The United States has a large and elaborate set of offices dedicated to military defense, intelligence, and technological development. This sample research paper explores the Directorate of Science and Technology, and how this office helps to consolidate national scientific and technological research.
The CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology
The Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) plays a significant role in the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by developing and testing the effectiveness of technology used in the pursuit of gathering intelligence. This paper will briefly explore the meaning and purpose of the DS&T, as well as explain the function of four distinct offices within the directorate:
- Technical Services
- Advanced Analytical Tools
- Advanced Projects
- Advanced Information Technology
A discussion of US technology in comparison to that of Israel will suggest ways in which the DS&T may contribute to our continuing national security. Although complex, both the DS&T and its chief purpose can be clearly defined.
Created in 1963 to consolidate national scientific and technological research (Welzenbach, 2012), the self-defined mission of the DS&T is to “attack national intelligence problems with effective targeting, bold technology and superb tradecraft” through the application of “innovative, scientific, engineering, and technical solutions to the most critical intelligence problems” (“FAQs,” 2007).
Diversity of the Directorate of Science and Technology offices
The DS&T is comprised of many different offices, each with a dedicated purpose. Among these are the:
- Office of Technical Services
- Office of Advanced Analytical Tools
- Office of Advanced Projects
- Office of Advanced Information Technology
The Office of Technical Services
The Office of Technical Services supports clandestine operations through the advancement of technology in laboratory settings as well as in the field (“CIA’s Office,” 2011). From 1995, the DS&T underwent a restructure to ensure it stayed current with advances in the information technology sector (Richelson, 2002).
The Office of Advanced Analytical Tools
This restructuring brought with it the Office of Advanced Analytical Tools in order to tackle emerging information technology in various phases of intelligence analysis, thereby addressing “the problems of information overload” (“Restructuring,” 2001).
The Office of Advanced Projects
Similarly, the Office of Advanced Projects was introduced to deal with the impact of technology on intelligence gathering and to “facilitate the transfer of technology from various sources and expedite its operational application” (“Restructuring,” 2001). This office oversaw intelligence technology sharing following the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
The Office of Advanced Information Technology
The role of the Office of Advanced Information Technology works to solve critical information technology-related issues, such as the large volume of data collected by the CIA on a daily basis (“CIA, D&ST,” 2001). In order to assess the effectiveness of the work of these offices and the DS&T as a whole, it is worthwhile to compare the USA’s technology program with that of another world nation: Israel.
DS&T’s relationship with the Israeli Defense
Assessing US technology in relation to Israel’s development of the same helps to evaluate the current technological capabilities of the US.
Jeffrey Richelson lists the DS&T’s accomplishments since the 1960s as the design and operation of “some of America’s most important spy satellites as well as the A-12 (OXCART) and U-2 spy planes”, its involvement in “the collection of signals and intelligence (SIGINT)” and its “technical analysis of foreign missile and space programs” (2002, p. ix).
In more recent history, the DS&T boasts of its activities in “providing forensic analysis used in confirming the identity of Osama Bin Ladin [sic] and other high-value targets” (“CIA’s Directorate”, 2012).
Israel uses equivalent programs to gather intelligence or use in the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, including the Institute for Intelligence and Special Duties (also known as the Mossad) and the Israeli Defence Forces’ Unit 8200. Their programs are more effective and efficient compared to CIA techniques. It appears the DS&T could benefit from greater innovation, flexibility, and transparency.
In contrast to the DS&T’s innovations, Matthew Kalman identifies Israel’s technological advances as including “instant messaging, the USB memory stick, the firewall and the secure data links that enable most of the world’s banking transactions and TV signal decoders” (2013).
Directorate of Science and Technology versus Mossad recruitment
Although information on US and Israeli intelligence programs is classified, both the Mossad and Unit 8200 have encouraged media attention (Yakhin, 2001); the result of which has been rapid recruitment between the Israeli Defence Forces and innovators from the country’s information technology sector (Orpaz, 2013). Although DS&T officers come from a similarly wide range of disciplines (“FAQs,” 2007), Israeli recruitment has resulted in a direct approach in the application of the same methodologies to intelligence-related and information technology tasks alike, including:
- Data storage
- Mobile communications
- Analytical algorithms
Not only does Israel’s Intelligence Community owe this rapid development of transformative and progressive approaches to global technology, Unit 8200 has implemented a model for gathering data on communication signals based on Microsoft’s Out of the Box Week (Orpaz, 2013), but to its investment in young, driven, and innovative personnel (Yahkin, 2001; Orpaz, 2013). By attending to the success in which Israel has approached intelligence-related science and technology, the US cybersecurity efforts should continue to develop the technological achievements of the DS&T.
This paper defines the past and present strength of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology, both as an independent entity with offices devoted to various aspects of intelligence work, and in relation to the rapid advance of Israel’s information technology sector and Intelligence Community. Although the DS&T continues to fulfill its mission as a leading creator and operator of collection systems and technologies that enable the gathering and analysis of intelligence, this paper demonstrates that, as science and technology advance worldwide, there are always further innovations to be made in the interests of national security.
CIA, D&ST realignment overview, 2000. (2001, September 10). The National Security Archive. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB54/st44.pdf
Central Intelligence Agency. (2007, May 5). Science & technology. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/offices-of-cia/science-technology/
Central Intelligence Agency. (2007, May 5). FAQs. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/offices-of-cia/science-technology/science-technology-faqs.html
Central Intelligence Agency. (2011, September 16). CIA’s Office of Technical Service celebrates 60 years of innovation. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/press-release-2011/ots-celebrates-60-yrs.html
Central Intelligence Agency. (2012, September 13). CIA’s Directorate of Science & Technology celebrates 50 years of technological excellence. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2012-featured-story-archive/DST-celebrates-50-years.html
Kalman, M. (2013, August 13). Israeli military intelligence unit drives country’s hi-tech boom. The Guardian. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/12/israel-military-intelligence-unit-tech-boom?CMP=twt_gu
Orpaz, I. (2013, September 26). ‘Preserving the madness’ in IDF intelligence. Haaretz. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.549075
Restructuring the DS&T, 1996. (2001, September 10). The National Security Archive. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB54/st43.pdf
Richelson, J. T. (2008). The wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology. Boulder, CO: Basic Books.
Welzenbach, D. E. (2012). Science and technology: Origins of a directorate. Studies in Intelligence, 56(3), 65-78. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol.-56-no.-3/pdfs/Origins%20of%20DST.pdf
Yahkin, D. (2001, April 19). “James Bond, No Big Deal”: Technological aspects of Mosad operations viewed . Globes. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from http://www.fas.org/irp/world/israel/mossad/techops.htm