Uni­fied Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence pic­ture helps dis­pel the fog of war

SP's MAI - - TECHNOLOGY -

Mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions de­pend upon the unim­peded flow of ac­cu­rate and rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion to sup­port timely de­ci­sions re­lated to bat­tle plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion. To ad­dress th­ese needs, nu­mer­ous in­tel­li­gence sys­tems and tech­nolo­gies have been de­vel­oped over the past 20 years, but each of th­ese typ­i­cally pro­vides only a par­tial pic­ture of the bat­tle­field, and in­te­grat­ing the in­for­ma­tion has proven to be bur­den­some and in­ef­fi­cient.

DARPA’s Insight pro­gramme aims to take de­fence in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (ISR) to the next level by cre­at­ing the ca­pa­bil­ity to mean­ing­fully in­te­grate dis­parate “stovepiped” source in­for­ma­tion into a uni­fied pic­ture of the bat­tle­field. As DARPA’s cap­stone ISR pro­cess­ing pro­gramme, Insight seeks to en­able an­a­lysts to make sense of the huge vol­umes of in­tel­li­gence-rich in­for­ma­tion avail­able to them from ex­ist­ing sen­sors and data sources.

“We’re ad­dress­ing the tyranny of stovepipes,” said Ben Cut­ler, DARPA pro­gramme man­ager lead­ing the Insight pro­gramme. “In­tel­li­gence an­a­lysts cur­rently use dif­fer­ent sys­tems for nearly ev­ery dif­fer­ent data feed, and in­tel­li­gence de­rived from th­ese sys­tems is not al­ways read­ily un­der­stand­able and ac­ces­si­ble. Insight aims to cre­ate an adapt­able, in­te­grated sys­tem that aug­ments hu­man an­a­lysts’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties to col­lect in­for­ma­tion from all avail­able sources, learn from it, and share im­por­tant in­sights with the peo­ple who need it most—all in real time.”

Im­prov­ing real-time in­for­ma­tion shar­ing is a pri­or­ity at the high­est lev­els of the US mil­i­tary. “De­fence in­tel­li­gence must be able to pro­vide timely and ac­tion­able in­tel­li­gence across the en­tire threat spec­trum,” US Army Lt Gen­eral Michael T. Flynn, Di­rec­tor of the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency, tes­ti­fied be­fore the US Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in April 2013.

Insight would en­able an­a­lysts to col­lab­o­rate on the fly via an in­tu­itive user in­ter­face that speeds com­pre­hen­sion of com­plex in­for­ma­tion through state-of-the-art data vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tech­niques. Un­der the hood, ad­vanced au­to­ma­tion and data fu­sion tech­nolo­gies would han­dle low-level an­a­lyt­i­cal tasks and cor­re­late in­com­ing live data streams and foren­sic data. Insight’s scal­able, mod­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture prom­ises to re­duce cost and ac­cel­er­ate de­liv­ery of tai­lored ca­pa­bil­i­ties read­ily adapted to meet evolv­ing mis­sion needs in any the­atre of op­er­a­tion.

“Imag­ine PCs or smart­phones with­out plug and play, with­out the rich, in­ter­ac­tive en­vi­ron­ment we take for granted, with­out ap­pli­ca­tions that share data and in­ter­act with each other,” Cut­ler said. “That’s how com­put­ers were un­til strong stan­dards took hold. Our goal with Insight is to bring sim­i­lar lev­els of ca­pa­bil­ity and in­ter­op­er­abil­ity to ISR, with all the as­so­ci­ated ben­e­fits to the de­fence mis­sion.”

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