Open source, algorithm-based intelligence gaining ground

Report: Intelligence agencies increasingly looking to open source materials as they strive to know what's happening all over the world.

In the wake of massive intelligence failures, the Congressional Research Service finds that open source intelligent gathering (OSINT) and measurement and signatures analysis intelligence (MASINT) will become increasingly valuable, Washington Technology reports. “Intelligence Issues for Congress” (click here for PDF) identifies a growing dependence on open source intelligence. Intelligence services need to cover a broad range of regions and subjects - much harder than simply concentrating on the Soviet Union and China. The need for translation and analysis has increased as well.

“Many observers believe that intelligence agencies should be more aggressive in using OSINT; some believe that the availability of OSINT may even reduce the need for certain collection efforts,” the report stated.

With MASINT, complex analytical refinements are applied to information collected by signal intelligence and geospatial imagery. Since MASINT is so technical, skilled analysts are in high demand. “A key problem has been retaining personnel with expertise in MASINT systems who are offered more remunerative positions in private industry,” the report said.