Shutterstock Photo Contributor: SFIO CRACHO
As the pace of global competition accelerates, conflict develops and US intelligence agencies begin to do so Embrace the idea of unclassified workIC leaders are exploring new ways to improve collaboration and integration between mission and IT.
In the Potomac Officers Club‘s 8th Annual Intel Summit brought together technologists and leaders from government and industry for a panel discussion to explore ways to close this traditional gap.
“Mission comes to the table with a necessary problem that is always limited in time. Analysts and architects and deep IT thinkers will never have enough time to figure out how best to do this, so there’s always a conflict. And I think what we all need to work towards is how do we bring those two things together?” Brian SchrefflerChief Technology Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
One solution proposed by Schreffler is to use the concept of data science, which he calls “a bridge between what we’re trying to do on the mission side and what we’re doing in IT.”
Data science is a relatively new field that combines advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, specialized programming skills, and deep domain knowledge to harness an organization’s vast data assets for actionable insights and intelligence.
In industry, “Knowledge Graphs” have emerged from this field as a concept that allows users to create a fully connected data paradigm.
Vincent BridgemanVice President of Intelligence Services at Redhorse Corporation, explained the concept as a tool that “takes all relevant data from all your relevant data sources and combines them into a new net data value”.
“This asset represents a problem model for any problem you work on, whether it’s transnational organized crime or sanctions or whatever. This data model, along with all the data you can muster to solve the data model, enables some pretty powerful data science approaches,” Bridgeman outlined.
IC leaders are increasingly turning to advanced data tools and data scientists to help them make informed, data-driven decisions. However, some argue that despite their deep expertise and skills, data scientists may not be able to bridge the gap between mission and IT themselves.
“You’ve seen the attempts at data science, to have people who have all the acumen to do very complex analytics but don’t understand the business case they’re trying to solve.” Brian BatailleChief Data Officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the personal audience in Tysons, VA.
Bataille’s solution to bridging the gap is to appoint data stewards responsible for each domain and provide them with a forum to collaborate.
He described DIA’s “affinity for making mission staff data stewards to bring mission context into data management perspective” as an effort that propelled the agency in its efforts to combine data management with the larger mission.
In the same vein is the CIA’s Deputy Chief Data Officer, Rick Klein said his agency is taking a more literal approach to breaking down the disconnect between mission and IT.
Klein said the CIA is focused on “pushing data management and data professionals into our mission room to work side-by-side with the mission — analytical mission, operational mission. So literally physically Bridging that gap between mission and IT.”
“We use these professionals side by side with mission – and it’s not only data management experts, but also our data scientists who sit with mission who know what these challenges are. They are often the first to get their hands on the data and start manipulating it and developing the skills that unlock the potential and value of the data for that mission,” Klein explained.
During the Potomac Officers Club, learn about the challenges and opportunities shaping the future of intelligence Cybersecurity in the Modern Intelligence Community Forum on November 16th. Christopher Cleary, senior cyber adviser to the US Department of the Navy, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Register here.