US utilises open source intel to track Russia’s war in Ukraine. Learn how the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency leverages publicly available information to gain insights into the conflict without compromising on the facts.
The US militarys Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has implemented an approach to monitor Russias activities in Ukraine by leveraging open source intelligence. This new strategy has revolutionised the way analysts approach the conflict shifting their focus from facts, like “who, what, when and where” to understanding the underlying reasons or “why” behind these events.
Recently the DIA showcased their utilization of open source intel by sharing details about recovered remnants of vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia during the Ukrainian war. This available information has played a role in gaining insights into Russias aggression and movements.
According to a defense intelligence official, “when we get a requirement, in this case, monitoring the Russian military and their aggression, the general public around the world is our source. There’s a lot more data outside in the world than there is that the IC’s [Intelligence Community’s] collected, and so we’re getting better organized to use it, and it’s paying great dividends to understand what’s happening.”
The adoption of open source intelligence has significantly enhanced the DIAs ability to accurately attribute actions. The agency confirmed this year that Russia had utilized drones supplied by Iran. Although Iran initially acknowledged providing drones to Russia before the war they subsequently denied any involvement.The declassification of drone information is a part of efforts to combat disinformation.
Skilled analysts. Analyze data, from sources, such as social media, news reports and commercial databases to uncover details about foreign military targets specifically focusing on Ukraine.
“Our environment benefits greatly from this data ” explained one analyst. “We combine insights from sources with classified photographs to create reliable and comprehensive intelligence.”
Around four years ago the DIA established the Open Source Intelligence Center to formalize the collection and analysis of open source intel. The combination of open source data with expertise and signals intelligence supported by AI algorithms has proven effective in refining crucial information.
This utilisation of open source intelligence adds context and credibility to the DIAs assessments enabling the United States to respond effectively in light of the constantly changing situation, in Ukraine.