Search: definition of osint

Definitions, Searches

The existing US definitions of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) are severely deficient at multiple levels.  See the official definitions below the line.  Here is a proper definition devised with Joe Markowitz and others who actually know something about the discipline.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is decision-support (an output not an input) that integrates open sources and methods including all forms of direct human knowledge elicited by intermediaries without subterfuge.  It combines direct access to indigenous humans, gray literature, and the deliberate exploitation of both published and unpublished (field) human experts, advanced multi-disciplinary and multi-domain processing and integration or deconfliction, and advanced visualization and other methods for communicating context and insight to the supported decision-maker(s).  OSINT is not the same as Open Source Information (OSIF), which is where the official definitions are now–publicly available information, nor is it the same as Open Source Data (OSD) or Validated Open Source Intelligence (OSINT-V), which can only be produced by an all-source analyst generally not a contractor.  OSINT is a human intelligence function, not a technical intelligence function.

OSINT has been superceeded as the center of gravity for the future of intelligence by M4IS2: Multinational, Multiagency, Multidimensional, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making.  90% of M4IS2 is not secret, not expensive, and not federal or controlled by any government.  Outside the wire both OSINT and M4IS should be controlled by the J-3 via Civil Affairs (Human) and Information Operations (IO).  Secret bureacracies (including “cyber-commands”) do not have the knowledge, mind-set, or reliability to manage OSINT and M4IS2 interactions with all manner of humans in every clime and place.  Inside the wire, the J-2 becomes the integrator of all-source information, and Civil Affairs and IO become advisory functions to the J-3 on non-kinetic options.

See Also:

Search: osint vs humint

Official Definitions:

Continue reading “Search: definition of osint”

Reference: USDI Open Source Intelligence Instruction

Full 12 Pages Online

Phi Beta Iota: Also known as dodi 3115.12, august 24, 2010.  While the document displays some tiny hints that someone somewhere is thinking, it is largely bureaucratic pap that sanctifies the existing dysfunctional status quo, to include an SES as a branch chief rather than as the head of a new Department, DO, co-equal to DH and DI and DX. The only glimmer of progress is in requiring a consolidated defense program, but even this will be mangled and prolonged. This is a bean-counter instruction, not a real-world instruction intent on providing OSINT support to policy, acquisition, and operations.

See Also:

2008 IJIC 21/3 The Open Source Program: Missing in Action

Graphic: Herring Triangle of Four Levels Need & Cost

2009 DoD OSINT Leadership and Staff Briefings

2009: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Trilogy

Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]

Journal: MILNET Selected Headlines 28 Jan 10

Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Ethics, Key Players, Policies, Threats, Topics (All Other)

CIA Finds a Productive Employee

Capabilities Of U.S. Intelligence Agencies Questioned

Congressional critics have singled out the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), established as part of a sweeping intelligence overhaul after the September 11 attacks.

“I do not (have), nor do I believe the DNI as currently constructed has, all of the authorities to move all of the information in a way that will maximize the likelihood of detecting these plots,” NCTC Director Michael Leiter told the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee.

Phi Beta Iota: Of course the DNI does not have the authorities he needs.  That’s the plan.  If intelligence were as effective as it is capable of being, we could cut the budget back to $25 billion or so, and redirect the savings to education and research, ultimately creating a Smart Nation and a World Brain.  See the last item, Fact Check: How State of Union Compares With Reality, and our comment there.

Indonesia Pulling Down Statue?

Obama in Free Fall

After Van Jones, Anita Dunn, the Skip Gates mess, the “tea-bagger” slurs, the attacks on Fox News, the Copenhagen dashes, the bowing, the apologizing, the reordering of creditors, the NEA obsequiousness, the lackluster overseas-contingency-operation front, the deer-in-the-headlights pause on Afghanistan, the pseudo-deadlines on Iran, Guantanamo, and healthcare, the transparency and bipartisanship fraud, and dozens of other things, Obama simply does not have the popularity to carry unpopular legislation forward. Indeed, he is reaching a point where he may poll more negatively than his agenda does. “Let me be perfectly clear” and “make no mistake about it” are now caricatures.

Phi Beta Iota: We are not in favor of bashing the President.  This paragraph is a tiny manifestation of the enormous anger across America as the 30% of the voters that elected Obama join with the 70% of the voters that did not vote for him (half of those did not vote at all) to realize that Dick Cheney was not the end of the line, Obama is.  The two-party system is not working.  It is not representative, it remains corrupt.  We coiuld free Obama, but like the lightbulb in the shrink joke, he has to want to be free.  Obama could be the George Washington of the 21st Century if he would pass Electoral Reform and lead the entire Nation

Reality in 2002--Little Change Since

Cut The Pentagon, Too: Why Obama’s spending freeze should apply to (most of) the military

Like the budgets of all bureaucracies, but much more so, the Pentagon is stuffed with entrenched interests, parochial barons, and internecine rivalries.

There is no good reason to exempt the Pentagon’s budget from this discipline.  Of course, there are plenty of good reasons to exempt parts of the defense budget from a strict spending freeze.

Continue reading “Journal: MILNET Selected Headlines 28 Jan 10”


Commerce, Corruption, Government, IO Impotency


Full Story Online

More Than Espionage: Open-source intelligence should be part of solution


Washington Times   January 27, 2010    Pg. B3

By Andrew M. Borene

Here’s some food for thought: White House policymakers and Congress can help develop an increasingly robust national intelligence capacity by investing new money in the pursuit of a centralized open-source intelligence (OSINT) infrastructure.

Phi Beta Iota: In 1992 it was the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and The MITRE Corporation that destroyed the emergent Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) movement.  CIA refused to deal with OSINT unless everyone associated with it was a U.S. citizen with a SECRET clearance (we do not make this stuff up), and MITRE misled the US Government in such a way as to promote their Open Source Information System (OSIS) that ended up providing analysts mediocre high-side access to six open sources (LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytics, Jane’s Information Group, Predicast and two other non-memorable sources).  The US Marine Corps, which was the proponent for OSINT based on the lessons learned in creating the Marine Corps Intelligence Center (MCIC), argued for an outside the wire center of excellence that would have access to all sources in all languages (in part because the “experts” flogged by contracting firms may have been expert once, but are not “the” expert on any given topic for any given day–for that we prize European and Chinese and Latin American graduate students about to receive their PhD).

During his tenure as Director of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO), Dr. Joe Markowitz, the only person ever to actually understand OSINT within CIA, closely followed by Carol Dumaine, founder of the Global Futures Partership, tried four years in a row, with the support of Charlie Allen, then Deputy Director for Collection (DDCI/C), to get an OSINT program line established.  Four years in a row, Joan Dempsey, then Deputy Director for Community Management (DDCI/CM) refused.  The secret IC is incapable of creating an Open Source Agency (OSA) as called for by the 9-11 Commission, and any money it puts in that direction will be wasted unless the Simmons-Steele-Markowitz recommendations briefed to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are respected.

Dr. Markowitz is also the author of the OSINT portions of vital Defense Science Board reports such as Transitions to and from Hostilities, and is unique within the CIA alumni for understanding both the needs of defense and the possibilities of OSINT.  COSPO was an honest effort–CIA/OSC is not.

CIA and LEXIS-NEXIS still do not get it–they both want a monopoly on a discicpline they do not understand and cannot monopolize.  The US Government is a BENEFICIARY of OSINT, not its patron, and any endeavor that is not outside the wire, transparent, and under diplomatic and civil affairs auspices, is destined to fail, just as CIA/OSC has failed all these years, just as LEXIS-NEXIS, Oxford Analytica, and Jane’s Information Group have failed on substance all these years.    They profit from government ignorance, they do not profit from actually connecting the government to sources that are largely free, not online, and not in English.

Continue reading “Journal: LEXIS-NEXIS OSINT Kiss to CIA/OSC”

Graphic: OSINT & Universal Coverage at Local Level

Advanced Cyber/IO, Collection, Geospatial, ICT-IT, Innovation, Languages-Translation, Leadership-Integrity, Multinational Plus, Strategy-Holistic Coherence, Threats, Tribes

The “New Craft of Intelligence” was defined by Robert Steele in 2002 and ratified by Dr. Stephen Cambone in 2004 when he called for the urgency of universal coverage at a neighborhood level of granularity.  The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) refused a new defense Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) program offer from USD (I), with the result that today DoD has between $1 billion and $3 billion a year in incoherent Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) program elements, none of which perform to full potential at the same time that perhaps 70% of what we need to know and can know from OSINT is going unrealized.

Graphic: Whole of Government Intelligence

Advanced Cyber/IO, Analysis, Balance, Capabilities-Force Structure, Earth Orientation, Innovation, Leadership-Integrity, Multinational Plus, Policies-Harmonization, Political, Processing, Reform, Strategy-Holistic Coherence, Threats, Tribes
Click to Enlarge

Somebody somewhere has to do this, and do it with over 90 nations, all NGOs, and global reach into all academic and private sector organizations desiring to share information and do multilateral sense-making.


2009 DoD OSINT Leadership and Staff Briefings

2009: Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Trilogy

Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]

Search: Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield

Graphic: 9-11 Commission Open Source Agency

Advanced Cyber/IO, Balance, Capabilities-Force Structure, Collection, Innovation, Multinational Plus, Policies-Harmonization, Processing, Strategy-Holistic Coherence, Threats, Tribes
Click on Image to Enlarge

The 9-11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 26 July 2004.  As found on Page 23 in the Summary and Page 413 within Chapter 13, “How to Do It?  A different Way of Organizing the Government.”

See also: Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]

Continue reading “Graphic: 9-11 Commission Open Source Agency”

Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]

Analysis, Budgets & Funding, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Ethics, InfoOps (IO), Key Players, Methods & Process, Mobile, Policies, Policy, Real Time, Reform, Searches, Strategy, Technologies, Threats, Tools
COIN20 Trip Report
Paradise Found

The future of OSINT is M4IS2.

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.

Continue reading “Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]”

1988-2009 OSINT-M4IS2 TECHINT Chronology

Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Methods & Process, Mobile, Policies, Real Time, Threats
Rock ON, Dude
Steele as Wild Card Speaker

Phi Beta Iota: This started as a short list for the various college and university engineering students that have dialed in, but as we got into it, it became more of a “situational awareness” inventory pulling together both technical “solutions” none of which have been integrated yet, and analytic “requirements” none of which have been satisfied yet.

$75 billion a year for secret intelligence, and we still do not have an analytic desktop toolkit, all-source geospatially and historically and cultural astute back office processing, or global reach to all humans, all minds, all the time.  Sucks for us.  Let’s see what the Smart Mob can do….

We specifically invite suggestions in the Comments for removing items from this list, or for adding items from within this website or from any other website.  This is now a work zone.  Steele is available to visit any engineering workshop and especially those working on bottom-up clouds like Swarm DPL (transparently scalable distributed programming language).

See also About the Idea, Articles, Briefs, Handbooks, and Historic Contributions. Use the Menu–everything on this stie responds to “OSINT” that is not a good search term.  Rock on!


2009 Arnold Google: The Digital Gutenberg

2008 Memoranda: Policy-Budget Outreach Tool

2006  USSOCOM Software List and STRONG ANGEL TOOZL

2006 Morville (UK) Ambient Findability Massive Scale Beyond Your Imagination A Recommedned Approach to Creating the World Brain with Instant Recall

Continue reading “1988-2009 OSINT-M4IS2 TECHINT Chronology”

2009 DoD OSINT Leadership and Staff Briefings

About the Idea, Briefings & Lectures

In the interest of helping Defense Intelligence catch up with state of the art thinking on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), the below two briefings have been created and made available to USD(I) and DIOSPO.

They are also being made available to all military attaches, who are being invited by a European government to plan for and attend a global multinational information-sharing and sense-making conference in Europe in November 2010.

PPT (6 Pages): 2009 DoD OSINT Leadership Briefing

PPT (18 Pages): 2009 DoD OSINT Staff Briefing

The leadership briefing would not have been possible in its present focused form without the direction of Dr. Joseph Markowitz, himself the longest serving director of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO) and also the author of the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) elements of the Defense Science Board (DSB) reports bearing on the urgency of Defense needs for OSINT not available from the Open Source Center (OSC) or any other US IC entity.

See Also (updated 2014):

2013 Robert Steele: Reflections on Reform 2.3 Numbers for 30% DoD Cut over 2-4 Years

2013 Robert Steele Answers on OSINT to PhD Student in Denmark 2.0

2004 DoD OSINT Program: A Speculative Overview

Journal: No Record of DoD Responding to Congressional Mandate for Strategies, Plans, and Enhancements of the Separate Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) Discipline

NATO OSINT to OSE/M4IS2 Round-Up 2.0

OSINT Literature Review, Name Association, Lessons Learned

Who’s Who in Public Intelligence: Joseph Markowitz

Alpha M-P
Joseph Markowitz
Joseph Markowitz


Dr. Joseph Markowitz

Dr. Joseph Markowitz is without question the most qualified Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) pioneer in the ranks of those presently in or retired from U.S. government service.  As the only real chief of the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO) he tried valiently to nurture a program being systematically undermined by both the leadership and the traditional broadcast monitoring service.  When he moved on to advise the Defense Science Board, he served America well by helping them fully integrate the need for both defense open source information collection and exploitation, and defense information sharing with non-governmental organizations.  His persistent but diplomatic efforts merit our greatest regard.

2006 Markowitz (US) Open Source Information and US Transitions to and from Hostilities (Defense Science Board Report, December 2004), in Relation to Information-Sharing with non-DoD and Froeign Parties

2003 Markowitz (US) Open Source in Support to All-Source Intelligence

1999 Allen (US) Requirements, Collection, and Current Awareness: The Human Dimension (The Role of Open Sources as the Foundation for Successful All-Source Collection Strategies) (Ghost-Written by Markowitz)

Reference: Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) Number 300: Management, Integration, and Oversight of Intelligence Collection and Covert Action

Director of National Intelligence et al (IC)
OCD 300
OCD 300

Phi Beta Iota Editorial Comment (DOI: 11 August 2009)

This directive is “senior” to directive 301 but rather strangely does not appear to be included in the essential references relevant to creating the OSINT discipline.  Key points:

1.  OSINT is co-equal to HUMINT and TECHINT in DNI emphasis and stature, but the ADDNI/OS does not appear to report directly to the DDNI/C, has no staff, no program line, and is generally a sideshow.  The DNI should be challenged to make good on how this Directive treats OSINT.

2.  This directive also identifies the Mission Managers as key players, and they have not, that we can see, been included by the ADDNI/OS as they should be.

3.  Despite the best of intentions, the morphing of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) into the Open Source Center (OSC), both CIA entities whatever their label, has been a disaster.  We have destroyed FBIS, which was once a world-class foreign broadcast monitoring service, and put in its place a mediocre and poorly-informed make-believe service of common concern that makes promises it cannot keep, has done a great deal of damage to defense OSINT, and is incapable of organizing a Whole of Government OSINT capability.  The DDNI/C needs to revisit this, it cannot be done at lower levels.

4.  Authorities and Responsibilities of the DDNI/C include, as item 1(4), attention to gaps with OSINT.  This is a huge responsibility that has not been addressed by the DDNI/C, who needs to understand that OSINT, properly funded and managed, can resolve at least 50% of the extant gaps, and probably closer to 80%.

5.  The DDNI/C is responsible for helping the DDNI/M address competency and qualifications within the various collection disciplines.  This has not been done for OSINT, in part because those doing the defining are defining on the basis on what little they know.  They do not know what they do not know.  The DDNI/C needs an external advisory board fully familiar with global OSINT skills and competencies to make this right.

6.  This directive explicitly states that the ADDNI/OS is the Chair of the National Open Source Council.  The ADDNI/OS is in violation of this directive in delegating that duty to the Director of the CIA/DNI OSC.  Unless the ADDNI/OS wishes to switch places with the latter, this assigned duty must be immediately restored as intended, to the ADDNI/OS alone.

7.  The ADDNI/OS is charged by this directive with overseeing the OSC.  By all accounts, what the ADDNI/OS has actually done is ceded all responsibility to the OSC.  The DDNI/C needs to examine this situation and take corrective action.  It bears mention that the ADDNI/OS has zero authority, no staff to speak of (less one incredibly gifted person long over-worked and long over-due for recognition), and evidently no “big picture” justifying his appointment to the position.  At the DNI level, OSINT does not exist in tangible relevant form.

8.  The scattered assignment of executive agency to CIA, FBI, and DIA needs to be re-visited.  The OSC should be limited to serving the CIA at the same time that FBIS is restored as an independent entity.  It will take years to undo the damage, including the loss of foreign translators and subject-matter experts that FBIS was induced to lay off.  The National Virtual Translation Center should be put into the Open Source Agency, along with the National Documents Exploitation Center which still appears in this document as National Media Exploitation Center, a misnomer.

On balance, ICD 300 is superior to ICD 301 and needs to be re-visited before ICD 301 can be updated.  We recommend that the DDNI/C convene a very small group including Joe Markowitz, Boyd Sutton, and Robert Steele, as well as the chief librarians from the Library of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, and the Department of State, and that the entire OSINT account be scrubbed so that first ICD 300, and then ICD 301, and be completely revised and re-issued on 1 October 2009.