Naval War College Regional Symposium
Cartagena de Indies, Colombia
April 7-9, 2010
In support of the Naval War College's international Programs, the EMC Chair convened two lectures and two panels on information sharing. The lectures discussed the challenges associated with improving information sharing and trends in global maritime security. Building on the lectures, the two panels facilitated discussion of these critical topics among Naval War College alumni from eleven countries. The first panel was composed of three Naval Command College graduates coming from Chile, Colombia, and Italy. The second panel was composed of U.S. Officers with program authority and goals of improving
information sharing. The program provided the context the War Gaming Department to conduct table top exercises.
Maritime Security and Intelligence Sharing
Professor Derek Reveron
reviewed the strategic rationale for intelligence sharing in the United States. This is rooted in the intelligence shortcomings of the 9/11 terrorist attack, assessments of Iraq's nuclear weapons program, and the failed Christmas 2009 terrorist attack. Each event prompted significant change within the United States Intelligence Community to include information sharing, enhanced collection efforts, and the
need to improve intelligence analysis. Regarding the former, the United States is engaged in a dissemination revolution to share intelligence from local law enforcement to international partners. In spite of this strategic imperative, there are significant policy, legal, cultural, and technical barriers to improve information sharing.
Specifying Information Sharing Barriers
• National interests guide information sharing practices
• Non-traditional threats necessitate cooperation
• Groups of risk are most likely to share information
• Incentivize information sharing
Captain Stefano Quattrini of Italy explained Europe's efforts to improve information sharing through the Virtual Regional Maritime Trafficking Center (VRMTC), which is one of the most successful in the world. With a philosophy of an open system for an open community, VRMTC is designed to be "cheap and easy" for participating countries. Largely based on data of shipping traffic in the Mediterranean sea, the network is expanding to include data from the Middle East and key maritime countries in Latin America and Africa. The lessons of VRMTC suggest that interoperability can be achieved when barriers to entry are low.
Captain Juan Rairan of Colombia reminded the symposium of the challenges of collecting information in a security environment characterized by asymmetric threats like illicit traffickers, criminal bands, and narcoterrorists. The nature of illegally armed groups like these pose serious challenges to conventional intelligence collection to identify the sources of these groups, financial activities of these groups, and group's use of the seas for illicit activities. To be effective in this environment, countries must build and maintain trust, confidence, and cooperation before threats emerge and long after they dissipate.
Commander Alberto Soto of Chile placed the challenges of information sharing in the context of national interest. For him, the enduring wisdom of Thucydides and Clausewitz offer an essential reality check on efforts to improve information sharing. He sees the lack of credibility and and trust as serious roadblocks to improving information sharing, so interests must be clear and held in common. In the short-term, disaster relief operations can facilitate cooperation. In the long-term, identifying groups of risk will enable information sharing. His ideas are elaborated in the Naval War College Review.
Enabling Information Sharing
Professor Larry McCabe explained trends in the global maritime environment. From a force acquisition perspective, he illustrated how navies are adapting to challenges today by building ships with shallow draft and high speed capabilities like the littoral combat ship in the United States and of building riverine ships that can operate in under-governed areas in South America. From an air perspective, he highlighted how speed is a disadvantage in the air today and that persistence is a virtue. Along these lines, Professor McCabe discussed Brazil's "super tocano" and why it is one of the best selling platforms today. Additionally, he discussed trends in global maritime governance to include public-private cooperation, efforts to implement the International Safety and Port Security (ISPS) Code, and the types of new organizations required to improve cooperation.
• Nonclassified networks should be the default
• Over-controlling data will lead to friction
• Technological ease and network speeds limit sharing
• Data overload is a potential risk
• Organizational structures can inhibit information sharing
• Utilize reach-back capability for analysis and disclosure
Mr. Pedro Nunez of US Southern Command shared experiences in the Western Hemisphere of efforts to improve intelligence sharing. Guiding efforts are common interests, realistic expectations and rules about the types of intelligence that can be shared, and the assessment tools to carefully specify partners' true information needs. After requirements are determined, developing the means to share is critical that takes into account partners' capabilities and needs to ensure timely dissemination. In support of the policy and technical considerations, efforts must also include building trust, confidence, and a strategic partnership where countries can "walk together as equal partners." Amplifying these points, Vice Admiral Echandia of Colombia emphasized that it is essential to strike a balance between "need to know" and "need to share principles". Further, countries must have the confidence to share intelligence and have the personal relationships to enable the sharing.
Captain Eric Taylor of US Naval Forces South/Fourth Fleet shared a vision for information gathering and sharing that is guiding efforts in the Western Hemisphere. The basis for the approach is creating a "community of partners" and draws from the recent experiences in conducting disaster relief operations in Haiti. In particular, he discussed the process of integrating surveillance data from aircraft and social media applications like Twitter. Initially challenging, open source applications and crowd sourcing became essential to directing assets and coordinating actions between militaries, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. Non-classified domains became essential for these efforts and he invited all participants to join the network at http://community.apan.org.
Captain Doug Wied of PEO C4I focused on fostering international data partnerships that encompass first responders, militaries and nongovernmental organizations. Because militaries are in a support role to civilian organizations, information sharing is the primary concern when data is collected and analyzed. Consequently, publishing to the public domain on the internet must be the default. Along these lines, the Navy and its partners created www.inrelief.org. This approach also allows for scalability that improves stability, relies on cloud computing, and is more cost-effective than developing proprietary data centers. Additionally, critical information sharing tools include collaborative document editing, social networking, and map-based information displays.