Professor Sir David Omand, GCB


  • 02/12/2104: Conference "Building Belgium's cyber intelligence knowledge capacity" State Security (Brussels)
  • 23/05/2014: Conference "D-day minus x: intelligence activities along and over the Atlantikwall", Raversyde (Ostend) 
  • 06/12/2013: International conference: "Open Source & Social Media Intelligence" 
  • 10/06/2013: "Espionage during and after the cold war 'revisited'"
  • 19/03/2013: "The chronicles of my hidden war: 1941-1944 - by Fernand Debreyne"
  • 19/11/2012: “Cyberthreats – Cyberwar - Cyberdefence : Pearl Harbor or a death of a thousand cuts?"
  • 02/05/2012: “Governments and economic intelligence policies in Belgium"
  • 01/12/2011: "Ethics and intelligence: oxymoron
  • 01/03/2011: "Intelligence and security studies: history and future


BISC conference:

"Building Belgium's cyber intelligence knowledge capacity" 

December 2nd, 2014 - State Security, Brussels

Citizens, organizations and societies rely on cyber security in order to function. Today, we depend on computers to organize our professional work. Although we all benefit from technological progress, societies have never been so vulnerable as they are now.  Our economy, security, privacy… can easily be breached. This means we have to ensure a cyber security community whose strategies are constantly updated by new knowledge. Building appropriate cyber security capabilities requires information about cyber threats. It also requires knowledge on how to build accurate defense strategies. In order to detect threats and avoid false alerts, the process of cyber intelligence involves carefully assessing strategic and tactical considerations.

This conference will highlight the reasons why Belgium needs a cyber-intelligence capacity. We will also emphasize on experiences from national cyber security incidents and the major threats our country has to deal with. It is our pleasure to announce Sir David Omand, Professor at Kings College London, as our keynote speaker. Professor Omand is a specialist in the development of national security strategy and counter-terrorism, intelligence studies and the historical development of the UK intelligence community. He will discuss the role of intelligence in the digital age.



Flyer in pdf.

Presidents: R. Libert, Director of Analysis (State Security) and Patrick Leroy, Plans & Policy, Division Security Intelligence (Military Intelligence & Security Service)

09h00:    Registration of the participants - welcome coffee

09h30:    Welcome by Mr. Guy Rapaille, president of the BISC (F)

09h40:    KEY NOTE SPEAKER: Professor Sir David OMAND, GCB, King's College London (UK) - Intelligence in the digital age (E)

10h30:    Coffee break

11h00:    Why do we need a cyber-intelligence capacity? (E) - Mr Miguel Debruycker, Military Intelligence & Security Service

11h30:   Cyber awareness (N) - Prof. Dr. Ir Wim Mees, Royal Military Academy, Department of Communication, Information, Systems & Sensors (CISS)

12h10:    Lunch

13h30:  An academic initiative to enlarge the expertise and knowledge in cyber security for the civil community (F) - Mr Philippe Luyten,  President of Eurometropolitan E-Campus

14h00:  Cyber intelligence exchange in business environment – a battle for trust and data. Experiences of a cyber threat information exchange research project and the need for public private collaboration (E) - Mr Luc Beirens, Deloitte

14h30:   Coffee break

15h00:    Political intervention (N) 
Mr Koen Geens, Minister of Justice

15h30:   Discussion with Mr Jaak Raes (State Security), Gen Eddy Testelmans (ADIV/SGRS), Mr Luc Beirens (Deloitte), Mr Carl Lukalu (E-Campus), Professor Sir David OMAND, GCB
Moderated by Prof. dr. Marc Cools (Professor Free University of Brussels and Ghent University and director of BISC)

16h30:   Closing remarks and invitation to the drink (N)
Prof. dr. Marc Cools (Professor Free University of Brussels and Ghent University and director of BISC) 

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Sir David Omand is a Cambridge University graduate in economics, has an honorary Doctorate from Birmingham University and has completed a degree in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics with the Open University.

He is a member of the editorial board of Intelligence and National Security. In the Department of War Studies, of King’s College London, he is co-responsible for delivering training to government intelligence analysts and lectures regularly to BA and MA level classes in intelligence studies.

Sir David Omand was the first UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, responsible to the Prime Minister for the professional health of the intelligence community, national counter-terrorism strategy and “homeland security”. He served for seven years on the Joint Intelligence Committee. He was Permanent Secretary of the Home Office from 1997 to 2000, and before that Director of GCHQ (the UK Sigint Agency). Previously, in the Ministry of Defence as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy, he was particularly concerned with long term strategy, with the British military contribution in restoring peace in the former Yugoslavia and the recasting of British nuclear deterrence policy at the end of the Cold war. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Defence Secretary during the Falklands conflict, and served for three years in NATO Brussels as UK Defence Counsellor. He has been a visiting Professor in the department of War Studies since 2005.



Belgian State Security (VSSE)

North Gate I Building - Koning Albert II-laan 6 - 1000 Brussels

The easiest way to reach the North Gate I building is by metro (subway) or by train. The Rogier or Yser metro stops are nearest. Brussels North railway station is only at 10 minutes walk.

Security measures: You present yourself with your identity card at the information desk. Please tell the guard that you are attending the BISC conference. Your name will be checked on the participants list. You will then be guided to the conference welcome desk. Please note that the use of mobile devices (phone, tablet, photo camera) in the building is not allowed

BISC members

Marc Cools, University of Ghent and Free University of Brussels
Emmanuel Debruyne, Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve
Frank Franceus, Standing Commitee I
Patrick Leroy, General Intelligence and Security Service
André Lemaître, University of Liège
Robin Libert, State Security 
Veerle Pashley, Ghent University
Maj Thierry Piette, School for Intelligence and Security
Jaak Raes, State Security
Guy Rapaille, Standing Commitee I
Maj Alain Segers, School for Intelligence and Security
David Stans, University of Liège
Gen Eddy Testelmans, General Intelligence and Security Service
Johan Truyens, Military Intelligence & Security Service
Alain Winants, State Security 


Defence personnel  - members of the intelligence and security services – academic personnel and students (criminology, political sciences, historians) – Police personnel – Political representatives – Personnel of Administrations and Ministerial cabinets – Economic and industrial community - NATO and UE employees - Embassies - Press


The entrance fee includes lunch, coffee breaks, the drink and a publication (BISC Nr. 4)

  • Members of the public sector: 65 euros
  • Members of the private sector: 95 euros
  • Fulltime university or college students : 25 euros (without publication. Publication can be obtained for 15 euros)

Registration: online on this page (see below).

Payment must be done after receipt of an invoice from CPS-BISC. Cancellations (sent by email) are possible until 3 days before the conference. 

Languages: The presentations will be given in English, Dutch and French. There will be no translation.

Contact BISC

Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre BISC - A division of the Belgian Centre for Policing and Security (CPS)
Contact person: Nathalie Roegiers, Pacificatielaan 27, B-9000 Gent
Tel: 0032 (0)9 223.24.11, email: 

Online registration

BISC-conference 02/12/2014 > details and registration


BISC-conference :

“D-day minus x - Intelligence activities along and over the Atlantikwall”

Guided visit of the Atlantikwall


May 23rd  2014,  Raversyde (Ostend)



This conference is the first part of a tryptich of activities organised by or in collaboration with the Province of West-Flanders. Part 2 on June 5th focusses on the physical remains of the defence line. Part 3, on June 6th, focusses on the artistic influence of the Atlantikwall. A detailed program will follow shortly.

70 years ago the allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, where they were confronted with the largest and most expensive defence structure of recent history: the Atlantikwall. This defence line of bunkers, trenches and barricades was built during the Second World War, streching from Norway to the French-Spanish border. At the Belgian coast one finds one of the few remaining original parts of the Atlantikwall.

The story of the landings in 1944 and the Altantikwall has already been told numerous times.  However, what happened before the landings and behind the Atlantikwall is less well known. A successful military operation requires very good preparation and precise intelligence about the operational environnement and the capabilities of the enemy.  Once the soldiers are on the beach, it is too late to collect intelligence. This inspires the titel of this conference: ‘D-day minus X : intelligence activities along and over the Atlantikwall’.

Intelligence can be gathered in several ways. A first way of collecting information is IMINT or Image Intelligence. The RAF took millions of high resolution images all over occupied Europe, and also of the Atlantikwall at the Belgian coast. How this was done will be shown with original images that will be scrutenised and commented by a contemporary IMINT-specialist.  However, areal photography has its limits: what moves or is hidden, escapes detection. Ground-level human intelligence-activities (HUMINT) are thus vital to build the whole picture. The conference therefore also focuses on the story of the Belgian clandestine intelligence networks: the ‘London agents’, especially at the coast. Academic research and the testimony of a relative of one of those agents will bring these activities to life, also focussing on the crucial work in the Belgian coast area of the Agent de Renseignement et d’Action (ARA) Roger Morsa. However, the agents on the ground could not be effective without outside help : the task to support the clandestine operations and to bring the collected intelligence back to London fell again upon the RAF. A well know historian of the Cabinet Office and author of numerous publications on the allied intelligence services will explain the role of the Special Duties Squadrons.

During the day some original material never before shown to the public will be on exposition. All participants are also invited to a guided visit of the Atlantikwall in Raversyde.




The powerpoint presentations of the speakers can be downloaded in the program.

President: R. Libert, Director of Analysis (State Security)

09h45: Registration of the participants - coffee

10h15: Welcome by Mr. C. Decaluwé, Governor of the Province of West-Flanders and Mr. G. Rapaille, president of the BISC

10h30: About the Atlanticwall
Mr. M. de Meyer (co-ordinator and curator of the provincial domain Raversyde)

10h55: Intelligence activities from the air: air photography of the Atlantikwall from a present point of view
Cpt-Cdt Avi A. Vecchiato (Miltary Intelligence and Security Service)

11h25Activities of the intelligence and resistance groups in occupied Belgium and activities on the field along the coast
Dr. E. De Bruyne (lecturer UCL) and Mrs. E. Slegers (National heritage projects Villakulla, the Netherlands)

12h25: Lunch - exposition

13h30: Roger Morsa, focus on a Special Intelligence and Action Agent
Mr. S. Morsa (academic assistant at Oxyrane Belgium NV and grandson of Mr. Roger Morsa)

13h50: Secret Flights. The role of the Royal Air Force's Special Duties Squadrons in supporting clandestine operations in Belgium, 1940-1945
Mr. M. Seaman (Historian, Cabinet Office, London)

14h45: Conclusions 
Prof. dr. M. Cools (Professor Free Brussels University and Ghent University and director of BISC)

14h55: Closing of the conference and invitation to the Atlantikwall
Mr. M. de Meyer (co-ordinator and curator of the provincial domain Raversyde)

15h00:  Coffee

15h15: Guided visit of the Atlanticwall (reservation in advance) - End foreseen around 16h45.


International conference:

"Open Source & Social Media Intelligence" 

6 December 2013 - Royal Military Academy, Brussels

Every day, we are bombarded with information about a variety of issues: a new scientific discovery, the latest cyber attack, or reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. All this information is made available to the general public through sources in the public domain. Within the intelligence community, this public domain is also exploited: it is called open source intelligence (OSINT).

The domain of open sources entails, among others, official documents, newspaper articles, multimedia broadcasting services, but also data derived from websites and social media platforms.

This avalange of information becomes even more gigantic by the millions of individual people that share with us the details of their personal lives and exploits by using social media. This information that is sometimes of a very private nature is fully available trough the internet, visible for all and every purpose. Social media is hot. Most organizations and events have their own digital space, or are being discussed through social media. The phenomenon received a boost during, and in the aftermath of, the Arab Springs.

This conference will reflect on how intelligence services can collect and exploit information derived from open sources and social media. It will also raise your attention to certain challenges like perception management, cognitive and social biases, data overload, and required technologies. The conference will also provide some practical examples on how social media can be used for intelligence purposes.

This conference features actors from Belgium, France, … and the United Kingdom, representing the intelligence community, the military and the academic domain. 


Program in pdf

Presidents: Patrick Leroy, Head Analysis, Military Intelligence and Security Service & Robin Libert, Director of Analysis, State Security Service

9h00:  Registration - coffee

9h30:  Opening of the conference by Mr. Guy Rapaille, Chairman of BISC, Chairman of the Standing Committee I (F)

9h40:  Introduction - Gen-Maj Eddy Testelmans, Head of Military Intelligence and Security Service (ACOS-IS) (N)

10h00: OSINTSensors & Sense making  - Mr Johan Truyens, Military Intelligence and Security Service (ACOS-IS) (N)
The handouts of this presentation will be available on this website as from December 16th 2013.

10h30: OSINT Education at Belgian Defence - Adj. Chef Geert Nijs, Teacher at the Belgian Intelligence & Security School (N)

11u00: Coffee break

11h30: Case studies highlighting the value of real time open source data for day to day policing: John Reid, Founder and CEO of RepKnight and steering committee member for the Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) (E)

11h45: Risk mapping: Forecasting political and security risks in the year aheadLucy Jones, Control Risks (E)

12h30: Lunch at the atrium

13h30: Introducing social media intelligence: Carl Miller, Centre for the Analysis of social media, DEMOS, UK (E)
For references of papers of Mr Miller: see below

14h30: Coffee break

15h00:  Production of knowledge: Claude Lepère, Founder of I-Cube (F)

15h30:  Social business for intelligence​: John Palfreyman, IBM (E)

16h00: Discussion and Q & Awith the speakers and with Ms Erika Mann, Facebook, Managing Director & Head of Brussels Office, moderated by Prof. dr. Marc Cools, Free University of Brussels & Ghent University (N-F-E)

16h30: Conclusions by Prof. dr. Marc Cools, Free University of Brussels & Ghent University (N)

16h45: Drink at the atrium

Click here for the pictures of this conference.

All the papers are freely available on Carl Miller's profile.
For social media intelligence: 
The State of the Art: A Literature Review of social media intelligence capabilities for counter-terrorism: 
and Introducing Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT): 


Seminar: "Espionage during the cold war 'revisited'"

10/06/2013, Hall "Luc-Marc", Belgian State Security Service, Brussels


Seminar: "The chronicles of my hidden war: 1941-1944 - by Fernand Debreyne"

19/03/2013, Hall « Luc - Marc » - Belgian State Security Service, North Gate I, Koning Albert II-laan 6, 1000 Brussels

Colloquium: "Cyberthreats – Cyberwar - Cyberdefence : Pearl Harbor or a death of a thousand cuts?"

Colloqium organised by the  Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre and the and the "Study Centre of Military Law and the Law of War”.

19/11/2012, Royal Military Academy, Brussels

In the aftermath of the wargame ‘Digital Pearl Harbor,’ that was developed for the U.S. Naval War College at the beginning of the new millennium, 79 % of all participants were conviced that the outbreak of cyberwar would be very likely in the next few years. In 2007, a botnet of computers situated in 178 different countries attacked Estonian websites and systems, causing an estimated economic damage of several million euros. In the summer of 2012, a group of hackers called Anonymous announced that they would launch an attack on the third largest Australian internet access provider because it conserved userdata for too long a period and proposedly did not enough to secure their userdatabases. And in the section ‘cyber crimes’ on the site of the FBI one can find on a permanent basis, photos of serveral persons wanted for diffusion of pedopornography, bank fraude, emailfraude and other infractions committed on the internet.

What are the threats that go with cyberwar cybercriminaly, cyberespionnage and hacktivism ? How can we react ? What are the legal implications What political initiatives have been undertaken by the Belgian authorities? Should we fear a digital Pearl Harbour or rather a silent assault on our public services, private enterprises and our economy, resulting in a 'death of a thousand cuts’ as the White house security advisor, Richard Clarke, put it. And how does these threats are managed beyond our national frontiers ?

This conference features actors from Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States of America, representing the intelligence community, the military and academic, humanitarian and political experts.


Patrick Leroy, Head Analysis, Military Intelligence and Security Service & Robin Libert, Director Analysis, State Security Service

9h15: Opening of the conference by the presidents - Patrick Leroy, Head Analysis, Military Intelligence and Security Service & Robin Libert, Director Analysis, State Security Service

9h20: Introduction - Pieter De Crem, Minister of Defense

9h40: Vision of the Belgian Military Intelligence Service - Gen-Maj Eddy Testelmans, Head Military Intelligence and Security Service

10h00: Situation USA - James Richberg, Deputy of National Intelligence Service for Cyber Management, USA
Press release 15/11/2012: Panetta 'Disappointed' as Cyber Legislation Stalls

10h25: Elements of the Belgian cyberdefence (military) - Lt-Kol De Bruycker, Infosec, Military Intelligence and Security Service
Ppt presentation

10h45: Coffee break

11h10: Cyberthreats – Criminality (civil) - Luc Beirens, Head Commissioner Federal Police, Federal Computer Crime Unit
Ppt presentation

11h35: Role of the State Security Service - Alain Winants, Head of the State Security Service
Ppt presentation

12h00: Conclusions - Patrick Leroy, Head Analysis, Military Intelligence and Security Service & Robin Libert, Director Analysis, State Security Service

12h10: Lunch

13h30: Opening of the afternoon session / introduction- Mr Christian Gossiaux, Secretary-general Legal support and mediation, Ministry of Defence
Ppt presentation

13h35: Reporting on the morning session and questions - Prof. Dr. André Lemaitre, University of Liège, Center for criminology

14h05: Cyberwar : Ius ad bellum- Frank Franceus, Commissioner-auditor, Standing Committee for the Oversight of Intelligence Services
Ppt presentation

14h30: Cyberwar : Ius in bello - Mr Stéphane Kolanowski International Red Cross Genève
Ppt presentation

14h55: Coffee break

15h15: NATO : cyberdefence - Lt-Col Jan Stinissen, Nl. Army, & Scientist/Senior Analist, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence | Tallinn, Estonia
Ppt presentation

15h40: Perspectives for a Belgian cyberpolicy - Pascal Petry, Security Advisor, Cabinet of the Prime Minister

16h05: Questions and conclusions - Mr Christian Gossiaux, Secretary-general, Legal support and mediation, Ministry of Defence


Seminar: "Governments and economic intelligence policies in Belgium"

02/05/2012, Royal Military School, Brussels


Seminar: "Ethics and intelligence: oxymoron?"

Seminar organised by the  Belgian Intelligence Studies Centre and the “Royal Higher Insitute for Defense” (KHID).

01/12/2011, Auditorium of the Royal Military School, Brussels


Seminar: "Intelligence and security studies: history and future"

01/03/2011, Hall « Luc - Marc » - Belgian State Security Service, North Gate I, Koning Albert II-laan 6, 1000 Brussels