Spartans Speak

Intelligence Analysis Staff Augmentation Support: Current and Future Needs

by Sage Cesspooch

All-source intelligence staff augmentation support to the US government is a foundational component of Invictus International Consulting. The programs we first supported three years ago provided intelligence analysis support to national-level counter terrorism agencies and Combatant Commands (CCMDs). Invictus senior management is comprised of former military intelligence officers who spent their careers supporting the intelligence community, both in and out of uniform. During our 30+ years of providing intelligence support, we have observed the evolution of intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination processes. Invictus uses this experience to not only provide current support, but more importantly, to anticipate and prepare for future requirements.

Sequestration and its ripple effect on procurement, to include professional services contracts, was significant. It created an environment where many government customers radically altered their contractor workforce composition out of money saving necessity in an uncertain budget environment. The result is today’s contractor workforce has become highly commoditized with a significant component that is both more junior and highly mobile.

The last 17 years have been dominated by intelligence support to counterterrorism/counter-insurgency operations. Since September 11, 2001, the Intelligence Community has made huge leaps, both in terms of technology and analytic rigor. The refinement of these Tactics, Techniques and Processes (TTPs) have also enabled a more junior workforce. Given mission parameters in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and North Africa, the relative level of uncertainty has greatly receded since the first years after September 11th. Since then, the intelligence community has focused and honed its ability to conduct network and nodal analysis. This analysis then feeds individual pattern of life refinement to support a capture/kinetic operation. However, our current methods of “man hunting” will be less relevant in a future conflict with a near-peer adversary.

In future conflicts with near-peer adversaries, analysts will need to quickly recognize actions which appear ambiguous but are designed to divide the civilian populace. Gray Zone or hybrid warfare is a natural outgrowth of our adversaries observing US operations for the last decade and a half. A future attack against the US or our allies will very likely include an element of social media information operations which will seek to sow confusion and/or legitimize the attack, to a degree more successful than at any time in modern history. Invictus recognizes in future conflicts, the airspace will be contested leading to the loss of persistent ISR coverage. Analysts will not have the luxury of “the eye of Mordor” staring unblinkingly at a small compound for hours or days.

In the fall of 2017, a couple of events occurred which highlight capabilities likely utilized in a future conflict. Western Latvia’s cellular networks experienced a service disruption which lasted for approximately 7 hours. In Norway, the intelligence service announced the country suffered an electronic attack which disrupted GPS signals on commercial aircraft. Reliance on GPS and cellular communication has been integral to current intelligence collection and the conduct of operations. Invictus international recognizes another shift in intelligence collection and analysis is on the horizon.

Invictus also recognizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will change the way in which intelligence and operations are conducted. On September 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with students regarding artificial intelligence stating, “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Our adversaries are investing heavily in these technologies. We must be prepared understand how AI and machine learning will be fielded by our adversaries as well as understand how the US government will deploy the same tools in the future battlespace.

When the next shift occurs, Invictus will be ready to “Defend The Gates.” The heart of staff augmentation lies with the people provided to support the mission. Similar to the first days and weeks after September 11th, this will require a new approach and significant shift in TTPs and mindset. Much like the original Spartans, Invictus recognizes victory will lie with the force who has solid foundational training, the ability to rapidly adapt, but most importantly, a fighting spirit that incorporates all the tools and terrain available (whether real or digital) to “find a way to win.” Invictus International will continue to place emphasis on finding those individuals who possess these characteristics.