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US Intelligence Community Targets GenAI, New Personnel to Boost OSINT Collection

In order to catch up with competitors like the People’s Republic of China’s intelligence collection efforts, the U.S. intelligence community is looking to bring in new leadership and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

Bloomberg writes that veteran analyst and cyber expert Jason Barrett has been recruited by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to assist with open-source intelligence gathering and that the Central Intelligence Agency is working with ChatGPT.

Open-source intelligence, or OSINT, is a major focus for China — rather than conducting furtive espionage, the country boasts a science and technology intel workforce of 100,000, among which are analysts and operatives who seek publicly available data like internet content, conference summaries, databases and more.

OSINT was a hot topic at the Potomac Officers Club’s 2023 Intel Summit. The event’s 10th edition is coming in September — register here now to save a seat at the early bird rate. This extremely popular event annually recruits some of the biggest names in the IC, like Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Dr. Stacey Dixon and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director VADM Frank Whitworth.

“The revolution in artificial intelligence, and the avalanche of open-source information alongside what we collect clandestinely, creates historic new opportunities for the CIA’s analysts,” Bill Burns, director of the CIA, wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs.

It has been reported that the agency is beginning to harness generative AI like ChatGPT to sort through the reams of available data that fall under OSINT. Still, they and Barrett’s team have a long way to go, as two Georgetown University analysts (one a former CIA official) reported that the PRC is “two orders of magnitude ahead of us, at least, in terms of open-source exploitation.”

China’s OSINT collection has benefitted its nuclear weapon development and has accelerated its S&T initiatives across the board.

Perhaps more personnel changes in the IC in addition to Barrett — such as Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Kruse recently taking on the role of Defense Intelligence Agency director — will spell a paradigm shift for U.S. OSINT activities.

To find out about domestic OSINT endeavors, attend the 10th Annual Intel Summit in September, where government contractors will assemble to dialogue with the famously tight-lipped members of the IC for insights on how to partner. Register here today at the early bird rate!

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