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FAS Intelligence Resource Program

"Federal Communications Center"

Department of Defense Security Institute
Interagency Training Center

Office of Special Technology
10530 Riverview Road, Ft Washington MD

Overhead imagery, maps, and a floor space analysis of this facility are also available.

Technical Surveillance Counter-measures (TSCM) equipment is capable of identifying, locating, neutralizing, and/or exploiting technical surveillance or collection devices. The Marine Corps TSCM Coordinator is located at the Department of Defense Security Institute, Interagency Training Center, Fort Washington, Maryland, according to the OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS DOCUMENT FOR TECHNICAL SURVEILLANCE COUNTERMEASURES (TSCM) (NO. INT 1.22)

According to James M. Atkinson's Training, Education, and Career Issues, the Department of Defense runs the only "official" TSCM counterintelligence school operated at the Interagency Training Center in Washington, DC. The primary students are criminal investigators (counterintelligence agents) for the various military agencies (NIS, OSI, CID, etc...). In August 1986, in accordance with a recommendation by the Commission to Review DoD Security Policies and Procedures (the "Stilwell Commission"), the Defense Security Institute became the Department of Defense Security Institute (DoDSI). DoDSI was removed from the Defense Investigative Service organization and placed directly under the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Security Policy). From August 1986 to December 1994, the Interagency Training Center, Training Activity at Fort Washington/Indian Head, Maryland, was slowly dismantled, stripped, and reassigned to DoDSI/DIS (Richmond, VA).

You really don't see very much in these pictures, do you? Good! You are not supposed to see very much of anything at all of this really rather puzzling facility, which has the most aggressive OPSEC earthworks and greenery of any intelligence facility we have examined. The entire north side of the facility is protected from prying eyes by a three element barrier consisting of an outer row of trees, a two meter tall earth berm topped by vegetation and an additional inner row of evergreens. Strategically planted rows of trees provide further visual barriers protecting other parts of the site.

Some [limited] insight into this facility is provided by several recent press reports. On 13 November 1995 Defense Week carried a report by Tony Capaccio entitled "Pentagon Helps Bankroll CIA Counterterror Surveillance Gear." It noted that:

"The Pentagon and State Department are bankrolling a CIA effort to develop a new generation of surveillance equipment for tracking foreign and domestic terrorists.... under a joint "counterterror technical support" program sponsored by a little-known, interagency Technology Support Working Group. Pentagon representatives work under the Assistant Secretary for Special Operations."
This report identified the host of the Technology Support Working Group, which was established in 1986, as the Special Technology Office. According to Defense Week report, there are seven subgroups under the Technology Support Working Group: Subesquently, the 27 November 1995 edition of Defense News, in an article entitled "DoD Eyes High-Tech Counterterror Effort" by Pat Cooper, reported that the office of the
"Special Assistant for Concept Development for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict ... is cooperating with the Technical Support Working Group, lead by the Fort Meade, MD-based National Security Agency and composed of representatives from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other members of the intelligence community as well as the Department of Justice and other elements of the law enforcement sector. The cooperation among the agencies and offices that comprise the Technical Support Wroking Group allows technologis to be developed rapidly and shared among the groups..."

On the whole, this place continues to present a bit of a puzzle. On commercial street maps, it is listed as the "Federal Communications Center" while the entrance sign to the site simply says "US Government." Since the only part of the US Government that calls itself "US Government is the CIA, this is another potential host for this site. On the other hand, some residents in the area are of the belief that it is either the "Navy Communications Center" or the "Naval Warfare Center."

Although these two press reports are in disagreement as to whether the Support Working Group is Technical or Technology, together they suggest that the host entity is an Office of Special Technology that is separate from the Special Operations community. And there is no obvious mention in the Special Operations Command literature of the existence of such an office, nor is it listed in the Pentagon phone book. However, a close examination of the Pentagon phone book discloses, under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, a Director of Special Technology. As, in Pentagonese, Directors direct "Offices" it may be presumed that there is an Office of Special Technology is an element under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for C3I, under which the DASD/Intelligence serves.

A search of the web conducted through the Alt Vista search engine disclosed a total of 14 Office of Special Technolgy hits. SAIC's customer list includes an Office of Special Technology, though no parent organization is listed [this is the normal practice with CIA Offices, notably the Office of Research and Development], with this work including the Laser Overlay Thermal Imaging System (LOTIS-D), a hand-held dual-band thermal imaging device. The Auburn University Institute for Biological Detection Systems is also doing work for an orphan Office of Special Technogy.

Research Planning Inc lists among its principle customers the Office of Special Technology (Office of the Secretary of Defense), for which RPI provides engineering services. And as part of its work on Special Operations and Special Programs Support, which includes Counter-Proliferation (CP) and Non-Proliferation (NP) Policy Support, WMD Proliferation Prevention Programs, Research and Development Evaluation for CP/NP, Information Warfare Development and Support, and Combatting Illicit Trade in WMD:

"RPI provides detailed analytical, programmatic, administrative, logistic, registry, and automated information system technical support to the Office of Special Technology (OST). OST conducts rapid prototyping research and development efforts in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and other units to provide next-generation equipment for the Department of Defense's Special Operations Forces (SOF)."

CNO N431H-T Captain R. Funke's 06 October 1995 OPNAV BFIMA & Regional Maintenance Team Weekly Reader 95-28 notes that:

Surface Warfare Naval Reserve Advisory Committee (SWNRAC) QMB 95-2 (CNO ltr Ser N86R/5U657346 of 20 Sep 95) will address Regional Maintenance, BFIMA, and ROS-30 tender reserve issues. 25-26 Oct at Inter-Agency Training Center, Office of Special Technology, Fort Washington Md."
[We only find this stuff, we don't always pretend to understand it, though in this case buried amidst all this Pentagonese is the notation that there is an Inter-Agency Training Center located at the Office of Special Technology in Fort Washington, MD.]

And J.G. Van Dyke is providing network management solutions for the US Navy Office of Special Technology. The Mobile Inshore Undersea Warefare System Upgrade Program sponsored by OPNAV N852G and managed by an Office of Special Technology that seems to have some connection with the Naval Space and Warfare Systems Command [SPAWAR] Naval Command and Control Ocean Surveillance Center. The MIUW-Upgrade program includes a Thermal Imaging Sensor (TIS) and a Visual Imaging Sensor (VIS) along with an X-Band surface search radar and a passive underwater array sensor string, configured to be deployable from a small boat. The upgrade to systems used during Operation Desert Shield/Storm is based on that experiences as well as advances in commercially available technology. This shallow water surveillance capability includes close-in swimmer detection.

The primary mission of Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare (MIUW) is to provide a rapidly deployable force capable of surveillance operations and intelligence collection. The specific employment of this capability is to provide surface surveillance and subsurface surveillance in littoral operating areas, harbors, roadsteads, straits, anchorages, offshore economic assets, law enforcement operations, and other militarily significant inshore areas throughout the world.

All MIUW Units, which are organized under Group One and Group Two -- each with 14 Units, are manned by Naval Reservists. A Unit consists of 12 selected reservist officers, 52 selected reservist enlisted and 8 active duty personnel, for a total of over 2,000 personnel. The crew is composed of both men and women and rating from both surface, subsurface, construction, special forces and aviation Naval Warfare communities.

So it seems that the best guess is that this facility is sponsored and funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and hosted by the US Navy, in support of special activities conducted by a wide range of intelligence and related agencies.

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Updated Tuesday, April 07, 1998 9:14:28 AM