The future of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is Multinational, Multifunctional, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing & Sense-Making (M4IS2).
The following, subject to the approval of Executive and Congressional leadership, are suggested hueristics (rules of thumb):
Rule 1: All Open Source Information (OSIF) goes directly to the high side (multinational top secret) the instant it is received at any level by any civilian or military element responsive to global OSINT grid. This includes all of the contextual agency and mission specific information from the civilian elements previously stove-piped or disgarded, not only within the US, but ultimately within all 90+ participating nations.
Rule 2: In return for Rule 1, the US IC agrees that the Department of State (and within DoD, Civil Affairs) is the proponent outside the wire, and the sharing of all OSIF originating outside the US IC is at the discretion of State/Civil Affairs without secret world caveat or constraint. OSIF collected by US IC elements is NOT included in this warrant.
Arnie Donahue was until the mid-1990’s the ONLY Federal Government employee to hold ALL of the top Codeword accesses for the simple reason that he was in charge of the C4I Branch in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and “no lookee no payee.” An honest citizen, he has since 1992 been one of the foremost champions for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), and the budget director for the Earth Intelligence Network (EIN) endeavor to create a free World Brain and EarthGame. Click above to read his 1992 presentation to the first International Conference on Naitonal Security and National Competitiveness: Open Source Solutions. Click below to see all references to this pioneer.
The US Intelligence Community does not lack for well-intentioned leaders, but somehow, despite the efforts of Jim Schlesinger in the 1970’s and many others through the 1980’s and 1990’s and into the new century, transformation eludes us. We speculate that secrecy has a great deal to do with it–and one leader commented, the only person who could brief him on a program he wanted to terminate was the person who stood to lose their fiefdom if he did. Below is the single page summing up 20 years of endeavor, as delivered to the DNI. It remains valid today (6 August 2009).
The two short-cut links no longer work. They are provided below in full title mode.
Don Gessaman was the Deputy Associate Director for National Security at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for over a decade, and in that capacity managed the oversight, as the most senior civil servant in OMB for defense, diplomacy, aid, and intelligence. Today Kathleen Peroff manages this money, over one trillion dollars a year, unqiue for being the most disposable and directable part of the US Government’s budget. during this period Arnie Donahue was Chief of the C4I Branch, and served for several years, until 1997, after Don retired. Both of them contributed to the budget numbers contained in ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World.
In 2000 we almost got a Presidential Budget Initiative for the Open Source Agency, but Sean O’Keefe, the Deputy Director of OMB who approved the initiative at a first year start of $125 million, moved to be the leader of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and we lost our chance to leverage Sean O’Keefe’s unique appreciation for the importance of this initative.
He is the principal author of the books shown here, most recently issued in 2006 and generally used by incoming Presidents and new Directors of OMB to orient their political client base and appointees. The book can be ordered from the EOP Foundation, 819 7th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 200001, telephone (2020) 833.8940.
Below is a summary of Don’s presentation to OSS ’21.
Arnie Donahue, until 1997 the Chief of the C4I Branch in the National Security Division led by Don Gessaman, moved in retirement to the National Academy of Public Administraiton (NAPA) where he continued to engage in investigative surveys at the classified level. Below is one of the first reports that he helped administer. It makes the important point that information that is collected, processed, produced, and exploited by both producers and consumers of intelligence cannot be “isolated” into a single agency. It must be handled as a grid or service of common concern. This reference was among the first to suggest to us that Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is a “hybrid” in that is is an intelligence discipline in its own-right, with its own Human, Signals, Imagery, and other sub-components; it is a targeting and validation and contextual sub-element of each of the traditional classified intelligence collection elements (through badly abused and not at all understood by any of them), and finally, it is a consumer-driven source of first resort that has special cachet when shared in a multinational fashion. Geospatial information is OSINT on steroids–so fundamental across so many boundaries that on the one hand, the reports suggests the need for the inegration of the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Geospaital Agency, while also recognizing that like air and water, geospatial data can be used but not controlled.
This is one of two seminal documents in circulation in the Spring and Summer of 1997. The financial numbers in this document were vetted and modified as necessary by Don Gessaman and Arnie Donahue–they are suitable for a President or a Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and still valid today adjusted for inflation. The other is the study done by Boyd Sutton on The Challenge of Global Coverage (click on the frog to go directly to that study. In both instances, because the recommendations were at odds with the conventional bureaucratic desire to increase secret technical intelligence capabilities, the reports were ignored.
Arnie Donahue was the only person in the Office of Management and Budget with ALL of the CODEWORD compartments. He knew where every dollar was going, at the time $30 billion or so. When he stood up and said “There is PLENTY of Money for Open Source,” there was an ambient chill. Everyone wanted to know what Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) was, but no one wanted to pay for it “out of hide.” He and his boss at the time, Don Gessaman, were instrumental in establishing in the year 2000, at the direction of Sean O’Keefe, Code M320 for all DoD expenditures on OSINT, a time bomb that is about to explode (or a bill that is about to come due, as it were).