How Open-Source Intelligence Has Shaped the Russia-Ukraine War

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An address by General Sir Jim Hockenhull, Commander of Strategic Command, UK Ministry of Defence.

The role of open source intelligence in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has attracted significant interest. Commercial satellite imagery of the pre-war Russian military build-up drew attention to the looming conflict, and has also played a large part in the public portrayal of the war and in debates about the available response options. A growing constellation of researchers, from academia, civil society and commercial organisations to law enforcement and the UK government, offer regular assessments on everything related to the war using publicly available information.

In his address, General Hockenhull will discuss the utility of open source intelligence as a tool to inform external audiences – both publicly and privately – about Russian intentions, capabilities and practices, as well as the consequences of their actions.

General Sir Jim Hockenhull KBE ADC Gen was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1986. He has served in joint appointments for most of his career, including 10 years on operational tours. General Hockenhull took over as Chief of Defence Intelligence in December 2018, and was appointed Commander of UK Strategic Command in May 2022.

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