Spring Symposium: Emerging Technologies

March 8, 2023 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM INSA/NRECA Conference Center, Arlington, VA

On Wednesday, March 8, nearly 250 intelligence and national security professionals attended INSA's 2023 Spring Symposium: Emerging Technologies, at the INSA/NRECA Conference Center in Arlington, VA. Keynotes and panelists focused on current and future technology developments, key challenges and opportunities, and insights on what is on the horizon. 

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Morning Keynote

Phillip Chudoba, Associate Director for Capabilities, NGA, kicked off the morning by giving the audience insight into new technologies that NGA is working on. He highlighted their work at Moonshot Labs, provided an update on Project Maven, as well as NGA's up-and-coming facilities in St. Louis. Mr. Chudoba noted that NGA will be hosting an IC Innovation Summit in August of 2023. He also emphasized the importance NGA places on fostering relationships between government entities and private industry and academia. Additionally, he spoke about acquisition flexibilities and development of new software solutions. 


Ignite Rounds: Insights Into Future Capabilities
  • Josh Marcuse, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Google
  • Kim Lynch, Executive Vice President, Oracle
  • Alexiaa Jordan, Senior Consultant, U.S. Department of Defense

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Josh Marcuse, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Google, began the series by offering a nuanced defense of innovation theater. He discussed the pros and cons of innovation theater and best practices companies can implement to transition from innovation theater to actually innovating company culture. 

Kim Lynch, Executive Vice President, Oracle, followed Mr. Marcuse's ignite round and discussed data analytics and how the IC can innovate data procurement and analytics to produce positive results. She highlighted that quick decision-making, data, and leveraging each other's success is the key to finding and maintaining our competitive advantage.

Rounding out this session, Alexiaa Jordon, Senior Consultant, DoD, shared her insights on how biotechnology can help identify and solve functional security concerns through the increase of data sharing, collecting, and research. She emphasizes that the point of this work is the benefits of the technology, not the technology itself and that it is imperative for the US to move forward as its near pear adversaries do the same.

Afternoon Keynote

Lt. Gen. Mike Groen, USMC, (Ret.) Former Director, Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, started the afternoon with a comparison of the discovery and implementation of electricity to the up-and-coming implementation of AI. He highlighted how AI is revolutionizing how modern-day is using technology and how the U.S. is learning to better defend networks and technologies from foreign adversaries. He also emphasized the development of competitive advantage through leveraging data, people, and policies.  Gen. Groen also touched on Project Maven and how in the early stages it was a great learning experience for the Department of Defense and set the framework for future projects.

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Incubators to outcomes: financing emerging technology innovation
  • Wesley Spurlock, Senior Advisor to the Director, Office of Strategic Capital, Department of Defense
  • Katie Gray, Partner, Silicon Valley Lead, Cyber Investment Team, In-Q-Tel
  • Sam Gray, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Defense Group
  • Linda Lourie, Senior Advisor, WestExec Advisors
  • Sabra Horne, Entrepreneur-in Residence, BMNT (moderator)

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Sabra Horne, Entrepreneur-in Residence at BMNT, alongside speakers Wesley Spurlock, Katie Gray, Sam Gray, and Linda Lourie, lead a discussion regarding the value of emerging technology and the importance of capitalizing on our competitive advantages in the defense industry. Linda Lourie mentioned the lack of “cross-pollination” between private industry and the intelligence community and stressed the importance of broader lines of communication. Wesley Spurlock, Senior Advisor to the Director for the Office of Strategic Capital at the Department of Defense, emphasized how “economic security is national security” and how venture capital is “critical to the success of the intelligence community going forward.”

Getting Bigger: Data, Data Mining, Data Overload
  • Devon Blake, Senior Director of Global Security, Premise Data
  • Chris Rasmussen, Tearline Project Founder and Program Manager, NGA
  • David Armitage, Senior Analytic Advisor and Europe Specialist, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), Department of State
  • Kristin Wood, former Deputy Director of Innovation & Technology at the Open Source Center, CIA (moderator).

 View Panel Discussion

Discussing the future of how Open-Source Intelligence is leveraged and communicated, panelists discussed the nature of OSINT as not just a collection of intelligence but as a dissemination that also involves the creation and summary of findings for the educated outsider. Devon Blake, Senior Director of Global Security for Premise Data, spoke on how Open Source can no longer be considering a supplement to intelligence craft, but rather a foundational element of the intelligence community. David Armitage, Senior Analytic Advisor and Europe Specialist, INR, Department of State, commented that OSINT is a critical tool for harnessing the power of competitive advantage with the diplomatic space. Panelists also discussed the culture of secrecy within the intelligence community and how the over classification of intelligence makes it difficult to communicate the findings of what is illuminated. Additionally, they emphasized the need to see OSINT as more than a tool but as a dedicated discipline with a fully immersed workforce. Chris Rasmussen, Tearline Project Founder and Program Manager at NGA commented that these dedicated individuals must “swim in the stream” of OSINT to fully understand and wield the nuance of the vast array of content. Finally, they discussed the need for more public outputs for OSINT to really leverage its benefits.