Data Collection, Dissemination Tool Could Be Key to National Security

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Two military personell in data center

The Africa Data Science Center, a data collection and dissemination program used by the U.S. Army, could provide a method for understanding large amounts of information critical to national security

The center eases the duties of military intelligence analysts who typically track data by looking through paper reports and generating spreadsheets. The program began as a pilot project in 2018, selecting reports with information that intel soldiers would analyze. 

According to Col. Mark Denton, the program can consolidate a few thousand reports in seconds. Denton, who serves as commander of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, elaborated on the system at a meeting organized by the Association of the United States Army (AUSA). Using a map of Africa that visualized “conflict events,” Denton explained how the system locates necessary data via natural language programming and machine-learning tools and stores the information in a report.

The process delivers the information in a language a human can comprehend instead of a computer programming language. The data center also reduces irrelevant reports and provides more context for commanders with graphics, maps, and charts. During the pilot, the tool eliminated 70-90% of irrelevant reports returned from searches. 

Denton added that efforts to expand the system beyond U.S. Africa Command initiatives are underway. The goal is for the system to link all Army intelligence across regions.

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

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