Open Source – Week 2 Discussion Forum
For this forum, you are to answer one of the questions listed below.  The original post must be a minimum of 250 words.
Questions:
• What role has OSINT played as an instrument to both protect U.S. activities and determine enemy strategies, culture, and vulnerabilities?
• If OSINT IS open source, discuss how Gibson says it can be discretely acquired.
• How have the goals, uses, and policies of OSINT evolved over the years?
Instructions: Your initial post should be at least 250 words. Please respond to at least 2 other students. Responses should be a minimum of 200 words each and include direct questions.
Student Response #1:
• What role has OSINT played as an instrument to both protect U.S. activities and determine enemy strategies, culture, and vulnerabilities?
It is a strange phenomenon that so many refer to OSINT as a relevant and valuable form of intelligence, yet still so many within the IC do not respect it as such.  Mercado says that, “Not only are open sources increasingly accessible, ubiquitous and valuable, but they can shine in particular against the hardest of hard targets. . .one would expect to see OSINT occupying a commensurately large space within the Intelligence community. This is not the case” (Mercado, np, 2007).
Even with the mixed reviews on the subject of OSINT, it has played an important role as an instrument at both protecting US activities and revealing insights on enemy strategies, culture and vulnerabilities.  In places like North Korea, OSINT provides some of the best political intelligence.  Information that is otherwise extremely difficult to come by is revealed through thorough analysis of that open source material.  OSINT analysis has had a number of important successes across a variety of enemies over time, including the Cold War and World War II.
OSINT also helps to shape the other “INT’s”.  By contextualizing intelligence requirements, both historically and currently, it can be used to provide a matrix in which the clandestine intelligence services can effectively be directed.  It also helps to identify and mitigate risk at technical, tactical, operational and strategic levels.  OSINT may also serve to aid in the creation of a partner forming trust by sharing it through multi-national organizations, such as NATO. Intelligence often has a restricted flow and hence a limited value in those situations, and the dispersion of OSINT may help to overcome those intelligence obstacles.  (Gibson. 2008)