08 December 2023

Homeland Security Intelligence (HSI): The "New" Ecosystem…

It was the late Spring of 2011 in the Northern Virginia suburbs when it was gaining momentum.

Our small non-profit council group would meet almost weekly after our respective daily roles in the NCR.

Our INSA conference room was located off North Stuart Street in Arlington and there together, we would collaborate for a few hours face-to-face.

Depending on what direction you were coming from, the evening commute by Metro or car from Reston and Tysons Corner might be easier than from Springfield or Alexandria in those days.

After all, the roads and rails had all been laid on the former paths of our American natives and early settlers horse trails through the winding woods and across the rivers.

Our "Council Members" goal for these designated three dozen professionals and Subject Matter Experts, was to define “Homeland Security Intelligence” (HSI).

We were in Arlington, VA to produce a thought leaders White Paper publication that would address all of our diverse insights after a perilous decade since 9/11.

Our particular Sub-Team of 7 people was focused on the full integration of the enterprise (The Ecosystem) and it was to become another deep dive into our nations “Lessons Learned” and the new opportunities for future collaboration.

“Homeland Security Intelligence" is information that upon examination is determined to have value in assisting federal, state, local, tribal and private sector decision makers in identifying or mitigating threats residing principally within U.S. borders.” - INSA

As our small “Ecosystem Group” of 7 converged each week over the summer, on the key topics and issues to improve the connections of our intelligence enterprise, a set of new insights were discovered and new lasting personal relationships were born.

These “Community Engagement” concepts, to include those in key geographies of our country along with a “Whole of Nation” approach with properly qualified and trained U.S. public citizens, continues to this very day.

“The system will require unique, and not yet identified, analytic frameworks, knowledge management, collaboration tools, and training that include built-in safeguards for privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections for U.S. persons.” Page 11-Intelligence To Protect The Homeland…taking stock ten years later and looking ahead…INSA

A decade plus later in 2023, our own United States has accomplished so much resilience and yet we realize that this remains an infinite challenge going forward.

The “What” and the “How” are incorporated into so many integrated systems to this HSI enterprise today, including:

  • Biometrics.
  • Video Surveillance.
  • License Plate Reader technologies.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
  • Open Source Social Media.

And now even AI.

So what?

As human beings our curiosity and our knowledge ecosystem requires that we truly understand the “What” and the “How”.

Unfortunately, this is only the extent that today our “AI” has in its own understanding.

"AI will not accurately grasp the “Why” for some time to come into our future. Go ahead, ask it yourself."

At the time, many of those who were in our conference room in 2011 defining “Homeland Security Intelligence”(HSI), still did not even have a full understanding of the software Internet algorithms, that were then defining the only ten+ year old “Dark Web”.

Today, our community engagement initiatives as “Human Beings” in a room together, around good old fashioned conference tables, looking into each others eyes, shall remain our only chance of staying informed on the trusted continuous reasoning of “Why”…


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