Title: DIA - Swimming Upstream in the SIGINT System

Release Date: 2016-08-10

Document Date: 2003-11-06

Description: NSA collects “medical SIGINT” from the communications of NGOs and treaty-monitoring organizations and is collaborating with the DIA’s Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center at the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick for expertise in epidemiology.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U//FOUO) DIA - Swimming Upstream in the SIGINT System
FROM:
Account Manager for DIA
Run Date: 11/06/2003

(TS//SI) Until recently, few would suspect that the International Organizations Branch (Office of
Regional Targets) and DIA's Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC) have good
reason to collaborate. Co-located with the U.S. Army's bio-weapons research facility at Fort
Detrick, Maryland, AFMIC's primary mission is to prepare all-source medical intelligence, largely
in support of force health protection. The International Organizations Branch exploits and reports
the communications of non-governmental (NGO) and treaty monitoring organizations worldwide.
(TS//SI) What do AFMIC and the International Organizations Branch have in common? Quite a
lot. Several international NGOs regularly report outbreaks of infectious diseases; recent high
profile examples include SARS in China, cholera in Liberia, and dysentery, polio, and cholera in
Iraq - topics of great interest to AFMIC and by extension, the Intelligence Community.
Homegrown expertise and sufficient resources at NSA to process medical SIGINT are scarce
however, and as a result, unique and valuable medical intelligence - especially on lower
threshold topics - may go unreported.
(TS//SI) Once apprised in late 2002 of the limitations that prevent NSA from aggressively
reporting medical SIGINT, AFMIC quickly offered to detail a technical expert in epidemiology
part-time to help address this intelligence gap. At the same time, the Target Office of Primary
Interest (TOPI) worked closely with NSA's Office of Oversight and Compliance , the Office of
General Counsel , and others to address concerns about part-time integration. The AFMIC
analyst arrived in April 2003, took several NCS reporting courses and was ready for action by
early May. After being indoctrinated in USSID 18 and EO 12333, he was allowed access to
unminimized SIGINT data (or raw traffic) in select databases, and began authoring reports
almost immediately.
(TS//SI) The timing of the integree's arrival, as it coincided with a worldwide SARS epidemic,
could not have been better. While the quality of NSA reporting on SARS last spring was already
high, ready access to an in-house expert on infectious diseases who could effectively field
analysts' questions was tremendously beneficial. In addition, the partnership has generated
unique SIGINT reporting that supports the larger DoD and Intelligence Communities, an overall
refinement of the TOPI's efforts against complex public health targets, and a heightened
awareness among SID analysts of the value of medical SIGINT. Furthermore, his efforts to
develop related topics will inform and facilitate future endeavors to exploit medical intelligence in
the International Organizations Branch.
(U//FOUO) In today's high-volume and highly specialized SIGINT environment, NSA must
engage its partners to make maximum use of community analytic resources. Transformation 2.0
underscores the imperative to team with analytic experts across the community to ensure
responsive intelligence information for national decision-makers and military commanders. By
allowing customers with unique expertise to "swim upstream," and become active participants in
creating SIGINT products and services, NSA will have one more tool to effectively manage
today's information overload. In closing, we urge you to be on the lookout for similar
opportunities to engage your analytic counterparts in all aspects of collaboration and information
sharing. Follow your instincts and share your ideas with the experts at NSA. The pay-offs will be
tremendous.

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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