LTG Michael T. Flynn, shown here addressing the 12th Annual C4ISR Journal Conference, told the audience at GEOINT 2013* that DIA is undergoing a necessary transformation to handle today's threat environment. (Gannett Government Media Corp)
The Defense Intelligence Agency, like much of the intelligence community, has spent the better part of the last year orchestrating a transformation of sorts – from operating in separate environments to a community that shares information and intelligence readily and easily. Today’s warfare demands it, and officials cautiously say progress is being made.
That transformation, happening against a backdrop of explosions in technology and population and a world where “crisis is the new normal,” means that DIA is focused on integration, innovation and investment, according to Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, DIA director.
“In each case it’s really important how we work together on this,” Flynn said April 15 at the GEOINT conference in Tampa, Fla. “The new model for intelligence is not new – it’s the right thing to do.”
By that he means that everyone is familiar with integration and innovation: Everyone uses the buzzwords, and everyone may or may not be working to implement them in their own offices in some form or another. At DIA it’s about bringing people together to focus on specific problems, investing in technology and innovation and opening the door to partnerships that, until a couple years ago, had little hope of flourishing.
One example of that is DIA’s Needipedia, a website operated by the agency that iterates its gaps in abilities and requirements to members of industry, who then can respond with their solutions.
Now several months into being online, the site is helping “people who don’t necessarily know how to get into this crazy, bureaucratic acquisition system that we do have,” Flynn said. “So we’re trying to get that down to a better science…to make it easier for those people out there who have good ideas.”
But there remain some areas that are still taking shape – areas where DIA and other intelligence and defense agencies continue to negotiate a way forward. A prime example is cyberspace, Flynn noted.
“There’s been a debate about why [we are] involved in cyber. We’re involved in cyber because there is a warfight going on in cyber – there’s offensive, there’s defensive, there’s exploitation and operations going on. There are intentions, there are capabilities and there’s a doctrine that’s beginning to develop; there’s tactics, techniques and procedures that have clearly been developed,” Flynn said. “We have to understand all that and we have to understand the context in which it’s happening. It’s not just the act of cyber…it’s why, what are they doing, what’s their long-term plans, what’s their near-term plans. It’s a battle space that, from a military standpoint, we have to understand a lot better. And I think we’re still in the infant stages.”
See all of our GEOINT 2013* coverage at the GEOINT 2013* Show Reporter .