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To stay ahead of adversaries eager to weaponize technology against the U.S., intelligence leaders must accelerate technical and cultural change. Booz Allen intelligence experts Judi Dotson and Brian Green discuss how to jump-start transformation in the intelligence community.
Adversaries are using emerging technologies in their attempts to compromise U.S. national security—and the intelligence community (IC) must modernize rapidly to stay ahead. To summarize the essentials of moving forward, SIGNAL Editor-in-Chief Robert K. Ackerman interviewed Booz Allen's National Security Sector President Judi Dotson and Senior Vice President Brian Green, both leaders in our intelligence business.
Watch the video for recommendations on transforming technology and culture across the IC. It covers next steps for the IC in an era where adversaries are using increasingly sophisticated technology and tactics.
Here’s a snapshot of ways to accelerate innovation across the national security spectrum, featuring excerpts from the conversation.
The IC is poised for unprecedented transformation. To underscore the urgency, Judi cited a Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) report, Maintaining the Intelligence Edge, which Booz Allen helped sponsor. Rapid technology insertion is critical to provide timely, actionable intelligence to civil government, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the private sector in a rapidly evolving world.
For transformation to succeed, intelligence leaders need to replace decades-old approaches with inventive processes and solutions. This will require the IC to take smart risks, especially in the use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). “Adversaries are integrating technologies into their operations and we need to do the same,” Judi said.
“AI/ML is probably one of the driving forces behind the change we’ll see in the intelligence community—and really across DOD and critical infrastructure as well,” said Brian. AI and ML will be used across all phases of the intelligence process: collection, analysis, and distribution. Brian cited the algorithm Booz Allen operationalized to power the first AI copilot in an Air Force U-2 test flight as a milestone in human-machine teaming.
“Adversaries are integrating [emerging] technologies into their operations and we need to do the same.”
- Judi Dotson, president of Booz Allen’s national security business
Partnering with leaders across the IC and industry will help speed progress in areas like 5G, which will “change our communication a lot more than we think,” said Brian. As an example, he pointed to an AI-powered approach that Booz Allen is testing at Hill Air Force Base to enable Air Force radars to dynamically share spectrum with 5G cellular services. He said the proliferation of the Internet of Things will enable “massive amounts” of machine-to-machine communications and data processing at the edge.
“Open-source intelligence is becoming the dominant type,” Judi said. Taking advantage of those rapidly moving streams of information is critical. At the same time, publicly available data requires a thoughtful approach. For example, analysts must train AI to quickly validate open-source information and its provenance to avoid being fooled by deceptions such as deep fakes.
Judi emphasized that people are the key to transformation. Having a diverse workforce is important to dodge traps such as being “stuck in a single-minded set of algorithms.” And helping IC teams retool and reskill is a must. She encouraged leaders to give national security professionals “the right training—and then inspire them to go off and be market catalysts and come up with the right solutions.”