A Summit for the Record Books!
July 13 to 14, 2023 National Harbor, MD
The 10th 2023 Intelligence and National Security Summit, powered by INSA and AFCEA International, saw nearly 2,000 attendees over the July 13-14 program at the Gaylord National Harbor. The conference brought together senior leaders across the intelligence, national security, and defense community for mission-focused discussions, powerful networking opportunities and access to the latest technology and service innovations.
Plenary One: Strategic Intelligence Challenges
- Paul Abbate, Deputy Director, FBI
- George Barnes, Deputy Director, NSA
- David Cohen, Deputy Director, CIA
- John Kirchhofer, Chief of Staff, DIA
- Troy Meink, PhD, Principal Deputy Director, NRO
- Tonya Wilkerson, Deputy Director, NGA
- Olivia Gazis, Intelligence and National Security Reporter, CBS News (moderator)
Leaders from the Big Six IC agencies discussed the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China, and the FISA Section 702 privacy debate. Beginning with the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the panelists examined Putin’s motives and current mindset, reasons Ukraine has successfully defended itself against Russia, U.S. support, and how China is reacting to the conflict. The panelists then transitioned into PC cyber threat to infrastructure and satellites, as well as how to defend against China and other adversaries using AI to bolster their efforts. The discussion closed a conversation about reauthorizing Section 702, with speakers noting its importance in protecting citizens and infrastructure against cyber attacks and terrorism.
Digital Engineering and The Future Workforce
- Jared Dunnmon, PhD, Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, Defense Innovation Unit
- Mark Honda, Chief Engineering of the Space Systems Integration Office, U.S. Space Force
- Sarah Mineiro, Senior Associate, Aerospace Security Project, CSIS
- Torsten Pilz, Senior Vice President & Chief Supply Chain Officer, Honeywell
- Erringer Helbling, Vice President, Federal, Altana AI (moderator)
Panelists discussed the advantages of using digital engineering for national security purposes and how it can support current workforce challenges. One example provided was how digital engineering can assist with wargaming by creating a digital environment to simulate the theatre of conflict, model kill chains, and demonstrate all potential scenarios for the operator. To enhance digital engineering capabilities in the government, panelists emphasized the need for greater public-private partnerships and leveraging the current capabilities that industry has to offer. The conversation concluded by addressing the need to challenge the current workforce culture that is resistant to the adoption of digital engineering. Mark Honda encouraged the audience to be leaders in their organizations and demonstrate the strategic advantages that come from utilizing this technology.
Russia & Ukraine War: Insights and Analysis
- Gian Luca Capovin, Team Manager, Janes
- Dr. Evelyn Farkas, Executive Director, McCain Institute
- Eric Green, Non-Resident Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Daniel Hoffman, Retired Senior CIA Officer, Advisory Board, BGR Group
- Cynthia "Didi" Rapp, former Senior National Intelligence Executive, CIA, and Principal, CLR Context Consulting, LLC (moderator)
Panelists discussed the strategic impact of the ongoing war and its effect on global security. On the heels of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, the speakers explored the moral responsibility of democratic nations to Ukraine, the realities of the present situation, and what is needed to move forward. Speakers touched on the Wagner mutiny and potential Russian options. The session concluded with a conversation about lessons NATO has learned from the Russia/Ukraine War.
Plenary Two: View From The Hill
- Sen. Mark Warner, Chair, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
- Sen. Marco Rubio, Vice Chair, U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
- Letitia A. Long, Chairwoman, INSA (moderator)
INSA Chairwoman Letitia A. Long sat down with SSCI Chairman Sen. Mark Warner and SSCI Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio for a wide-ranging discussion about key intelligence priorities. Both Senators agree on the importance of renewing FISA Section 702, with Sen. Rubio noting, that the U.S. should "stop being embarrassed about the fact that we spy". The conversation touched on how the pandemic and Russia/Ukraine war has strained the Defense Industrial Base. Both senators stressed the need to invest in AI to keep pace with our adversaries. Closing out the discussion, they spoke on the growing China threat and potential role Taiwan in future conflicts.
Plenary Three: Service Intelligence Priorities
- Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence and Director, Naval Intelligence Activity, U.S. Navy
- Dennis Eger, Senior OSINT Advisor, Defense Intelligence Senior Level, U.S. Army
- Leila Gardner, Asst Dir of Intelligence & Asst Deputy Commandant for Information, U.S. Marine Corps
- Lt Gen Leah Lauderback, USAF, Dep Chief of Staff ISR & Cyber Effects Operations, U.S. Air Force/A2
- Jeffrey Radgowski, Deputy Assistant Commandant for Intelligence, U.S. Coast Guard
- Joseph Rouge, Deputy Director of ISR, U.S. Space Force
- LtGen Michael Groen, USMC (Ret.) (moderator)
This panel highlighted the intelligence and mission priorities of each of the Military Services, emphasizing the importance of open source intelligence can best support their mission needs by developing tools such as AI to help manage the volume of data that is currently inundating analysts. Another topic of discussion was the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine and how they can be used to address the increasing threats from China by air, land, sea, and space. The panel closed with a call to the military services to continue to be transformative and innovative in their work to stay ahead of U.S. adversaries.
Plenary Four: China: The Long Game
- Nathan Beauchamp-Mustafaga, Policy Researcher, Prof. of Policy, Pardee RAND Graduate School
- RDML Thomas Henderschedt, USN, Director, J2, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
- Dr. Bonny Lin, Director, China Power Project & Sr Fellow, Asian Security, CSIS
- Gary Tripmacher, Global Unit Chief, Office of China Coordination, U.S. Department of State
- LTG Robert Ashley, USA (Ret.), CEO, Ashley Global Leadership & Security, LLC (moderator)
The panel kicked off with a discussion about the PRC’s efforts to increase its international power and build a coalition against the U.S. Speakers then touched on China’s increasing use of and competency in the new “cognitive domain” of warfare, and China’s strategy to improve its economic power through control and leverage. Panelists also discussed the modernization and capabilities of the PLA, as well as the China-Taiwan tension. The session closed out with a discussion on what the U.S. gets wrong about China and what the PRC might take away from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Being Open-Minded About Open Source
- Brad Ahlskog, Chief, Open Source Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency
- The Hon. Ellen McCarthy, Chairwoman and CEO, Truth in Media Cooperative
- Janet Rathod, Global Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence, Citi
- Beth Sanner, Sr Fellow, Belfer Center- Harvard University (moderator)
Brad Ahlskog started the conversation, highlighting recent ODNI efforts to modernize information sharing between agencies. The discussion touched on the importance of training and tradecraft for the future workforce and the impact of generative AI. Panelists agreed there are major challenges with OSINT including shifting from classified to open source; verification of sources; protecting sources; and reliability and accountability. In addition, the potential need for a new agency focused on OSINT was discussed. In closing speakers emphasized the importance of private-public partnerships and the need for collaboration to address challenges.
Rebooting America's Cyber Defense
- Jason Healey, Sr Research Scholar, Adjunct Professor, International & Public Affairs, Columbia Univ.
- Heather McMahon, Dep Exec Director, ARL for Intel & Security, Univ of Maryland
- Danny McPherson, Executive Vice President, Engineering Operations, and CSO, Verisign
- Aastha Verma, Chief, Cybersecurity Division, CISA, U.S. Dept of Homeland Security
- Bob Gourley, Co-Founder and CTO, OODA LLC (moderator)
The session focused on how government and industry can work together to bolster U.S. cyber defense capabilities to protect against adversaries and reduce the risk of a cyber Pearl Harbor. Panelists examined the need for greater investment in technology, building partnerships to increase trusted information sharing and the role of counterintelligence in operational cyber defense. The session closed with each panelist sharing their thoughts about the "biggest game changer" to improve the nation’s cyber defense. Answers ranged from embracing the cloud, consistently incorporating new and updated technology in the government, and ensuring that each organization has a strong and effective response plan in the event of a cyber-attack.
Pacific Partnerships: Lessons Of NATO
- Charles Edel, Senior Advisor and Australia Chair, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
- Coleen Kalina, Chief, Partner Mission Integration, Directorate for Global Integration, DIA
- RDML Axel Ristau, Defense and Naval Attache, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Chad Sbragia, former Deputy Asst Sec. of Defense for China, Research Staff Member, Institute for Defense Analyses
- Andrew Winternitz, Principal Director, Europe and NATO Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense
- Lewis Shepherd, Senior Director of Research and Innovation, VMware, AFCEA Intelligence Committee Chairman (moderator)
Conversation started with the question: How has the war in Ukraine affected NATO partnerships? The panelists agreed that one positive effect of the war has been the increased commitment from NATO partners to work together to increase global defense and deter aggression from adversaries. Speakers agreed that China is not the same type of adversary as Russia in that China can seriously contend economically on the world stage and can use that power to manipulate the international system. Panelists noted that understanding what shapes China’s military calculus can be difficult, but it is certain that the PLC believes NATO to be a threat to not only their interests in the Pacific, but to their national strategy as a whole. The session concluded that effective competition with China must occur across economic, diplomatic, and military domains.
Scaling-Out AI Capability
- Rachel Grunspan, IC AIM Director, ODNI
- Lakshmi Raman, Director of Artificial Intelligence Innovation, CIA
- Jason Wang, Technical Director for Computer & Analytic Sciences Research Organization, NSA
- Patrick Biltgen, PhD, Principal, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Teresa Shea, Senior Advisor to Global Public Sector, SandboxAQ (moderator)
Each speaker discussed their respective organization's use of AI in their everyday functions. They then highlighted challenges including the cost of building models, big data, talent acquisition, getting technology onto classified servers, understanding the behaviors of these models, and an "emotional mindset shift" for the workforce. However, despite the challenges, AI is becoming increasingly more common in everyday workflows across the IC. Closing out the discussion, speakers discussed the importance of partnerships between the academic, public, and private sector.
- Jon Finer, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor, Executive Office of the President
- Leslie Ireland, former Asst Sec. for Intelligence & Analysis, Dept. of Treasury and member, Citi Board of Directors (moderator)
PDDNSA Jon Finer provided insight into the importance of foreign policy beginning with allies and the ways intelligence sharing enables strong relationships. Specifically, he discussed how the Biden Administration has been utilizing “strategic downgrades” of classified intelligence as a tool against adversaries, beginning in the early days of the Russia/Ukraine War. Strategic declassification of information was key in exposing the situation on the ground and deterring supporters of Russia. Finer emphasized that this new tool has also come with a new set of procedures for downgrading information, as strategic downgrades of intelligence is not and should not be a blanket approach. During the Q&A, Mr. Finer continued to stress the value of the new procedures for strategic downgrades and remaining consistent with the Administration’ broader national security strategy.