US: The GEOINT Symposium 2013 ended on a successful note in Tampa, Florida. The four day event saw experts from defence and intelligence community debate about the challenges and future of geointelligence in modern warfare. Speaking at the event, Adm William McRaven outlined a daunting mission for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM): to operate globally—understanding threats are not confined by borders—while building partnerships that allow nations to defend themselves. “I guarantee you what happens in Latin America affects what happens in West Africa, which affects what happens in Southern Europe, which affects what happens in Southwest Asia. It is all connected, and if you don’t look at it in a connected fashion, you’re going to miss something. It’s about bandwidth and how we move the products that the geoint community provides us. Signals intelligence and geoint are really the coin of the realm for us to be able to do our mission,” said McRaven.
Lt Gen Raymond Palumbo threw light on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) challenges and opportunities. “With the declining budgets, we need to take a hard look at what we’ve got in our garage today. We probably need to rearrange our toolbox, and may be, we even need to buy a few more tools to make sure we’re doing our job appropriately,” said Palumbo. Palumbo identified five capability areas where the Department of Defense (DoD) must focus future ISR resources: expanding global coverage; improving the ability to operate in denied areas; sustaining current counter-terror and counter-proliferation capabilities; improving cyber capabilities; and strengthening DoD’s internal security posture. While Palumbo shed light on ISR, Lt Gen Joseph L Votel, Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) talked about the significant technological advances that help inform planning, from high-definition full-motion video to LiDAR. Despite advances, Special Operations Forces are the single most demanding users of intelligence, and they continue to require more and more tools to execute their missions. "We want to be everywhere, know everything, and we want to predict what happens next," said Palumbo.
The event, which was held from April 14-17, was organised by USGIF.