The Defense Intelligence Agency has a new director. In a news release, the agency said the Senate confirmed Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley to replace Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, who will become the number two at Cyber Command.
“Lt. Gen. Ashley brings with him a wealth of experience in intelligence, both as a producer and consumer,” Stewart said. “He is well suited to lead this talented organization, having previously served as the director of intelligence of both Central Command and the Joint Special Operations Command, and as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca.”
Most recently, Ashely was the deputy chief of staff, G-2, for the Army, meaning he was the Army’s top intelligence officer.
At DIA, Ashley will lead an all-source intelligence organization whose primary mission is to collect intelligence on foreign militaries.
As the character of war is changing rapidly, DIA — along with the DoD community — is looking to leverage advances in technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to help unburden analysts.
DIA has set up a number of industry days to take advantage of these advancements.
Ashley, who was previously in charge of intelligence for U.S. Central Command, knows the challenges the intelligence community faces well.
“Think about artificial intelligence and the shear amount of information that’s coming in,” he said at the annual AUSA conference last year. “How do you take the burden off the solider in triaging that information? How do you look for trends?”
Ashley offered an example from when he was in charge of intelligence at Central Command during the Arab Spring.
“Imagine you see people congregate in Tahrir Square in Cairo, but you didn’t have the means by which you could measure and see all of that,” he said. “Where were the indications and warnings? Where were the tools to allow you understand what was going on? This capability in the future will augment analytic requirements for soldiers giving them more time to triage information.”
The transition between Stewart and Ashley is expected to take place in October, DIA said.
Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.