Next month, the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is hosting its GEOINT 2011 Symposium with the theme “Forging Integrated Intelligence.” It is no surprise that USGIF chose intelligence integration as the theme since it is becoming a key priority for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). In addition, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) new efforts to implement “on-demand GEOINT” also tie in well with the concept of better integration and information sharing.
While integration is becoming a priority for leadership and policymakers in the Intelligence Community (IC), the reality is that it has always been critical on the tactical level and it occurs every day. However, this new leadership push for better integration reinforces that it will most likely influence the development of future solutions from industry.
Intelligence analysts from all disciplines work daily in forward-deployed locations where information sharing occurs fairly seamlessly. For example, an NGA analyst can simply walk over to the desk of an all-source analyst to share key GEOINT data that could impact conclusions and recommendations on activities in Afghanistan. In fact, these intelligence professionals collaborate every day to create relevant, multi-discipline intelligence products.
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 reminded the IC of how the tragic terrorist attacks were the turning point for better integration and information. The IC was transformed in the wake of these devastating attacks. As Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper observed, the IC developed a deep sense of responsibility in regard to information sharing after 9/11.
The IC is now facing substantial changes in the post-9/11 world. Despite major troop drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq, the IC still has plenty of meaningful work to do, and intelligence integration will surely play a major role in helping the IC fulfill its missions in this new environment.