Industry Perspectives and Recommendations” panel, of the INSA IC Summit, revealed the progress and hurdles thus far in implementing IC ITE to improve information sharing and drive out inefficiencies.  End capability has been delivered for the IC common desktop, cloud, and apps mall, paving the way for these capabilities to be scaled up to the IC, writ large.  Cultural hurdles were consistently cited as one of the primary challenges to IC ITE implementation, yet senior leadership is taking on an increasingly active role in engaging the various agencies appropriately.  Ruthless standardization and application rationalization techniques have successfully been executed by private sector companies in constructing a successful IT enterprise architecture.  Recommendations included aligning IC ITE implementation with a commercial business model for resource flexibility, transparent communication in the pursuit of changing culture and guaranteeing continuous user involvement, and creating an innovation environment in which systems would be tested in the IC “marketplace”—keeping systems that succeeded and jettisoning those that do not.

Lunch Plenary Session: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper

The second plenary session of the INSA IC Summit featured Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and provided a candid discussion of the three most pressing issues facing the Intelligence Community (IC), referred to by Director Clapper as the “3 S’s”: sequestration; Snowden; and Syria.

Primary among the points Director Clapper made during his speech and discussion was that the IC had at least another year of sequestration, and that “the Intelligence Community was not given a pass at all.” He continued on this point, emphasizing that the impacts of sequestration on the IC will not be known for some time, and unfortunately may only come to light in the instance of a failure. During his discussion of the Snowden leaks, he was very clear in his belief that Snowden is not a whistleblower, but that “some of the debate that has come of [the leaks] is an important debate to have and may have been overdue.” On Syria, Director Clapper spoke of how the discovery of chemical weapons usage in Syria and the subsequent four-page unclassified intelligence assessment was a great example of integration in the IC and underscored that a large portion of the intelligence was derived from open source reporting. He closed his speech applauding those that work at the NSA, saying, “The NSA is an honorable institution…with honorable leaders…and they deserve to be commended and respected.”  To see more of Director Clapper’s speech, please click here.

Intelligence Track Breakout Sessions

Global Trends

The “Global Trends 2030” Breakout Session examined the implications of recent phenomenon on the future of the intelligence and national security communities in 2030. The panel referenced the “National Intelligence Council’s report Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” and identified key “megatrends” that policy makers need to look at for the future.  The Intelligence Community (IC) should look to tapping open source networks and non-elite, big data to track indicators of trends.  The panelists concluded that the projections for global trends in 2030 will be most affected by the rapidity and scope of China’s rise, individual empowerment, and availability of world resources.  The value of open and all source intelligence aggregation is to extend the inferences of trends to make powerful statements.

Cyber Threat Information Sharing with State and Local Governments

The “Cyber Threat Information Sharing with State and Local Governments” Breakout Session highlighted a significant and timely issue that affects all levels of government and the private sector.  The panelists, including strong government representation, addressed the Federal government’s recent efforts in the realm of cyber information sharing alongside their visions for how to improve the information sharing environment. The conversation, enhanced by focused questions from the moderator and audience, covered programs such as the Homeland Security Information Network (HSN) and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), as well as the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF). Panelists emphasized that while there is no need to “reinvent the wheel” concerning cyber information sharing, there is still room to improve information sharing between the levels of government and with the private sector. Ultimately, the panel called for leveraging and maturing existing capabilities and models rather than creating a completely new agency to focus on cyber issues. Instead, all levels of government should seek to move things forward by demonstrating results in their information sharing programs.

Security Clearance Process in the Digital Era

The “Security Clearance Process in the Digital Era” Breakout Session provided an incisive and illuminating discussion on the progress of employing private sector technology to improve the security clearance process. The panelists addressed a variety of issues associated with the security clearance process ranging from the challenges of using screening methodology versus investigative methodology, to the advantages of continuous evaluation over existing periodic reinvestigation requirements. There was consensus on the need for reform in the security clearance process and a clear desire to continue partnering with the private sector. It was emphasized that pilot programs in Federal agencies for new technology and methodology must demonstrate positive, measurable results.

Internet of Things: Connected Devices

This introductory panel on “Internet of Things: Connected Devices” was lively and generated a base level of knowledge the audience, which showed strong interest in future events on this topic.  The panelists addressed a number of specific topics relating to the Internet of Things including the potential shift in the IC as sensors become ubiquitous, how the ICITE model and infrastructure need to be leveraged to improve efficiency, how to “tag” information to ensure it gets to the correct people and how to ask the right questions to retrieve this information, and the need for machines to add context to the information. There was agreement that, although it poses challenges, the Internet of Things is a major opportunity that will transform both the commercial and IC sectors.

Afternoon Plenary Session: Lieutenant General Michael Flynn

In the closing keynote address of the Summit, Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), provided his perspective on the challenges facing the Intelligence Community and the DIA’s role in ensuring our national security. In his words, “Intelligence is a major – if not the most – critical enabler and guarantor of our national security…Investing with an eye firmly fixed on the future is key, because if we think the environment is difficult now, I guarantee you it is not going to get any easier in the decades ahead.”

LTG Flynn gave a candid assessment of the situation in Syria and emphasized the great importance of providing accurate intelligence to policymakers. LTG Flynn believes DIA must adjust its operating model to refocus on its mission and unique strengths, continuously emphasize burden sharing and integration, and instill flexibility and agility in crisis responses. Following his message, LTG Flynn took questions from the audience during an engaging Q&A session moderated by INSA’s President, Ambassador Joseph DeTrani. Questions ranged from the DIA’s progress in its integration efforts to the DIA’s role in the Syrian diplomatic developments.  To see more of LTG Flynn’s speech, please click here.

Thursday, September 12
7 am - 5 pm

Marriott Wardman Park
2660 Woodley Rd NW, 
Washington, DC 20008

Dress Code: Business Attire

Tuesday, February 12, 2012
7:30am - 9:30am

Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC, 20004

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For registration questions 
please contact Toya Forman