American intelligence and national defense 2.0 _ opendemocracy

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The Pentagon, 1980’s. Wikicommons/ “DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U. S. Air Force.”. Public domain. On 06/17/11, I

wrote the first instalment of National intelligence and

national defense, published at the Campaign for Liberty, suggesting that we could both cut the secret

intelligence budget by three quarters, and radically increase the amount of

open source decision-support (as opposed to secret mass surveillance).

Of course

nothing


happened, but now, to my enormous delight, I am hearing that there is a

very tentative discussion in some of the darkest corners of the US government

of a proposal to terminate three of the secret agencies that reside within the

Department of Defense (DoD) – the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the

National Security Agency (NSA), and the National Geospatial Agency (NGA). This

should happen, if not in the closing year of the Obama Administration, then in

2017 under the first Independent president and a diversified Congress in which

Independents, Greens, and Libertarians and others (e. g. Constitution, Working

Families) win the 20-30 seats being vacated.

In proposing

the elimination of three secret agencies now costing $25 billion a year and

employing roughly 25,000 full-time government employees and perhaps another

25,000 contractors in one form or

another (with many double-dipping retirees in both groups), I am acutely

conscious of the political and economic implications.

I learned the

hard way, watching Senator John Warner (R-VA) single-handedly block the

National Security Act of 1992, that intelligence reform must be job and revenue

neutral from state to state if it is to have any hope of consideration. I have

also learned just how much of what we pay goes into overseas outsourcing,

overheads, and absolutely unwarranted profit on processes and products that do

not deliver as promised.

A ‘soft

landing’ for all those losing work as a result of this long-needed remediation

of the dysfunctional secret world would be provided with multi-year lay-off

plans that include paid participation in the retraining program outlined in the

Joint Defense-Labor Solution entitled “Building a Post-Cold War Workforce for

the 21st Century: Our Manpower Peace Deficit.” Veterans in

particular would be assured work for life. The only losers will be the banks

and corporations that have been bribing Congress and getting a 750 to 1 return

on their bribes. Eliminate three secret agencies costing

$25 billion a year

The NRO, which

costs the US taxpayer roughly $10 billion a year, is responsible – criminally

irresponsible would be a better term – for the global satellite and

air-breather constellation of collection platforms, and well as the delivery of

that digital data from point of collection to point of processing.

Strike one is

its total failure to keep up with commercial break-throughs – as VICE Magazine has recently pointed out,

the secret world is like the old porn industry, unable to understand that what

is available in the open is now ten to a hundred times better than what can be

collected secretly. As VICE Magazine has recently pointed out, the secret world is like

the old porn industry, unable to understand that what is available in the open

is now ten to a hundred times better than what can be collected secretly.

Strike two is its failure to protect the satellites – not just collection

satellites but communications and geospatial positioning satellites – from ease

of attack by lasers and other means.

The US military

literally goes deaf, dumb, and blind – grinds to a halt and is defenseless – if

these unprotected satellites are disabled. Strike three is its total

obliviousness to the need for “feeds and speeds” consistent with twenty-first century

demands for massive big data processing in near real time. It takes three

years, using the current standard, to feed one day’s “take” from a collection

point to an agency across town. Enough already. Death to the NRO.

The NSA,

rightly denounced by multiple whistle-blowers, also costs the taxpayer roughly

$10 billion a year. For this princely amount it has turned its global

collection capabilities against our own public, processes less than 1% of what

it collects, and appears to have side businesses going in the areas of both

insider trading and political blackmail.

I personally

believe that if Edward Snowden, whose patriotic parents I have met, was not an

authorized operation ordered by the President to set the stage for taking down

NSA, it should have been and I would pardon Snowden on that basis alone. There is some great good to be harvested from NSA in the way of

multi-source processing magic combining massive relational databases and

selected geospatial information system applications, but the institution

over-all is toxic to the point of being comatose – ethically as well as

substantively comatose. We don’t need to kill it, it is already dead. Harvest

the organs (see my conclusion) and bury it deep.

The NGA,

perhaps the best-intentioned of the secret world elements, costs the taxpayer

roughly $5 billion a year. It is responsible for creating military combat

charts (maps with contour lines and cultural detail) for the entire world, and

has failed to do so for roughly 75% of the world, despite being given the 100%

mission in 1992 when I led the charge to put Mapping, Charting, & Geodesy

(MC&G) into the Foreign Intelligence Requirements and Capabilities Plan

(FIRCAP).

Today in

Somalia we are still using Russian military maps at the 1:100,000 level because

NGA simply does not ‘do’ what is called Global Coverage. They also do not ‘do’

all source near-real-time data fusion. While they have experimented with

‘activity based intelligence’ and what they mistakenly call geospatial

intelligence, the fact is that NGA is unable to understand the concept of

analytic cooperation between agencies or indeed between disciplines such as

cartography and imagery analysis, even within NGA. Nor does NGA have a clue

when it comes to the reality that 90% or more of what we need to know is not

secret, not online, not in English, and held by foreigners without clearances who

really do not like the US Government generally and the US secret world

particularly. Kill it, harvest the organs (20% at most) and move on. If Edward Snowden, whose patriotic parents I have met, was not an authorized operation ordered by the President to set the stage for taking down NSA, it should have been and I would pardon Snowden on that basis alone. Consolidate defense intelligence capabilities

In my view,

because all three of these dysfunctional agencies are defense agencies, there

is an opportunity for the Secretary of Defense to serve the President and the

Republic by directing their radical down-sizing and eventual elimination. The

NRO – and its service parent the US Air Force – have proven incompetent at secure

feeds and speeds. The time has come for a prototypical defense activity focused

on securing satellites that matter mostly to the US Army, where locational

precision in land warfare is everything, while exploring dark fiber (fiber not

contracted from an intermediary) and high bandwidth high speed air, sea, and

ground relay options as alternatives to the satellites.

This critical

vulnerability and need is shared by all the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

(NATO) nations, hence it occurs to me that this would be an excellent mission

for the existing NATO Transformation Command based in Norfolk. 20% of the

existing NRO budget should be reallocated to the Transformation Command, which

should have pick of the litter – no more than 20% — of the existing manpower

now working for the NRO.

The other two

agencies – the NSA and the NGA – are no less than 60% wasted facilities and

manpower and contracted dollars, and probably closer to 80%. NGA is particularly permeated by retirees

found wanting by their parent services and sent to the NGA on their final tours,

where they burrowed in. A surprising number of NGA Senior Executive Officers

are also unqualified, lacking educational and other credentials, some promoted

during the tour of one particularly unethical director who handed out executive

jobs as party favors. Roughly 20% of these two agencies should be transferred

to an expanded Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which should become a

four-star billet with three three-star Directorates: Human Collection, Technical

Collection & Processing, and All-Source Analysis, the latter in turn

divided into divisions dedicated to Strategic, Acquisition, Operational, and

Tactical Intelligence.

For those

unfamiliar with the fullness of Human Collection, it includes fifteen types,

only four of which are classified, all of which are done badly today, and none

of which are managed in an integrated fashion. DIA itself needs a flushing of a

third of the senior executives, and more tough love.

I am avoiding a

detailed discussion of Information Assurance and Cyber-Command, two of NSA’s

most dysfunctional elements. NSA has been dishonest about cyber-security for a

quarter century. I know of no one in the US Government that is competent at

cyber-security, all of that talent is outside the wire – it may be that these

areas should be placed firmly in the charter of the new agency I am proposing

below, an Open Source (Technologies) Agency. I know of

no one in the US Government that is competent at cyber-security, all of that

talent is outside the wire – it may be that these areas should be placed firmly

in the charter of the new agency I am proposing below, an Open Source

(Technologies) Agency.

I have avoided

addressing the pathologies of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where I

served six tours (three of them overseas, one as the first Spanish-speaking

case officer assigned terrorism as a full-time target) – suffice to say that

they are worthless in relation to defense strategy, policy, acquisition, and

tactics. They kill people with drones and without due process, with a 98%

collateral damage ratio, and produce no decision-support worthy of note.

What they are

doing in the way of destabilization operations (including the funding of

Uighurs against China and Chechens against Russia – acts of undeclared war) is in

my view grounds for impeaching the Director of that agency and shutting down

its covert operations aspect. If defense – and diplomacy as well as development

– are to achieve intelligence with integrity, they must do so without relying

on the CIA for anything. I would like to reconstitute the CIA one day, honoring

President Harry Truman’s original vision for a Whole of Government

decision-support capability, but that is in the “too hard’ box right now. An open source (technologies) agency

The Secretary

of Defense is sponsoring a D3 Innovation Summit (D3 stands for defense,

diplomacy, and development) focusing on the convergence of technological

innovation with the frighteningly complex and ever-changing challenges faced by

the DoD and the objectives of the Department of State that includes the US

Agency for International Development (USAID). The D3 Innovation Summit could

well be a crowning achievement for the Secretary of Defense, its outcomes a

legacy achievement for the Obama-Biden Administration.

An Open Source

(Technologies) Agency is proposed that is far removed from the secret

intelligence world – the J-7 is the appropriate sponsor and the National

Defense University (NDU) the best-suited host for the Initial Operating

Capability (IOC). This new proposed agency would be a comprehensive innovation

engine that addresses nine distinct open source technology groups itemized

below, each with three subordinate examples (there are over sixty open source

technologies with many more likely to develop in the near term).

Two Bureaus are proposed – a D3 Information Bureau

that makes it possible to digitize other people’s open source information (most

of it not digital now) and harmonize the constructive investment of other

people’s money at the village level (eliminating the 80% or more lost to

intermediaries) while delivering open source innovation blueprints; and a D3

Innovation Bureau with a Division for each of the nine open technology areas,

all directly relevant to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development

Goals (SDG).

I

would like to reconstitute the CIA one day, honoring President Harry Truman’s

original vision for a Whole of Government decision-support capability, but that

is in the “too hard’ box right now.

Funded by

defense, under diplomatic auspices, and focused on a mix of Whole of Government

and multinational information-sharing and sense-making with a digital Marshall

Plan emphasizing Open Source Provisioning (energy, water, shelter, food) as

well as Open Infrastructures (free cellular and Internet), this new agency will

quickly and radically enable leap-frog innovation that stabilizes and

reconstructs at a local to global scale. Easily affordable in relation to the

savings achieved by shutting down 80% of three agencies costing $25 billion a

year (savings = $20 billion a year), this new agency solves three big problems:

First, it makes

it possible to create a secure open local to global network for

information-sharing and sense-making across all boundaries, including secure

geospatial positioning. This is not something anyone else in the US Government

can do, least of all the secret world that excludes all “uncleared” foreigners

and ignores all analog and unpublished information, but the General Services Administration (GSA) is starting to think

along these lines and could be an excellent partner in pursuing this

initiative.

Second, it

provides the White House with both desperately needed savings (the President

has asked for a 30% reduction in the defense budget), while also directly

addressing the interest of the White House in finding ways to extend American

development assistance and particularly Internet and information-related

technologies into what are called “digital deserts” – areas also coincident

with energy, water, and food scarcity while being a primary point of origin for

illegal immigrants inclusive of criminals and terrorists.

Third, and

finally, it establishes, for the first time in US Government history, a Whole

of Government engine for innovation that is also able to integrate

multinational, multiagency partners, each assured of the rights of anonymity,

identity, privacy, and security that the current systems fail to provide. This

in turn enables evidence-based multinational decision-making and localized

sustainability innovation, such that we stabilize the five billion people at

the bottom of the current economic pyramid with capabilities that directly

address the top three threats to humanity: poverty, infectious disease, and

environmental degradation. As Alvin Toffler was the first to point out, information is a substitute for violence, wealth, time, and space.

In passing,

this new agency will both harvest, legally and ethically, all open source

information in all languages and mediums, and provide for its near-real-time

processing in geospatial context, while making a copy – not the original –

available to the secret world in real-time as received. The original

information will remain an open public good that can be shared without

restraint and be converted into free online education – one cell call at a time

– in 33 languages including 11 dialects of Arabic. As Alvin Toffler was the

first to point out, information is a substitute for violence, wealth, time, and

space.

At Full

Operational Capability (FOC), the new agency should be funded at no less than

$3 billion a year, and it should allow the President and the Secretaries of

State and Defense to influence how other people spend $1 trillion a year in

defense, diplomacy, and development funds. That is, roughly, a 333 times Return

on Investment (ROI).

Perhaps most

significantly, the success of this new agency would radically reduce wars and

illegal immigration, increase trade and shared prosperity, and convert the USA

into a “Smart Nation” in which all of the open source technologies create jobs,

eliminate waste, and generally restore the health of the Republic.

There is no

down side – from a Constitutional or public perspective – of getting this

right.

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