With the continued growth of open-source technology, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has been taking steps to address how the technology should be managed and how to train intelligence community (IC) personnel for its use, a DIA official said on July 14.

Open-source technology incorporates source code that is freely available to use, modify, and redistribute.

Brad Ahlskog, chief of the Open-Source Intelligence Integration Center at DIA, discussed three areas that the agency has been looking into in order to best implement open-source technology during the Intelligence and National Security Summit hosted by Intelligence & National Security Alliance (INSA) on July 14.

Those three primary areas, he said, are transparency, integration, and increasing enterprise solutions.

“This is very much a crowdsourcing effort but we’re already seeing great progress in how we actually professionalize all the other practitioners no matter where they sit in the IC … We’re charging ahead and we already are starting to see the benefits from that,” said Ahlskog.

The use of open-source technology within the government has seen robust growth, which has led DIA to take practical steps to reap the benefits while avoiding some of the pitfalls that the technology might pose.

Although the DIA has been moving forward with utilizing open-source technology, the constant rate of change has presented challenges for the agency to scale up and train the intelligence workforce.

“One of the largest challenges we face is the evolution of technology … So we have a variety of efforts underway, the train tracks are being produced right now,” said Ahlskog.

“It’s going to be available to all the practitioners, but we’re really scratching the surface and again, we’re chasing technology, and we have to be as agile and as quick as we can be, and rely on a lot of help from outside,” he said.

One of the other major problems discussed by Ahlskog was the use of open-source AI tools that have proliferated recently, and how the government will need to work on creating guardrails for those to guard against the creation of misinformation and disinformation.

“The government is not the solution to the disinformation problem … This is a national challenge and international challenge, and it’s going to take all components of our society and our citizens to chart the way to keep our institutions and our economies and everything else secure,” said Ahlskog.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.