Coding For Your Country
By Claudia Borovina, IC Communications Fellow
This week ODNI celebrates National Coding Week by highlighting how coding enables the Intelligence Community’s mission and the impressive coders behind the technology. From the National Security Agency to the Defense Intelligence Agency to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and beyond, the IC uses coding in a variety of ways.
NGA supports geospatial analysis efforts by using satellite imagery to evaluate changes in water surfaces over time – a concept known as water surface dynamics. They do this by using satellite imagery to determine what percentage of an area is covered by water. This python-based coding project is instrumental in helping the NGA and other agencies make decisions based on water security.
“Water security is the evaluation of the availability of water required to sustain life and economic activity,” said Anthony Nguy-Robertson, NGA’s Water Security Program Manager. “NGA uses this information to make predictions on if water will be available to sustain life and industry, from if there is enough water to support local crops, to if there is enough water to fulfil cooling needs for nuclear reactors. As a combat support agency, this information can also help the warfighter make decisions on military movement, which may be affected by droughts or flooding.”
Closer to earth, NSA developed the cutting-edge reverse engineering tool, Ghidra. NSA provided public access to this open-sources framework in March 2019 as a way to level the playing field. The release of Ghidra allowed users a way to analyze a large codebase, which helps students in the process of developing technical proficiency to understand code design and associated security risks.
Recently, NSA and Morgan State University researchers used Ghidra to identify and mitigate the cyber weaknesses of modern vehicles. Today’s vehicles contain embedded internet of things (IoT) technology that runs millions of lines of code.
Behind all of these projects are talented coders like Jonathan Abolins, DIA’s Enterprise Container Platform Lead. This position supports DIA’s mission by taking advantage of container systems, such as Kubernetes, to streamline the development and troubleshooting of mission critical applications.
Abolins has been exposed to computers all his life, but first got into coding in middle school, working on websites in HTML. By high school, he was building machines and coding operating systems. In college, he went on to study computer science before joining the Intelligence Community.
Abolins says he sees his role at DIA as “enabling developers to do development, and focus on their own security controls and streamlining applications.”
Coding is a critical aspect to the work we do in the IC – and our talented workforce makes it possible.
Whether your interest ranges from geography to cybersecurity, to anything in between, there is a place for you in the IC.
Visit www.intelligencecareers.gov for more.