Mark Collins – OSINT and Current Intelligence, or, #SCUDlaunch

The head of the DIA (more here on the agency) tells it like it is these social media days:

New Intel Era: Tweet Alerts DIA To SCUD Launch, Not Spy Sats

PENTAGON CITY: We’ve all heard about social media and its influence on international affairs and national security. The Arab Spring blossomed when a Tunisian man’s self-immolation was shared online and sparked uprisings that have yet to subside.

But you don’t really think of social media as a useful tool for detecting weapons and their use. After all, we’ve got spy satellites (DSP and SBIRS) that watch for missile launches, and radar satellites that look for a wide array of weapons, and aircraft like AWACS and JSTARS that watch the skies and the ground for us.

But the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency told an audience of several hundred intelligence contractors last night that the first time we learned of Yemen’s Houthi rebels’ June launch of a SCUD missile against Saudi Arabia, the intelligence did not come from the oft-praised Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) or the aging but reliable DSP satellites built to watch for and detect missile launches around the world.

“First warning of that event? Hashtag SCUDlaunch [see here],” he said. While the tweet didn’t exactly tell us where the missile was launched from, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart made clear it probably helped us retarget our satellites, drones and other assets to find it: “That’s how we started the search for that act.”..

Latest on Yemen here, the Houthis are having rather a setback at Aden. Earlier on social media and OSINT:

OSINT, or, “The #Russians are coming!” (plus social media cyber security)

The US, Social Media and OSINT: MH 17 and More

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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