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The IC's Vision for Open Source Intelligence

Bola Ogbara
Bola Ogbara Connect on LinkedIn
2 min. read

The latest OSINT strategies come as the Intelligence Community expands its use of open source intelligence, aiming to align efforts with national security priorities.


On March 8th, 2024 the Intelligence Community's Open Source Intelligence (IC OSINT) 2024-2026 Strategy was released. The document defined OSINT as “intelligence derived exclusively from publicly or commercially available information that addresses specific intelligence priorities, requirements, or gaps”. OSINT is extremely important to the Intelligence Community (IC) because it helps with other intelligence collection methods and provides valuable intelligence on its own, allowing the IC to use its collection capabilities more effectively. 


The strategy came in the context of technological advances like AI and machine learning, as well as the rapid growth of the open source environment, which provide new opportunities to make the most of OSINT. At the same time, the growth of OSINT means that the accuracy of the collected information needs to be scrutinized more. The IC OSINT Strategy sets out the plan for integrating OSINT more fully into the way the Intelligence Community works and analyzes information from all sources, while making sure to protect privacy and civil liberties. 


To achieve this, the strategy outlines four goals: “Coordinate Open Source Data Acquisition and Expand Data Sharing”, “Establish Integrated Open Source Collection Management”, “Drive OSINT Innovation To Deliver New Capabilities”, and “Develop the Next-Generation OSINT Workforce and Tradecraft”. The plan also emphasizes the need for coordination between federal agencies and partnerships with “academia, the private sector and foreign counterparts.” 


More recently, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) released their inaugural OSINT strategy, which is meant to complement the IC’s earlier OSINT strategy and the INR’s 2025 Strategic Plan. Their plan for 2025 hinges on five goals: Improve how important information is analyzed and change how intelligence helps diplomacy, improve digital systems, strengthen cybersecurity, hire a diverse and skilled workforce, and manage operations well and be ready for challenges. The INR’s OSINT strategy aligns well with their goals for 2025, especially the first three. 


The INR’s OSINT has four goals with several lines of effort: 


  • Establish Governance and Policy for OSINT Use: Develop guidelines and best practices, advocate for the importance of OSINT in intelligence community policies, and assess the quality of intelligence products derived from OSINT.
  • Invest in OSINT Capabilities: Obtain and enhance OSINT data and tools, allocate resources, manage information, and utilize data and tools effectively.
  • Strengthen OSINT Training and Tradecraft: Support training and skills development in open source analysis, offer guidance on producing and analyzing unclassified information.
  • Deepen Collaboration with Allies, Partners, Industry, Academia, and Other Nongovernmental Entities: Enhance relationships with other intelligence community agencies, build partnerships internationally, improve coordination within the department and with other U.S. government agencies, and establish partnerships with academia, industry, and non-governmental organizations.


Both the IC OSINT Strategy and the INR’s OSINT strategy are crucial for the Intelligence Community to keep an intelligence advantage in the ever-changing open source environment. The strategies identify the need for coordination and partnerships to acquire and develop OSINT data and tools, strengthen training and skills development, and enhance relationships with other intelligence community agencies, partners, industry, academia and other non-governmental entities. By improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of open source information in a well-managed, secure and ethical way, the IC is well-positioned to provide decision-makers with the information they need to keep our country safe.