2014 Robert Steele Open Letter to Vice President of the United States of America Joe Biden, The White House
SHORT URL: http://tinyurl.com/OSA-Biden
These materials were delivered via certified mail to the Office of the Vice President on Monday 5 May 2014.
There is a better than even chance that the IC “minder” controlling the Vice President’s correspondence intercepted the package and the Vice President is therefore unwitting of this official certified-as-delivered communication.
ADDENDUM: The OSA will be the premier decision-support organization in the world, promulgating the proven process of decision-support (requirements definition, collection management, source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, geospatially-rooted processing, inter-disciplinary analysis, and open transparent action-enabling production). The OSA will also be the only USG element that provides Congress and the Executive with identical decision-support also shared with the public, and the only USG element that is “all in” on M4IS2/OSE. For those that have asked about personnel, tables of organization, budgets, etcetera — at this level of play, decisions are made on one line and a number. OMB has set the numbers — $125M IOC toward $2-3B FOC. My personal view is that the organization should consist of no more than 120 full-time personnel within the HQ element on the South-Central Campus. Spending will be focused on individual minds in every clime and place, and on incentivizing coalitions among the eight tribes across all boundaries. The School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance, the World Brain Institute, and the EarthGame will be independent subsidized elements manned by rotational personnel on sabatical — gatherings of eagles from across all nations, agencies, disciplines, and domains.
M4IS2: Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making
OSE: Open Source Everything — the only affordable, inter-operable, scalable, and therefore sustainable global approach to engineering
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The Vice President, Old Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20501
1 May 2014
PERSONAL FOR VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN
Dear Mr. Vice President,
For a quarter century a handful of governance reformers have been advocating the creation of an Open Source Agency (OSA). Originally intended to focus on providing decision-support to the entire government while raising global access to open sources of information in all languages for academia, civil society, and commerce, this initiative finally made it on to pages 23 and 413 of the 9/11 Commission Report. This initiative has also been approved twice by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), provided that you, the President, or a Cabinet Secretary ask for it.
As I contemplate the closing two years of the Obama-Biden Administration, and the future prospects for America, I can think of no initiative that might yield greater political, cultural, and financial benefit to the United States of America, than this one. In terms of global influence, this is a new foundation.
In practical terms, this initiative would radically enhance the availability of decision-support to you and the President in particular, to the Cabinet generally, and to the Congressional oversight committees that now do not receive adequate decision-support. We are long over-due for ensuring that both the Executive and the Legislature have a common view of the threats, challenges, and change agents in our world. The OSA can also level the playing field against the various forces of disinformation.
In political terms this initiative will provide trenchant incontrovertible documentations helpful to achieving Presidential objectives including the radical reduction of the military budget that is 47% waste across all weapons systems, while still providing for a strong defense. Elsewhere I have documented how we can achieve a 450-ship Navy, a long-haul Air Force, and an air mobile Army while still reducing the military budget by 30% over four years. Similar advances can be made in all Cabinet Departments.
In financial terms, across Whole of Government, this decision-support enterprise will finally allow OMB to manage on the basis of decision-support that fully documents true costs and waste across the various complexes. Such knowledge can be managed politically – I learned the hard way, watching the National Security Act of 1992 led by Senator David Boren go down, because Senator John Warner equated reform with down-sizing and lost jobs and budgets. Reform can be job and revenue neutral at home if the savings are found in overhead and overseas. The OSA is a “big bat” relevant to every political debate.
Enclosed are a six-slide story board, a two-page memorandum, and a one-page simplified summary of what could be called the Smart Nation Act of 2014. Please note that one half of the proposed budget is intended to create 50 state community decision-support networks manned by the National Guard. Each of these networks will be highly relevant to citizen understanding of and participation in the substance of the 2016 elections and perhaps valuable in addressing localized employment and resilience issues.
I seek thirty minutes of your time in which to earn your support for this initiative, with the intent that you agree to serve as the first Chairman of the Board of Governors, and that you assign a member of your staff as my point of contact for developing this initiative with OMB so as to introduce legislation prior to the summer recess. I believe that you will find the OSA a resource of startling value.
Robert David Steele
CEO (pro bono)
Earth Intelligence Network (501c3), 11005 Langton Arms Court, Oakton, VA 22124
CEO Cell: REDACTED CEO Email: REDACTED
Open Source Intelligence Requires an Open Source Agency
What: An Open Source Agency (OSA) is a legal, ethical intelligence-gathering and decision-support capability, relying exclusively on sources and methods that are open. It is a support hub serving all elements of the federal government and the nation as a whole. It is an essential means for tracking the information explosion in all the hundreds of languages we do not speak. Open source principles ensure OSA’s dedication to intelligence that is not secret, not expensive, and fully sharable, i.e. democratic.
• Intelligence begins as a process: requirements definition, collection management, source discovery and validation, multi-source fusion, machine and human translation and analysis, visualization of complex ideas, and timely appropriate delivery of decision-support. Intelligence ripens into decision-support. Not all intelligence has to be secret. Secret intelligence deals with narrowly defined security threats and relies upon narrowly defined sources, mostly covert. Open source intelligence deals with broadly defined challenges and opportunities across all domains, and draws upon a wider range of sources.
• Open Source Analysis of Challenges. Three major challenges demand America’s persistent attention.
o Major Global Threats. The UN High Level Panel (Brent Scowcroft was the US representative) defined ten major threats to humanity. Poverty undercuts human capital and economic capital. Infectious Disease undermines human capital. Environmental Degradation threatens environmental capital. Seven other threats endanger civic capital: Inter-State Conflict, Civil War, Genocide, Proliferation, Terrorism, Transnational Crime, Other Atrocities. Open source intelligence gathering is an excellent means for understanding these and similar challenges.
o Major Local to Global Core Policies. From local to national to global, policies today are not harmonized, and even within individual departments, different elements support competing policies and expenditures (for example, one conserving water the other approving water for tar sand extraction; another protecting the prairie dog as a threatened species, while a counterpart pays to eradicate the prairie dog as a pest). Twelve core policies requiring shared information and inter-agency as well as multinational sense-making have been identified from past presidential “mandate for change” volumes. They are Agriculture, Diplomacy, Economy, Education, Energy, Family, Health, Immigration, Justice, Security, Society, and Water.
o Major Global Challengers. Growing economies and large populations define these as nations of particular interest: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards such as South Africa and Turkey. The OSA is the one thing we can do to earn a place at their table.
• Open Source Analysis of Opportunities. America’s long-term goal is to function as a fully competent nation in an increasingly competent world. Open source intelligence will help stakeholders of all kinds to understand better the opportunities that arise from a national commitment to a competent future, and will substantially elevate the clarity, diversity, and integrity of the national deliberative dialog.
• Stakeholder Breadth. For purposes of this discussion, we loosely categorize American society according to: Civil Society, Commerce, Non-Profit/NGO, Media, Academic, Government, Law Enforcement, and Military. Today these institutions and their respective constituencies lack the ability to do (as well as the culture in favor of) information-sharing and collaborative sense-making. This imposes very heavy social and economic costs on the Republic as a whole. Open source intelligence draws from all these perspectives, integrates their viewpoints, and facilitates entrepreneurship, wealth-creation, and overall American competence. The key difference is that this new approach is integrative instead of isolationist, focused on the public interest at large rather than stovepipe stakeholder interests.
Why I (General Relevance): Open source intelligence is more compatible with America’s founding principles than secret source intelligence. The secret approach to intelligence will continue to have a role – ideally a steadily shrinking one – but most of the intelligence America requires in future decades will be more effectively gathered through open source means and methods. Open source methods are more affordable; they are less vulnerable to secret manipulation; they are more compatible with America’s central principles of transparency and accountability. An Open Source Agency will put America on the path toward wiser methods of fulfilling the nation’s needs across education, intelligence (decision-support), and research. Immediate benefits to the incumbent Administration include:
• Direct focus on the identification of cuts in government beginning with phased cuts to secret intelligence (can be cut from $80 billion a year to $20 billion a year) and to national defense (from $900 billion a year to $300 billion a year), while also identifying needed shrinkage in government across the other Cabinet agencies to end the continuing practice of borrowing one trillion dollars a year.
• Direct focus on a national jobs and job retraining program that pays the 22% now unemployed, and continues the salary for one year of the 22% (estimated) that need to be removed from the rolls of federal, state, local, and related contractor positions—in one fell swoop the President can show that he is both trimming the government while leaving no cut employee behind, and re-educating America for the 21st Century in support of software, infrastructure, manufacturing, and resilience jobs.
• Direct focus on Open Government and Citizen Engagement, with Participatory Budgeting being the major outcome of a nation-wide program to identify the true costs of every product, service, and behavior – we attack all forms of waste by publicizing true costs from cradle to grave.
Why II (Presidential Relevance): There is no more important—nor any more absent—service of common concern than decision-support. The US Government is an industrial-era hierarchy of loosely-connected stovepipes that do not share a common software system, a common data management system, or a common information discovery and sense-making system. In the 21st Century, OSA could make a huge difference by allowing the White House via National Security Advisor to have solid decision-support about everything – inexpensive, legal, ethical, shareable decision-support.
How: In 1995 the Aspin-Brown Commission received compelling testimony on OSINT and in its recommendations in 1996 said that OSINT should be a “top priority” for attention by the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and a top priority for funding. The commission’s recommendations were largely ignored. In retrospect, placing Open Source Intelligence under the DCI would have been a judgment error under the best of circumstances. An Open Source Agency (OSA) will serve the nation best as part of the Department of State. In 2000 the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved creation of an OSA as a presidential initiative, with an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of $125 million a year toward a Final Operating Capability (FOC) of $3 billion a year. In 2004-2005 Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) pursued various initiatives on the Hill, and co-drafted with Robert Steele a Smart Nation Act that he intended to introduce following his re-election; his reelection bid fell short by 80 votes. More recently, Joe Markowitz, the first and only Chief of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO) and Robert Steele briefed Kathleen Peroff, the Associate Deputy Director for National Security at OMB, and secured provisional approval for OSA startup funding, contingent on Cabinet Secretary or Presidential sponsorship.
What Else: In recent years there has been a clear migration of public interest as well as academic and corporate interest in the concept of “Open Source Everything.” The first book to address this is Robert Steele’s THE OPEN SOURCE EVERYTHING MANIFESTO: Transparency, Truth & Trust (North Atlantic Books, 2012). A list of representative opens is online at http://tinyurl.com/OSE-LIST.
Where: A property known as the South-Central Campus, north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the State Department, is a natural. The South-Central Campus was originally donated to the CIA by a wealthy widow and more recently turned over to the GSA by Jim Woolsey.
More Information: Open Source Agency: Executive Access Point
Proposed Legislation: The Smart Nation Act of 2014
Institutionalizing Open Source Information Exploitation and Multinational Information Sharing Beneficial to All
• Within the Department of State, expands the capabilities of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy by providing the incumbent with oversight authority of the Open Source Agency (OSA) and the Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements.
• Creates an Open Source Agency (OSA), redirecting the necessary funds on a non-reimbursable basis from Program 50 to Program 150, as a sister-agency to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), with the same arms-length independence that Congress wisely mandated to assure journalist independence, but in this case, to assure the integrity of public intelligence in the public interest across Whole of Government and in all exchanges with foreign and non-governmental entities. The small Headquarters will be constructed on the South-Central Campus, adjacent to both the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), which could serve as a partner in global information peacekeeping, and to George Washington University as well as the John F. Kennedy Center conference and parking facilities. All information obtained by open means will be a public good and a copy also provided as acquired to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who shall make no claim on the disposition of original open sources and methods. The OSA will be the national proponent for all “opens” as are deemed helpful to creating a Smart Nation with an emphasis on Whole of Government decision-support.
• Creates an Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements, to negotiate no-cost information sharing treaties with Nations, and no-cost information sharing agreements with non-governmental and private sector organizations including universities world-wide, while also adopting F/OSS and ODA and related standards facilitating both sharing and semantic web sense-making across all languages (33 initially, 183 at full operating capability).
• Authorizes the creation of a Multinational Decision-Support Centre (MDSC) and related global information-sharing and sense-making network, using non-reimbursable DoD funds transferred to the oversight of the OSA. The MDSC may be managed with Civil Affairs participation, focused on Stabilization & Reconstruction as well as Public Diplomacy and Humanitarian Assistance needs.
• Authorizes the creation of 50 state-based community decision-support networks with watch centers manned by the National Guard (who can hold law enforcement commissions as well as foreign intelligence clearances), so as to assure our ability to harvest local open sources, and deliver all global information in all languages and mediums to every schoolhouse, statehouse, and chamber of commerce.
• Broadens the mandate of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) with non-reimbursable funding from the OSA to create an Internet dissemination capability that offers free universal access to all unclassified information acquired by the OSA, with a robust man-machine translation capability that offers free online education in at least 33 major languages as an important new foundation for public diplomacy and information peacekeeping—educating the three billion poorest one cell call at a time (OpenBTS) with OSA and multinational distributed call centers, is recognized as the means for creating global stabilizing wealth and a world at peace.
• Supports the roles of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) as executive level partners of the Open Source Agency.
• Expands and enhances the role of the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Small Business Administration, and other elements of the federal, state, and local governments developing initiatives for Open Government.
• Expands and enhances the role of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the General Accountability Office (GAO) with direct access to all available information, advanced analytic processing tools, and sufficient personnel to provide each jurisdiction of Congress with unclassified decision-support that can be shared with constituents and the media. –o–
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