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Tim’s Takeaways: Intelligence and National Security Summit 2023


Tim Rund

Date Published

Aug 28, 2023
4 minute read
National Security

I recently attended the AFCEA International and Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) Intelligence and National Security Summit. This event brought together public and private sector leaders to advance collaborative solutions to critical intelligence and national security challenges. Speakers examined “ripped from the headlines” issues as broad as lessons learned from the Russia/Ukraine War, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies, and the future of NATO and regional alliances. Here are just a few of the topics and takeaways that generated buzz during the event.

AI will require a shift in how people view their work.

The “Scaling-Out AI Capability” panel made several interesting observations, including the need to begin shifting our thinking about the way that we will engage generative AI capabilities. In the future, the group posited we will be receiving inputs from AI-enhanced processes much as one might receive information from a research assistant. In turn, our role will shift from gathering information to helping to ensure that the final product is accurate. In this way, we are both ensuring the reliability and accuracy of the data collection and presentation while also more powerfully leveraging the growing body of AI capabilities by helping the AI engine continue to “learn.”

The CIA is adapting an AI-first strategy across the organization.

Lakshmi Raman, Director of Artificial Intelligence Innovation at the CIA, shared with the audience her thinking regarding a new “AI First” approach at the agency during the session on “Scaling-Out AI Capability.” Raman shared that as part of her strategy to successfully deploy large-scale AI and machine learning across the CIA, her “AI-First” strategy is focused on influencing the culture, technologies, and processes needed to drive greater adoption of AI across the CIA.

The critical need to ensure reliability and credibility of open-source information.

“Being Open-Minded About Open Source” panelists discussed both the opportunities and the challenges of having access to massive amounts of “open source” data for analysis. Janet Rathod, Global Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence at Citi and before that, a senior executive at the FBI, talked about the challenge of sourcing “AI attribution.” She noted that analysis is only as good as its source data. Moderator Beth Sanner, a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and former senior executive with extensive experience at the ODNI, CIA, State Department and the National Security Council, suggested that many policymakers would like some form of validation or approval of source data so that information does not have to be constantly “revalidated” in terms of authenticity. Sanner said that there are individuals who are knowledge experts who could be tapped into to validate information and sourcing to remove some of the pressure from analysts who need to be spending their human capital on analysis rather than validating the data. This comment dovetailed perfectly with my colleague Rob Stewart-Ingersoll’s recent piece on the potential for data analysis as a shared service – a great read for anyone interested in either topic.

What we’ve covered today is just a slice of what we heard at the summit.

For more about the event or information on how The Clearing can help you create an informed technology strategy for your organization, contact us today.