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Member Highlight: Operational Intelligence—Shifting the Mindset of Operations Support

Posted By Rachel Bode, Thursday, April 20, 2017

AIRIP member, Joseph Slattery, is an embedded contractor for a leading technology company where he manages the Executive Security Operations Support program. The program consists of real-time intelligence monitoring and operational support for the executive protection and event risk management teams. Previously, he served 6 years in the United States Navy as an Operational Intelligence Specialist, where his role ranged from Maritime Interdiction and Security Operations to Cyber Intelligence. Further, after his military service, Joseph worked in law enforcement and casino surveillance.

Throughout the Close Protection Community there has been growing interest and discussion in the value of using Intelligence. While the ongoing focus has centered around Strategic and Protective elements of Intelligence, an equally important element is Operational Intel. Operational Intel (OPINTEL) is the continuous monitoring and gathering of information from multiple sources to create intelligence that is directly related and impactful to an ongoing operation occurring in real time. A dedicated OPINTEL team serves as a single entity for real time operations support which bridges the existing gap between a problem and the solution.

When employing OPINTEL it is imperative to shift the mindset of what the Operations Center’s function should involve. Traditionally, the focus has been on access control, dispatching, and acting as a liaison to Law Enforcement. These functions remain an integral part of operations, however, to properly utilize the OPINTEL functions the following responsibilities must be incorporated:

  1. Maintaining Operational and Situational Awareness

  2. Operational Intelligence Monitoring

  3. Reach Back Availability

Maintaining Operational and Situational Awareness is critical for OPINTEL as it serves the function as being the all-knowing team in relation to time and space for assets, events, and details. Operational Intelligence Monitoring should provide real-time monitoring of media reports that occur in the areas of operation. This should entail a continuous, collaborative effort to search for any reporting that may negatively impact an ongoing or future operation. OPINTEL should be a trusted source for all agents acting as a single point-of-contact to directly resolve issues. In the event that an issue needs to be escalated to other groups, OPINTEL ensures follow through, tracking the outcome, and reporting back to necessary parties. Reach Back Availability allows access to all levels of resources, efforts, and solutions in a streamlined and timely manner.

To successfully implement an OPINTEL program, consistent training including OPINTEL Analysts and Agents would be highly recommended. Training would allow for the opportunity to establish trust, have parties become cross-trained for a better understanding of individual roles, and to allow for context and communication.

It is the hope that this piece will be able to serve as a conversation starter, how can OPINTEL serve your team? The goal is for OPINTEL to be the single escalation point for Agents or Analysts to turn to when they need information, answers, and real time reporting.

Tags:  IntelligenceCareers  Risk Intelligence  WhatDoesARiskIntelligenceAnalystDo 

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What does a Risk Intelligence Analyst do in a non-profit organization?

Posted By Rachel Bode, Monday, October 10, 2016

This is a guest post by AIRIP member Shana Tarbell. Ms. Tarbell is the Deputy Director for Risk and Threat Analysis within the Global Security Team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She has 18 years of experience in the federal government crafting and overseeing intelligence analysis on a range of issues and countries, and has been in the non-profit sector for a year and a half.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world with roughly 1500 employees and an endowment of over $40 billion. Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Foundation works in developing countries to improve health and give people a chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, we seek to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. To accomplish these goals, we fund about $4 billion in grants and innovative partnerships per year, often taking financial risks that governments and the private sector will not or cannot take. The Foundation’s headquarters are in Seattle, and it has offices in Washington, DC, London, Beijing, Abuja, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, and New Delhi and Patna, India.

I came to the Foundation last summer after 18 years producing and overseeing intelligence analysis on a range of issues in the federal government, and now serve as the Deputy Director for Risk and Threat Analysis within the Global Security Team. I was drawn to the non-profit sector by the prospect of being able to bring my analytic skills and management experience to bear on a different, but equally compelling mission. There are many similarities between the analytic work in the government and the non-profit sector, to include a need to develop a solid understanding of the needs of your audience, to craft clear intelligence questions, to ensure that analytic judgments are well supported and to write in a clear and concise manner. The team I lead has a brought set of responsibilities and a diverse customer set, ranging from working-level colleagues in the Foundation’s support units to the senior leadership of the programs that are directly engaged in carrying out the Foundation’s mission around the world. 

Our analytic work covers six areas:

Risk to Overseas Travelers and Offices. Foundation personnel travel to and in some cases live in far-flung regions of the world, where they gather information to best target resources, oversee grants, and consult with partners. Often the locations with the greatest need are in countries facing the greatest security challenges. Our job is to produce assessments of the risks to Foundation travelers and local operations, which can trigger additional security protocols, or potentially lead to a decision by Foundation leaders that the risks outweigh the benefits of travel to a particular destination. Our analysts scour open-source information, consult with Foundation personnel in our regional offices, and compare notes with counterparts in other organizations and with other experts.

Political and Security Challenges. In addition to assessment immediate threats to Foundation personnel traveling to or living in an area, our analysts work to identify relevant political and security developments and emerging threats in a country or region that may have an impact on Foundation staff, operations, or grantees working there. For example, we recently produced a piece highlighting the implications for Foundation operations of the leadership split in Boko Haram. Our flagship product is an annual assessment of the anticipated security challenges over the next year in each of the countries in which the Foundation is operating or considering operating. Its publication is timed to support the program offices’ annual strategy development process.

Persons of Interest. Our team assesses the risk from individuals who have demonstrated a potentially threatening interest in or attitude toward the Foundation and its staff. We track and review their correspondence and communication with the Foundation, looking for indicators that the latest research in this field tells us might show signs of escalation toward an imminent violent act. When a potential threat is identified, we work closely with our partners in the Security Team and our legal department, and with local and Federal law enforcement to take appropriate steps to mitigate any threat. We produce a monthly summary of the most important cases to enhance the situational awareness of the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer and the General Counsel, as well as other members of the legal and Security Team.

Opposing Voices. The Foundation’s humanitarian efforts have earned it widespread respect and support, but some groups oppose various aspects of its work or investments. Most often these views are expressed peacefully, but it is our team’s job to look for signs that a group or members of it might be planning to commit violence or to physically disrupt Foundation offices or operations. When such signs emerge, we alert Foundation leaders and we work with our guard force, other security elements, and law enforcement to ensure that appropriate security measures are put in place.  

Due Diligence. As part of the Foundation’s processes for choosing grantees and making other investments, we look for reputational concerns or violations of US international sanctions and corruption regulations.

New Hires. In collaboration with human resources, we manage the Foundation’s background screening process. We verify that candidates have represented themselves honestly and assess whether an applicant might pose a security, behavioral, or financial risk.

Legal Disclaimer

This material is provided for information purposes only and does not represent professional advice. We make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the material and do not undertake to keep recipients advised of relevant developments. This material should not be relied upon to validate, endorse, or recommend any particular data, product, service, methodology, or organization, whether named or not. Accordingly, we expect you will consult competent professional advisors, as you deem necessary, when evaluating and utilizing this material. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation shall not be held responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any error or omission herein.

Tags:  Intelligence Outreach  IntelligenceCareers  Risk Intelligence  Risk Intelligence Organization  travel  WhatDoesARiskIntelligenceAnalystDo 

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What does a Risk Intelligence Analyst do?

Posted By Rachel Bode, Tuesday, August 30, 2016

This is the first in a series of blogs exploring the varied careers and positions that a risk intelligence analyst can hold, jobs they can do, and impact they can have on different types of organizations... 

When people ask me what I do, my reply -- “I work in global security intelligence for a major medical device manufacturer” --is often met with a nod and an “OK… what does that mean?” Fair question. In my previous job in national-security intelligence, people usually assumed I was a spy. Or they feigned understanding when I told them that I analyzed political and military developments in South Asia and the Middle East. At the federal level, intelligence analysis typically focuses on a particular geographic, functional, or technical topic. Federal analysts will zero in on a small slice—national governance, security ministries, or orders of battle—of a larger problem set, such as a country or region. In the private sector, the role of the risk intelligence analyst may vary, but the analyst is likely to have broad responsibilities, ranging across all aspects of a corporation’s interests.  In my job at SJM, one day may resemble another but rarely are those days consecutive. In just the last several months I have written products on security and business implications of impeachment proceedings in Brazil; assessed the Brexit; researched potential physical and data/IP implications of Pokemon GO™; crafted due diligence and country risk assessments; consulted with travelers heading to volatile areas; prepared incident notifications to our Crisis Management Team, and, from my dining room table, supported travelers in emergency situations. And these are just a few of the varied tasks that fall to our team.

Small Size, Broad Mandate

 The small intelligence staffs of the private sector account for the broad range of their responsibilities. In government, I was one of several thousand analysts at my agency, in an intelligence community of 18 member agencies. Now, I am one of two with intelligence responsibilities in a global security unit that totals fewer than 20 and supports an organization of over 18,000 employees. At its core, the role of the risk intelligence analyst in the private sector is to enable the conduct of business, through proactive identification, assessment, and mitigation, of risks facing company personnel, facilities, and operations around the globe. Daily duties include supporting travel security and assessing geopolitical and security risks facing the company, as well as tasks from other segments of the business, with a healthy dose of responding to emerging events or terrorist attacks. Questions that don’t have a clear answer wind up on our desks. A major challenge for the private sector analyst is providing solutions that enable business to be conducted. Some risks could be easily eliminated or mitigated by simply declaring an area off-limits, but the requirements of business—or research, or international aid—rarely allow for such a simple solution. Instead, we strive to offer solutions that allows operations to continue without exposing the organization or its people to undue risk.

Sources – Your Network is Invaluable

One constant from government to the private sector is reading and writing. Another is the value of a network of contacts.  Despite what the movies depict, most intelligence analysts are keyboard warriors, spending large chunks of their days researching  and writing assessments and briefs. Risk intelligence analysts largely consume open source information, news media, and vendor curated information. Just as important, they interact with counterparts across industry, government personnel, and, when appropriate, leaders within the business. In my experience,  these relationships are invaluable.  Although vendors or government sources often have excellent information, even richer information will come from people on the ground or from talking through a difficult situation with someone who has faced similar challenges. Distilling this information into a written product that adds value or raises awareness of potential risks—before they become real problems—is a core mission of the risk intelligence analyst. Written products can vary greatly by organization. Some teams may have a regular recurring product line supplemented by special requests while others may purely react to questions from the business. Perhaps the greatest opportunity for a risk intelligence team is to anticipate questions and have a written product available for leaders before they can ask for it.

BLUF is Essential

Like government and military leaders, senior executives do not have time to read 30-page reports on the latest developments in a country or region. Providing the bottom line, up front (BLUF)—why does this matter to me or to the business?—is key. At SJM, our written products have ranged from 12-15 page comprehensive risk assessments on priority countries to short, one-paragraph assessments on a developing incident. Most of our products -- on topics such as Brexit or the security environment following a major attack -- will be two to three pages at most. Incident notifications and post-event assessments will also be posted on our internal travel security pages for use by future travelers. For executive, high-risk, or complicated travel, we prepare tailored travel briefs with safety and security information, specific guidance, and practical travel information. But whatever the format, providing answers to the ‘so what?’ questions the CEO or business units may have allows them to make strategic decisions. Additionally, in crisis events, being able to quickly provide insight and nuanced assessment of impacts to the business can provide leaders with a major advantage as they consider employee and company safety and shape the company’s response to disruptive, dynamic global events.

Sam Talbott is a Global Intelligence Analyst for St. Jude Medical, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to joining St. Jude in May of 2015, he spent nearly four years as a political/military intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency at US Central Command. While at CENTCOM he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and served on the command briefing team, presenting daily intelligence and operational updates to the CENTCOM command staff. Before working in intelligence, Sam traveled widely while working in business development for a major educational assessment organization. He is Vice Chair of the Midwest Regional Analyst Roundtable (MRAR) and an AIRIP member.

 

Tags:  AIRIP  AIRIP News  Information Sharing  IntelligenceCareers  Networking  Risk Intelligence  WhatDoesARiskIntelligenceAnalystDo 

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#TBT :: Board Member and Intelligence Professional Charles Randolph on Things You Need to Tell Your Boss

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Charles Randolph, Senior Director of Executive Protection, Event Security and Intelligence at Microsoft, and AIRIP Board Member shared the following on his personal blog in September 2015, but it remains relevant, so we're sharing today for a little #TBT.

A huge thank you to Charles for his insights and for his leadership on our board, and to Microsoft for their partnership and membership in AIRIP!
*****

Intelligence Analyst – Five things your boss is thinking but may not tell you: TWO is surprising and FIVE is vital

1 – I’m also a critical thinker, I just may not use the same vocabulary as you: Hey, I may not use the same language, but I’m also analytical (I may just not realize it). By doing operational analysis, I’m developing courses of action (COAs) and making mission assumptions based on the facts in front of me. When on an operation or in an emergency, I’ll be using what I have gathered and developing COAs based on pre-thought scenarios and trends that are manifesting. Just like you, I’m a critical thinker; please, remind me of that from time-to-time.

2 – I need you to help me, help you, to help me: Your request for information (RFI) process may not be the same one that I am familiar with. I also may not fully understand how to ask for what I need or am unsure of what you can do. Therefore, I need you to take the lead in this dance. Show me what you’ve got and suggest we walk through the operations plan (OPLAN) together. When we do that, listen and ask questions. As an operator, I may not care about the form you need filled out, I do need your insight and keen eye towards pattern analysis to see something I don’t. Honestly, I need you to be my partner and educate to develop me.

3 – Sometimes, I need you to slow down: You can get excited, I get it (and I like that about you). But, if I’m excited and you're excited and we are all excited….well, I need you to be the one to slow down and make sure we are paying attention to detail and managing the little things which always come up in the form of Mr. Murphy – and his damnable law. Offer up some advice, ensure you stuff is double-checked before you hit send and be that calming voice. I’ve got a lot going on and sometimes I may just need to see someone being outwardly steadfast.

4 – You don’t have a crystal ball, I know that… let me know what you think anyway: I get it, you’re not 100%. Guess what, neither am I. I don’t need you to be all knowing (although, secretly I wish you were). I just need you to give me the best understanding you have and say the same. If it doesn’t go down the way you describe, I may get cranky…but I don’t blame you (I’m probably blaming myself). No one expects the black swan’s arrival, but I need you to tell me when you think conditions may be right for impending issues.

Finally, and most important…

5 – I trust you: From the mundane to the insane, you’re my go-to! I may always not say it, but you are.  I have a healthy trust in your abilities. This is why I ask you to brief first, set the tone and put a ‘realistic’ filter on what’s happening. The interwebs opened up a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘breaking news' and I can’t always be sure it affects our situation. I know you have my back, you understand my needs, and will tell me what’s important in the din.  Because you’re intelligent, professional, curious and thoughtful… I trust you.

this is dedicated to all my favorite analysts…

****

Tags:  AIRIP  AIRIP Board  AIRIPMentoring  code of conduct  Information Sharing  Intelligence Outreach  IntelligenceCareers  Networking  Professional Development  Professional Standard  Risk Intelligence  Risk Intelligence Organization 

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An AIRIP Member on Mentoring

Posted By Rachel Bode, Sunday, June 12, 2016

AIRIP launched a mentor program for our members in May 2016 and we are actively seeking mentors and mentees for great mentoring relationships. Learn more about the program, and apply. The following post is from Kristin Lendardson with some thoughts and tips on seeking out mentors and making the most of a mentoring relationship. 

Kristin Lenardson is a Senior Intelligence Analyst with AS Solutions for Nike. She has 15 years of experience in the intelligence field, spanning government and private sector positions. In 2013, she was chosen as a participant in the Intelligence Community/Department of Homeland Security’s Public – Private Sector partnership program to work on a one year project to produce an open source product on Identity Theft. She is an AIRIP member, and has been a primary creator and organizer of AIRIP’s mentor program. She is also a co-founder of The International Protective Security Board, an organization focused on training and career development in the protective security field.

Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith once said, "... people seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy." Having the right mentor can help you see yourself, steer you towards goals (often in spite of yourself), and provide another 'model to copy' for success. They are more than a colleague or a friend - they are a professional confidant who believes in you and gives time to help guide and refine your career and professional life.

Finding the right mentor, however, can be tricky; some mentors can be longer term, and yet others can advise on specific issues. In a perfect world, a long-term mentor is someone in a position or career you aspire to achieve. In the shorter term, this could also be someone with more experience to guide you through a specific professional issue or help with a career transition. 

I had the pleasure of having a very strong mentor who provided me with knowledge and support when I transitioned from the government into the private sector. I learned a lot through my experience, both positive and negative.

After ten years in the government, I left the FBI and moved to the corporate world into the position of Intelligence Analyst with a Fortune 500 company. The transition was slightly more difficult than I originally anticipated. It was a small team with few resources, and I had to build the Intelligence program from the ground up. My first supervisor was a good person, but at times, our professional relationship was uncomfortable for various reasons. A few months into the position, my supervisor suggested I get a mentor within the company’s official mentor program and, subsequently, chose a mentor for me.

It turned out the mentor was the VP of Human Resources. She had been with the company for 20+ years and had worked her way up from an administrative position to an executive. My mentor knew everyone in the company and was very knowledgeable about the business. She taught me the intricacies of the business, which helped me become more comfortable with my transition. She recommended several internal classes offered by the company in business acumen and human resources related issues. While I would not have ordinarily taken these courses, I was glad I did at her suggestion. I was able to learn about what drove the business and what was important to the C-suite. I learned a lot from my mentor and the classes she recommended.

However, due to the close relationship between my mentor and my supervisor I never felt comfortable having candid discussions with her. They often had lunch and had social interactions outside of work. Because of this, I did not feel I could not discuss all my professional issues, and this perhaps held me back from properly using our relationship to the fullest. Although your mentor should not be your professional counselor, they can be a great sounding board regarding corporate politics.

  learned from my mentor. The experience changed how I chose future mentors and how I mentor people now. The four key takeaways from my experience include:

1.      You should choose your mentor. Since I did not choose my mentor, at times it was uncomfortable. As a result, our mentorship suffered. If you get into a mentorship situation, and you do not trust your mentor or mentee, end the relationship quickly and professionally. 

2.     Your mentor does not have to be in a similar profession or level. My mentor was in HR, not security or intelligence. She was also several professional levels up from my position; I was a manager, and she was a VP. I learned quite a bit about the company which ultimately increased my professionalism and business acumen. 

3.     Think about what type of mentor relationship you would like to have. At the time, I did not actively plan what I wanted to get out of the relationship. In the future experiences, I have put more time and thought into my career goals and either look for a mentor who followed a similarly successful career path, or sought someone with a skill set I want to learn. 

4.     Understand your mentor relationship and when there is a natural end. Some mentoring relationships go for years and end up as lifelong colleagues or friends. While friendships are an excellent thing, you should go into a mentoring program (especially an official one) with an understanding of the lifecycle and when the ‘professional’ relationship should be closing.

Ultimately, your mentor relationship should be with someone you respect and trust. With a bit of foresight and planning, you can have a very successful experience in which both people feel their time is beneficial to personal and professional growth. 

Tags:  AIRIP  AIRIPMentoring  IntelligenceCareers  Risk Intelligence  WhatDoesARiskIntelligenceAnalystDo 

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