SIDtoday 2007-03-16: SIGINT Seniors Pacific Successes Highlighted at Conference
Mar. 1 2018 — 5:02p.m.
DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL (S//SI//REL) SIGINT Seniors Pacific: Successes and Future CT Goals Highlighted at Conference FROM: SSPAC Exec (DP14) Run Date: 03/16/2007 (S//SI//REL) The Counterterrorism-focused SSPAC alliance sets goals, notes remarkable progress at the analytic level. (S//SI//REL) In November 2006, NSA officials* and representatives of seven other nations met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for the second annual SIGINT Seniors Pacific (SSPAC) conference. The Principals came together to review SSPAC progress over the last year and set strategic direction for the next year. Temple (U) Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a landmark temple in Chiang Mai (U) Progress at the Analytic Level (S//SI//REL) At the conference, Principals looked back at the remarkable progress the alliance had made over the last year starting with the inaugural Analytic Conference hosted by New Zealand in March. This was the first time counterterrorism (CT) analysts from all eight nations met face-to-face and collaborated and networked. Nations presented a country counterterrorism briefing and shared information on targets as well as ways to increase the effectiveness of the alliance. These ways included the need to: use a common information-sharing communications network; share language capabilities; exchange unique information on CT targets in the region, analytic methodologies, tools and terrorism tradecraft; and exchange information on financial activity used to facilitate extremist activity. Where the senior leadership of respective agencies had agreed on the concept and shape of SSPAC, it was at the analytic level where success was being demonstrated. (U) Other Recent Highlights (S//SI//REL) Over the year, SSPAC members issued 70 intelligence reports on CT targets and activities; half of those came from NSA. In addition, SSPAC nations identified 20 terrorist groups as strategic interests and assembled detailed summaries or "target templates" on six of them. NSA/CSS Hawaii (HS2I), for example, assembled a template on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), an Islamist terrorist separatist group based in southern Philippines whose spokesman, Abu Solaiman - the accused mastermind of Southeast Asia's worst terror attacks and who had ties to al-Qaida - was killed by US-backed troops on 16 January 2007. (See related article.) Templates have increased SSPAC's corporate stock of knowledge and will be assembled on the remaining 14 terrorist groups in the months ahead. SSPAC (S//SI//REL USA,AUS,CAN,GBR,NZL) SSPAC target Abu Solaiman, "Spokesman of the ASG," was killed by US-backed troops in January 2007.
(S//SI//REL) SSPAC also assembled a Language Composite in 2006 that lists each member's capabilities in Asian-Pacific languages that they would be willing to offer to the alliance. Additionally, the composite shows the languages that each member would welcome assistance on from others. Nations can now turn to other members for language assistance (on a limited basis, as operations permit), with CRUSHED ICE providing a timely means for transferring voice files. Processes for making use of such language support among SSPAC nations are still being developed. (U//FOUO) CRUSHED ICE: The SSPAC Communications Network (S//SI//REL) SSPAC nations needed a common network where all members could communicate and share information on a timely basis. NSA developed a stand-alone secure system called CRUSHED ICE, modeled after the technology of CENTER ICE, the tactical collaboration system used by 14 nations in Afghanistan. (See related article.) CRUSHED ICE is deployed in each nation's headquarters and serves as the national SIGINT communications vehicle for SSPAC much like SIGDASYS does for SIGINT Seniors Europe. The system was deployed to most of the SSPAC nations by year's end (with Singapore and Canada due to go on-line in February) and is designed so that virtual teams can work collaboratively on the same data, thus adding value to anything one nation might achieve individually. The demonstration given to the Principals on 14 November marked the symbolic stand-up of CRUSHED ICE. (S//SI//REL) SSPAC Membership (S//SI//REL) One of the most frequent questions asked by NSA folks is why isn't Japan a member of SSPAC? At the time the alliance was formed, many other Asian nations were considered as potential members, including Japan. Japan was the only nation who was actually offered membership but turned it down. At the time, Japan expressed concerns that unintended disclosure of its participation would be too high a risk and had other reasons as well. SSPAC Principals, however, have been discussing the membership issue at their level and will raise it as a topic for the next Principals meeting in October 2007. The Executive Board has also been laying groundwork in this discussion in addition to raising ideas for expanding SSPAC's intelligence focus beyond counterterrorism. The decision to add new members or to collaborate on other shared threats such as proliferation must be made by a consensus vote by the Principals. Yi (S//SI//REL) SSPAC host Lt Gen Chavalit (left) celebrates the Yi Peng festival by releasing a balloon-like fire lantern heavenward, symbolically floating ill fortune away. (U) The Way Forward for 2007 (S//SI//REL) Back to the recent conference in Chiang Mai, the Principals set the direction for "The Way Forward 2007" by laying out ten strategic goals** for the year. These goals will provide the platform for deepening analytic ties among SSPAC members and increasing awareness of CT threats, thus strengthening our corporate ability to pursue new potential threats. What kept the Principals so optimistic was not only the remarkable progress over the last year but the frank and open discussions among members. This is especially noteworthy considering the alliance is still in its infancy stages. (S//SI//REL) What's next on the immediate horizon? SSPAC CT analysts will be gathering again, this time in Hawaii, on 24-27 April. Many of the details for reaching the 2007 strategic goals will be worked out at this level, such as developing processes for providing support to international events, collaborating on CT targets, and building operational guidelines for CRUSHED ICE. With CRUSHED ICE in place, expectations are even higher this year, making use of weekly virtual analytic meetings and other means to counter terrorist threats in the Asian Pacific region.
(U//FOUO) The above is an abbreviated version of an article from the Foreign Affairs Digest, JanuaryFebruary edition. (U) Notes: * (S//SI//REL) NSA attendees included the Director, LTG Alexander; the SIGINT Director, and the Principal Director for Foreign Affairs, . ; **(S//SI//REL USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, KOR, NZL, SGP, THA) The SIGINT Seniors Pacific Strategic Goals for 2007: 1. (U) Deploy, initiate, and use CRUSHED ICE for administrative and operational purposes. 2. (U) Build a regional CT information-sharing network using CRUSHED ICE. 3. (U) Conduct the 2nd Analytic Conference in April 2007. 4. (S//REL USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, KOR, NZL, SGP, THA) Increase the sharing of SIGINT lead information by member countries and number of intelligence reports. 5. (U) Develop operational processes to provide support for special events. 6. (S//REL USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, KOR, NZL, SGP, THA) Develop operational processes for the shared deployment of language capabilities. 7. (U) Conduct virtual analytic meetings as well as Executive Board meetings. 8. (U) Review membership and intelligence themes. 9. (S//REL USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, KOR, NZL, SGP, THA) Establish routine SSPAC synchronization meetings on CRUSHED ICE. 10. (S//REL USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, KOR, NZL, SGP, THA) Aggressively look for terrorist threats in the Asian-Pacific region. "(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."