22nd International conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society 2016

Guest Post by Davide Barbieri*

 

New terrorist organizations, rogue states, almost unpredictable migration flows and new cyber security threats are the issues which will be addressed at the 22nd International Conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society which will take place in Bucharest this year, on the 13th-14th October.

Here you’ll find additional info on the conference

The Romanian Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazul” is taking care of the organization. Several panels – chaired by international academics and intelligence experts – will cover the different topics.

The main framework of the conference will be – as always – extremely interdisciplinary, with scholars coming from different backgrounds like political and social sciences, behavioral sciences, medicine, mathematics and information technology. In particular, since this is my field, I think that the intelligence community should evaluate how and if IT will be able to empower them and help analysts to overcome their cognitive limits, in order to make the most out of the available data, in an efficient way. Terrorist and criminal organizations will certainly do.

*Davide Barbieri, PhD, is a data mining and intelligence analysis expert at Link Campus University, Rome (Italy) where he currently teaches at the Master in Intelligence and Security.

 

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La riforma dell’Intelligence in Italia: alcune riflessioni.

Guest post di Alfonso Montagnese*

Quale percorso di trasformazione ha compiuto l’intelligence italiana a seguito della riforma introdotta dalla L. 124/2007? In che misura la riforma è stata implementata e quali sono le principali novità in campo organizzativo e funzionale rispetto al modello precedente? Ho provato a dare una risposta a queste ed altre domande in un breve saggio, dal titolo “La modernizzazione dell’intelligence italiana a seguito della riforma”, pubblicato sulla Rassegna dell’Arma dei Carabinieri. L’articolo trae spunto da un documento più articolato, presentato in occasione del Convegno organizzato dalla Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP), tenutosi a Perugia dall’11 al 13 settembre 2014 e per il quale Venus (nella persona di Francesco N. Moro) ha svolto il compito di discussant.

Rispetto al modello organizzativo disegnato dalla legge 801/77, l’intelligence nazionale ha percorso un rapido e profondo processo di cambiamento, che, a distanza di circa sette anni dall’entrata in vigore della legge di riforma, appare in fase conclusiva.

La legge 124/07 rafforza, in modo molto equilibrato, i principali attori istituzionali coinvolti, sia sul piano decisionale sia su quello operativo, negli affari di intelligence e di sicurezza nazionale. La rinvigorita dotazione di poteri, capacità e strumenti ha interessato in primo luogo l’Esecutivo, che – con la forte centralizzazione della linea di comando – trova nella figura del Presidente del Consiglio il vertice assoluto dell’infrastruttura istituzionale deputata alla sicurezza nazionale.

Alla definizione del processo decisionale di vertice contribuiscono attivamente anche i Ministri maggiormente coinvolti nella tutela degli interessi strategici del Paese. Il massimo momento di sintesi e di integrazione è costituito dal CISR, organismo interministeriale che, con la sua ‘attivazione permanente’ a seguito dell’istituzione del CISR ‘tecnico’, si è configurato quale vero e proprio Consiglio per la sicurezza nazionale, elevando conseguentemente la qualità della pianificazione in materia di intelligence e la capacità prospettica delle autorità di Governo.

Il Presidente del Consiglio è stato affiancato da due nuovi organi: l’Autorità Delegata e il DIS. La loro funzione primaria è quella di porre rimedio al lamentato distacco tra i poteri di direzione politico-strategica, la responsabilità amministrativa e la conduzione quotidiana della materia relativa alla politica di informazione per la sicurezza. Entrambi gli attori svolgono una funzione di raccordo: il primo essenzialmente tra gli apparati di intelligence ed il Premier; il secondo opera come centro di coordinamento info-operativo tra le Agenzie, diventando l’anello di congiunzione tra il livello politico-strategico e quello operativo.

Al significativo potenziamento del potere Esecutivo è seguito un bilanciato irrobustimento dei meccanismi di controllo parlamentare. Il COPASIR è stato dotato di poteri particolarmente incisivi, che consentono un’efficace attività di vigilanza e controllo sull’operato dell’intelligence nazionale.

Anche sul piano operativo si registra un potenziamento delle strutture dedicate all’attività di intelligence. Le missioni istituzionali delle Agenzie sono oggi caratterizzate da un’area perimetrale molto vasta, sensibilmente ampliata rispetto a quella dei Servizi preesistenti. I nuovi, e più numerosi, interessi posti ‘sotto la tutela’ delle Agenzie hanno richiesto (e continueranno a farlo con più vigore in futuro) competenze adeguate e altamente specializzate, soprattutto in campi ‘lontani’, fino a meno di un decennio fa, dalle capacità tradizionalmente in possesso dell’intelligence.

L’intelligence nazionale ha compiuto, inoltre, un passo decisivo sul piano della trasparenza, dotandosi di un potente e sofisticato arsenale comunicativo, indirizzato a mitigare la diffidenza che i cittadini e l’opinione pubblica nutrono storicamente nei confronti degli organismi di informazione. In netta ed evidente rottura con il passato, i Servizi hanno iniziato a comunicare con l’esterno, con i limiti e le difficoltà intrinseche alla natura ed ai compiti stessi di tali particolari amministrazioni pubbliche.

Nel suo complesso, oggi, l’intelligence italiana si presenta molto ben strutturata e con una fisionomia aderente alle specificità del Paese, della fase storica contemporanea e dell’attuale quadro geo-strategico.

* Alfonso Montagnese è Maggiore dell’Arma dei Carabinieri e presta servizio presso il NATO Stability Policing Centre of Excellence di Vicenza. Collabora con l’Istituto Italiano di Studi Strategici “N. Machiavelli” ed è stato Direttore di Ricerca presso il Ce.Mi.S.S. dello Stato Maggiore della Difesa nel 2010 e nel 2012.

 

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Intelligence in the Knowledge Society

Some interesting stuff in Romania. Here you’ll find the details of the forthcoming  international conference “Intelligence in the Knowledge Society“. The conference is organized by “Mihai Viteazul” National Intelligence Academy through its National Institute for Intelligence Studies.

Here you’ll find the main topics in the agenda.

Several interesting studies on intelligence, risk assessment and terrorism have been scheduled.

Here below the description of the event in the official website:

The advent of the twenty-first century has had a profound impact on both society at large and on intelligence organizations. As the digital age advances and the nature of the threats faced by modern states evolved from the classical to the asymmetric, old methods, concepts and approaches have gradually become obsolete. Technological developments, new actors, social movements and the growing need for accountability have changed intelligence organizations beyond anything known at the end of the previous century. More and more, intelligence practice and theory have to adapt to quickly-evolving realities, to the need to manage knowledge on a previously-unseen scale and to the fact that the monopoly on information previously held by the state is being constantly eroded.  The twenty-first edition of our annual conference aims to elicit international, trans-disciplinary debates on the needs of and obstacles to be overcome by the intelligence theory and practice in the twenty-first century. Controversial topics, innovative solutions, best practices and challenges to be overcome will be addressed in an interactive manner by key note speakers and participants alike. Surveillance, cyber-warfare, migration and radicalization, tradecraft and analysis, as well as lessons learnt from history will be the topics panelists and speakers will engage with over two days of the 2015 edition of the IKS conference.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 46. “The best of Venus (2014-2015)”

Quite a different Top 5 this week. One year ago our “adventure” in the blogsphere started. In the last 12 months Venus in Arms tried to provide a contribution to the current debate on defense and security, from an Italian and European perspective. It has been a hard work, but we are really satisfied about the results. And we are eager to improve our work every day. So, this week we present the best posts (according to our opinion..) published by Venus in Arms in the last year (March 2014 – March 2015). We deeply thank ALL the people who supported us with brilliant guest posts.

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 41

“Terrorist hunt” has been in the agenda for decades, but recent events brought the practice under the spotlight even more. The New Yorker’s Mattathias Schwartz critically discusses the NSA strategies of controlling phones, arguing this is not necessarily bringing success, while it has high costs.

Non-traditional threats have been attracting the attention of armed forces in recent years. This is the account of the American General leading the mission to fight Ebola virus, on of the most recent, and demanding, of the new US Army’s missions.

Frequent travellers might worry about how widespread conflicts might affect their flights. The Israeli Defence Forces’ blog proposes an article on how technology can guarantee safety to airplanes – and their passengers – even in the midst of missile attacks.

While facing a complex range of new missions, armed forces are also rethinking the weapons they need. Which will be around in the next 20 years and beyond? The interplay between growing resource constraints and the rapid development of anti-access/area-denial weapons, for instance, is potentially underpinning the potential demise of stealth technology.

You might remember that in a 80s movie, Clint Eastwood flies an airplane invisible to radars. Well, now he’s an acclaimed director and just released a new movie, American Sniper. Is that a patriotic war movie or (another) disillusioned take at the myths of war and combat?

 

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 33

It is hard to be a saint in the city (so sings Bruce Springsteen), but it is also very hard to be a good  SecDef. Or at least to last very long in that position. Ashton Carter will have to deal with the several challenges associated with the office, as most of his predecessors, so Fred Kaplan predicts.

While DoD’s leadership changes, American intelligence goes through a painful process of assessment of its actions after 9/11. Foreign Policy’s Micah Zenko reports on the Senate’s newly released documents on torture, the most controversial of the CIA’s policies. A lot of work done, but still many loopholes.

With powers rising on the horizon (China), or becoming more assertive (Russia), nuclear deterrence experts restart debating “how much is enough” and how to design the US nuclear arsenal. Jerry Meyerle restates a classic argument about the need for flexibility.

Tensions in the Middle East have been touching (again) Jerusalem in the past few weeks with car attacks and with increasing political instability in the Israeli cabinet (new elections in March). The ICG’s Nathan Strall discusses the mounting “rage in Jerusalem”.

Tired of reading? Watch the Afghanistan’s correspondent Anand Gopal discussing the prospects for the country and why insurgent groups gain strength in the arc of instability,

 

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Intelligence in the Knowledge Society – Report from the International Conference

Guest Post by Davide Barbieri*

Last week on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October, the annual International Conference on Intelligence in the Knowledge Society took place in Bucharest. A large number of participants and auditors met at the premises of the National Intelligence Academy, coming from many European and neighboring countries, plus Canada and the US. Italy was represented, beside myself as a researcher, by some members of our national intelligence and of the European External Action Service.

The plenary session was opened by the deputy director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), highlighting the strategic importance of the Wider Black Sea Area for European security. The current international situation, in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, was at the heart of the conference. In particular, a convincing parallel between Crimea and Transnistria was made by a Romanian researcher, and endorsed by the Ukrainian and Moldovan representatives.

Elaine Pressman, from Canada, expanded on her VERA (Violent Extremist Risk Assessment) system in order to apply it to insider threat. VERA has already attracted the interests of several agencies throughout the world. Its Bayesian-like framework, stemming from behavioral sciences, hints to the possibility of a more mathematical approach, which is now lacking (also because of the well known preference for qualitative analysis by intelligence analysts).

Cosmin Dugan, a medical doctor from Bucharest, gave an extremely interesting presentation on the possibilities and strategies for neuro-cognitive enhancement of intelligence practitioners. His multidisciplinary perspective spanned from philosophy and technology (neuro-feedback, neuro-gaming) to medicine. In his opinion, trans-cranial stimulation, complex reasoning training, dietary supplements and drugs can be effectively adopted for neuro-cognitive enhancement, taking into account the possibility of side effects.

I opened the workshop session on Saturday, proposing a data-driven approach to identifying terrorists, based on the assumption that intelligence agencies have collected large amounts of data on persons of interest. The suggested method bears resemblance to medical diagnostics. The similarity between this discipline and intelligence analysis has been suggested also by Prof. Sebe, from the University of Bucharest. Spotting a terrorist may in fact be akin to spotting a rare disease within a large sample of individuals.

The other workshop focused on the opportunity for bridging government, competitive and business intelligence, especially in public administration, in order to increase efficiency, assess performances and gain competitiveness.

Ideas coming from cybernetics, complex adaptive systems, big data analysis and machine learning were presented by several researchers of the Romanian Intelligence Academy, also in the poster session. In particular, text mining was applied to OSINT and web intelligence. Much attention was given to radicalization, particularly in the Islamic world. Afascinating study focused on Dabiq, the Islamic State magazine.

The excellent organization and the participation of many internationally recognized lecturers were well worth the journey and the time. As a side note – notwithstanding that Italy contributed with just one paper and the scant consideration we tend to have of our scientific production – Italian authors were extensively cited throughout the conference (Sartori, Negri and Calvino to name a few), beside Italian technology (in particular, the widely successful Cogito web engine for semantic intelligence by Expert Systems). This year XX edition of the conference proved to be a successful anniversary.

 

* Davide Barbieri, PhD, is a Research Fellow  in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Surgical Specialties at the University of Ferrara, davide.barbieri@unife.it

 

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Intelligence: un nuovo corso di perfezionamento all’Università di Firenze

Si dice spesso che in un mondo in continuo divenire si modificano sempre gli strumenti di cui hanno bisogno le agenzie di intelligence nazionali per affrontare nuove sfide e minacce. Fornire questi strumenti è l’obiettivo del nuovo corso di perfezionamento in “Intelligence e sicurezza nazionale” proposto dal Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali dell’Università  di Firenze in collaborazione con il Dipartimento per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri (DIS).

Il corso si articola in 5 sezioni fondamentali (Fondamenti dell’intelligence, Geopolitica e sicurezza internazionale, Intelligence economica, Intelligence e cybersecurity, Analisi d’intelligence) e si concentra sia sulle dimensioni che tradizionalmente costituiscono il “core” dell’analisi di intelligence (come lo studio delle dinamiche dei rapporti internazionali e le minacce interne alla sicurezza nazionale) sia su quelle che sono emerse con forza negli ultimi decenni (come la cybersecurity e l’intelligence economica). Le lezioni sono tenute da docenti di estrazione accademica o provenienti dal mondo delle istituzioni e del policy-making.

Le iscrizioni scadono il 26 settembre, e il corso si tiene i venerdì dal 13 ottobre 2014 al 23 gennaio 2015. Potete trovare maggiori informazioni qui.

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ViA at the SISP Annual Conference

 

Venus in Arms comes back to work after summer break. ViA will be at the SISP (Italian Political Science Association) Annual Conference. As illustrated in a previous post, the SISP Meeting will be held in Perugia at end of the next week (11-13 September).

The conference is organized by the Department of Political Science of the University of Perugia and the Department of Human and Social Sciences of the University for Foreigners of Perugia. The conference venue will be the Department of Political Science, University of Perugia, Via Pascoli, 20 – 06123 Perugia.

Here you’ll find the final programme of the conference. The abstracts of papers, panels and sections are here.

Venus in Arms will be present in four panels, focusing on intelligence, foreign policy analysis and Italian defense.

We will discuss the relationship between intelligence and national interest in a globalized world. We also present a paper on the historical evolution of Italian defense, stressing main innovations and obstacles. Finally, a co-authored work (with Michela Ceccorulli) will assess different interpretations of the Italian military engagement in Libya.

See you there

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Italian Political Science Association – XXVIII Annual Conference (Perugia, 11-13 September 2014)

 

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The Annual conference of the Italian Political Science Association (SISP – Società Italiana di Scienza Politica) will be held in Perugia (11-13 September).

Here you’ll find the link to all sections and panels

This year the IR section provides several panels on the relationship between intelligence and globalisation in the global era. In addition, there is also a roundtable on intelligence and scientific method.

Venus in Arms will be at the conference, focusing on manifold issues, such as intelligence, Italian defense policy and the war in Libya.

See you there

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