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As geopolitical tensions increase, with the Russian war on Ukraine and the recent escalations between Israel and Palestine, the need for effective intelligence strategies to achieve situational awareness in military zones, ensure force protection and assess military capability become increasingly critical. An often underestimated yet essential part of the defense intelligence toolkit is open-source intelligence (OSINT). In this blog, we provide some resources developed by our intelligence trained Tradecraft team that explore the application of OSINT to defense and military intelligence use cases.

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Applying OSINT in Military Zones

Our experienced Tradecraft advisors recorded an OSINT Briefing for defense intelligence analysts using the example of Iranian aligned militia groups in Iraq, their activities, and operations. This practical analyst briefing steps through the priority intelligence requirements for defense analysts across the key areas of the intelligence cycle:

  • Creating an investigation
  • Conducting discovery
  • Configuring risk detectors
  • Conducting analysis

This is an insightful analysis of the current political and military situation in Iraq and how open-source intelligence can streamline regional expertise in military deployments.

Watch the analyst briefing: One week in Iraq

Applying OSINT to Defense Use Cases:

Force protection

For effective force protection, intelligence analysts must anticipate and address the growing threats to personnel, assets, critical information and facilities as a result of hostile groups trying to disrupt defense operations. OSINT can greatly reduce the burden on analysts by leveraging publicly available data to identify tactics, techniques and procedures of militia groups. We recently released a case study which explored a real-life example of a hostile group disrupting US and coalition defense operations in Iraq to demonstrate the power of advanced OSINT technologies for force protection.

Read the Force Protection Case Study

Building Situational Awareness

In the context of understanding the environment and risks inherent in foreign military deployments and defense strategies, OSINT can uncover geopolitical developments and domestic instability that may threaten regional security. By autonomously identifying events that could limit or affect operations and highlighting that information to analysts, OSINT helps to build a rich picture of situational awareness.  Our blog on situational awareness explores how OSINT can be deployed to uncover and address threats to operations, troops, employees, facilities and supply chains overseas.

Read the Situational Awareness Blog

Assessing Military Capability

Monitoring and tracking the movement of foreign military personnel and equipment to assess capability requires extensive resources. OSINT can serve as an important complement to existing intelligence capabilities to address this challenge. Our Director of Tradecraft shared his insights on the role of publicly available information to measure capability in an article titled ‘Intelligence Innovations to Measure Military Capability’ published by Defence Connect.

Read the Defence Connect Article

Defense Intelligence Strategies

It is possible to collect a large amount of open-source information manually. But at what cost? Information still needs to be processed and analysed before it can be called intelligence, and the volumes of open-source data in defense situations can be enormous. Soon a small team of analysts collecting open-source data turns into an entire room full, just trying to piece together the captured piles of disparate data from potentially thousands of sources.

Fivecast ONYX is an advanced OSINT collection and analysis platform that enables intelligence teams to perform ongoing, consistent, and secure collection of data from a broad range of sources. This enables effective monitoring of threats to operations and forces hidden across the Surface, Deep and Dark Web which aren’t easily detectable with traditional intelligence capabilities or simple online searches. Defense intelligence analysts are then able to filter, and risk assess the data with a customizable AI-enabled risk detection framework that uncovers the information most relevant to an investigation from masses of online data.

Request a customized demo from our defense intelligence-trained Tradecraft team.

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