NGA, GU host intelligence conference with focus on transparency
“Giving the Intelligence Community the tools it needs to protect and strengthen our nation while being ever-mindful to respect our civil liberties,” was a focus of the 2015 Kalaris Intelligence Conference, dubbed “Succeeding in the Open,” held Sept. 24 at Georgetown University and co-hosted by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, Georgetown Provost Dr. Robert Groves and NGA Director Robert Cardillo were featured speakers inside Georgetown University’s historic Gaston Hall in Washington, D.C.
Following opening remarks by ODNI’s Ellen McCarthy and welcoming remarks by Groves, Cardillo took to the podium to set the stage for the day.
“Georgetown and NGA have a lot in common,” Cardillo said in his introductory remarks to an audience that included current IC workers and Georgetown students. “We seek men and women who challenge our people to think about the future.”
Cardillo was joined by Wall Street Journal reporter Damian Paletta for a one-on-one dialogue about Syria and Russia, Silicon Valley, commercial imagery, and the government shutdown. Paletta and Cardillo also fielded questions from audience members and social media users, further setting the tone for the remainder of the conference.
“I was raised in this ‘thou shalt not mentality.’ Today’s workforce is going to have to be much more comfortable and agile,” said Cardillo while discussing IC transparency. “In this profession, we’re on the cusp of a revolution.”
Panels during the day focused on issues such as non-traditional data, achieving transparency, and the future for intelligence analysis. Notable panelists from NGA included Deputy Director Sue Gordon, Analysis Director Gary Dunow and Source Director John Goolgasian. Other notable panelists included DIA Director, Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, USMC, ODNI General Council Robert S. Litt and IARPA Director Dr. Jason Matheny.
Clapper’s keynote address focused heavily on transparency, making references to the Snowden leaks and the CIA’s recent declassification of 2,500 presidential daily brief documents.
“Even if we’re more transparent, we’re still going to be held accountable,” he said. “Oftentimes, people don’t make a distinction between mysteries and secrets. There is a difference.”
In the closing keynote, Lettre discussed the role technology plays in succeeding in the open. “We’re opening windows into game-changing technologies, driven by the commercial sector,” he said.
Lettre then discussed future intelligence capabilities like open-source data, which he said can “be a tremendous and powerful tool.”
“It’s clear that having the ability to understand the information in real time can sometimes be more reliable than having to rely on clandestine intelligence information,” he said.