Flattops from space: the once (and future?) meme of photographing aircraft carriers from orbit

The Space Review – In 1984, Samuel Loring Morison, an analyst at the Naval Intelligence Support Center outside of Washington, DC, picked three photos off the desk of a colleague. He clipped the security classification stamps off the sides of the photos and provided them to Jane’s Defence Weekly, which had only recently begun publishing. The photos were taken by a satellite of a Soviet Union military shipyard. Knowing that they had a real scoop, the editors at Jane’s put one of the photos on the cover of the magazine and featured the other two in a short article about the latest Soviet naval developments…

Old Books New Ideas Realigning Naval Intelligence For Great Power Competition

CIMSEC – Naval Intelligence is the decision advantage for GPC, using “old school” tools, honed through combat, the Cold War, and combat again, supplemented by “new school” techniques. All of these tools will be that decisive advantage just in case “competition” becomes “combat.”

The Unique Intelligence Challenges of Countering Naval Asymmetric Warfare

CIMSEC – Naval intelligence organizations seeking to understand asymmetrical naval forces must promote a culture of creativity, daring, pluralism, and deep cultural knowledge in order to best understand how the asymmetric adversary behaves and operates.

Hidden Threat To Navies: How Freely Available Satellite Imagery Can Track Radars

Naval News – Open source intelligence can pose a threat to naval operations of any nation. It is free available and, largely, easily analyzed. Anyone with an internet connection can potentially locate warships in operational settings. Radar satellite data is not the most intuitive, but it provides OSINT watchers with yet another tool to track navies. And no navy is immune from OSINT.

Unseenlabs Ready To Launch Satellites Constellation Dedicated To Ship Geolocation

Naval News – Unseenlabs announces the imminent launch of nano-satellites BRO-2 and BRO-3 and the deployment of the constellation dedicated to the geolocation of ships at sea.

Naval Intelligence, the CIA, and the Soviet-Russian Threat: The Cold War and Beyond

USNI Blog – As the United States and its Navy orient to the current Russian threat, there are lessons to be learned from Cold War history. The original Cold Warriors succeeded in avoiding a direct, large-scale military clash between the United States and Soviet Union. In such a “cold” conflict, intelligence counts as much as firepower. With a growing body of previously classified material now available, researchers and intelligence professionals have increased insight into what worked well—and what did not—in the U.S. intelligence community’s efforts to understand the Soviet Navy. These lessons remain relevant.

Persistent Eye in the Sky: How Commercial Satellites Can Help the Navy Achieve Superior Maritime Awareness

War on the Rocks – The revolution in small commercial satellites, combined with the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, turns satellite imagery from mere information into intelligence. The commercialization of these capabilities gives other nations — both small and peer competitors — the ability to compete with the United States for a space-based ISR advantage. The U.S. Navy should take advantage of and integrate advances in commercial ISR technology to enhance its strike capabilities and ensure that it continues to control the seas.

A Spymaster Steps Out of the Shadows

New York Times Magazine – John Brennan quietly ruled the national-security state under President Obama. Now he’s coming forward to rail against Trump — and to defend his own legacy.

How to Spot the Secretive Activities of Rogue Fishing Boats

BBC – For years it’s been impossible to see illegal acts happening at sea, from overfishing to human rights abuses. Now that’s changing.

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: The Value of OSINT for the US Navy

CIMSEC – With the advent of the Information Age, a rapid evolution of technological innovations democratized and decentralized information, creating a digital universe and a surfeit of open source intelligence, or OSINT. In the past decade alone, the world produced more information than it had in the rest of human history. This diffusion of information holds significant promise for the Naval Intelligence community, whose own rich history is replete with examples of OSINT being an integral part of the analytic picture.

Loitering With Intent

Harper’s – William Arkin writes: “When I look at the digital legions splayed out on a battlefield that is truly global, I see drones and the Data Machine they serve as the greatest threats to our national security, our safety, and our very way of life. If drones instantly ceased to exist, the black boxes at the heart of the Data Machine would still direct manned aircraft and satellites. And yet drones are the proper place to start thinking about our deluded pursuit of perfect war, which is produced by our hubristic endeavor to root out evil everywhere and our increased unwillingness to suffer human sacrifice in the course of making war.”

Intelligence – Navy dismisses Google's alarm over ship-tracking

Virginian Pilot – When a top Google official came to Virginia Beach last week to speak at a respected defense conference, he delivered a stunning and convincing message: The company is on the verge of unveiling a project that could reveal to the public the precise locations of many ships at sea, including U.S. Navy ships.

Intelligence – US Naval War College's Strategic Research Department Weekly Maritime News Survey

US Naval War College’s Strategic Research Department Weekly Maritime News Survey – This is a great naval news source I just learned of, which is updated each Monday.

Thanks to Jim for the link!

Intelligence – Google Can Track Ships At Sea — Including US Navy; Detailed Maps Planned of Sea Bottom

AOL Defense – Google will soon make public information about virtually every ship at sea, giving the current location and identity even of American warships. Meanwhile, the company is consulting with the Navy and others about security issues.

Intelligence – The Secret Sharer

New Yorker – An inside look at the workings of the NSA. Is Thomas Drake an enemy of the state? Drake, a former senior executive at the National Security Agency, faces some of the gravest charges that can be brought against an American citizen.

Intelligence – Top Secret America

An interesting series of articles on America’s growing intelligence-industrial complex.

Washington PostA hidden world, growing beyond control

Washington PostNational Security Inc.

Washington PostThe secrets next door

…and the home page of the series with many other references – Washington PostTop Secret America

Intelligence – Pandora's Briefcase

New YorkerPandora’s Briefcase

Malcolm Gladwell writes that in the months before the invasion of Sicily, British spies fooled German spies with a caper inspired by a detective novel. It was a dazzling feat of wartime espionage. But does it argue for or against spying?

Intelligence – Who's in Big Brother's Database?

New York Review of BooksWho’s in Big Brother’s Database?

James Bamford reviews a history of the National Security Agency. The most interesting part:

“…Instead, what the agency needs most, Aid says, is more power. But the type of power to which he is referring is the kind that comes from electrical substations, not statutes. “As strange as it may sound,” he writes, “one of the most urgent problems facing NSA is a severe shortage of electrical power.” With supercomputers measured by the acre and estimated $70 million annual electricity bills for its headquarters, the agency has begun browning out, which is the reason for locating its new data centers in Utah and Texas. And as it pleads for more money to construct newer and bigger power generators, Aid notes, Congress is balking.

The issue is critical because at the NSA, electrical power is political power. In its top-secret world, the coin of the realm is the kilowatt. More electrical power ensures bigger data centers. Bigger data centers, in turn, generate a need for more access to phone calls and e-mail and, conversely, less privacy. The more data that comes in, the more reports flow out. And the more reports that flow out, the more political power for the agency.

Rather than give the NSA more money for more power—electrical and political—some have instead suggested just pulling the plug…”