Data Flood

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information

Isaac R. Porche
Bradley Wilson
Erin-Elizabeth Johnson
Shane Tierney
Evan Saltzman
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
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  • Book Info
    Data Flood
    Book Description:

    Navy analysts are struggling to keep pace with the growing flood of data collected by intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sensors. This challenge is sure to intensify as the Navy continues to field new and additional sensors. The authors explore options for solving the Navy’s “big data” challenge, considering changes across four dimensions: people, tools and technology, data and data architectures, and demand and demand management.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8432-3
    Subjects: Economics, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. (pp. 1-6)

    U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) functions have become critical to U.S. national security over the last two decades.¹ Within the Navy, there is a growing demand for ISR data from drones and other sources that provide situational awareness, which helps Navy vessels avoid collisions, pinpoint targets, and perform a host of other mission-critical tasks. Despite the battle-tested value of ISR systems, however, the large amount of data they generate has become overwhelming to Navy analysts. As the Intelligence Science Board wrote in 2008, referring to the entire Department of Defense (DoD), “the number of images and signal intercepts...

  10. CHAPTER TWO What the Navy Wants from Big Data
    (pp. 7-12)

    The Navy’s ISR cycle (consisting of tasking, collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination [TCPED]) is not undertaken for its own sake but with a clear, vital objective: providing the fleet with situational awareness. In military operations, knowledge is power. In the Navy, it is situational awareness—derived, in part, from ISR data—that gives commanders that power by helping them answer four critical questions:

    Where am I?

    Where are my friends?

    Where is the enemy?

    Where is everyone else?

    As the rest of this chapter demonstrates, an inability to answer any of these four questions can be disastrous.

    In January 2013,...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Barriers to Benefiting from Big Data
    (pp. 13-22)

    As we have argued in previous chapters, today’s ISR capabilities have the potential to enhance the state of naval situational awareness. However, the Navy needs to improve its ability to make sense of the data being collected. In particular, it faces two challenges: timely consumption and accurate integration.

    In 2020, there could be twice as many fielded unmanned ISR platforms and related sensors as there are today in early 2014 (Figure 3.1). One such platform is the MQ-4C Triton, a UAV developed under the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program and designed to fly surveillance missions of up to 24...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Dynamically Managing Analyst Workloads
    (pp. 23-28)

    Compared with the other military services, the Navy employs only a small number of analysts. As of 2011, there were several thousand Navy analysts divided among five intelligence specialties (Figure 4.1). It is important to understand that, despite the anticipated growth in incoming data, the Navy will not increase the number of analysts (including intelligence specialists) that it employs. It is also important to understand that the Navy’s analysts are spread around the world: in the Navy’s reachback intelligence center, in maritime operations centers, and afloat on ships (Figure 4.2). They are located both in the United States and abroad,...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Alternatives for Dealing with Big Data
    (pp. 29-40)

    We have shown that better management of analyst workloads is not a sufficient or long-term solution to the Navy’s big data challenge.¹ To be complete, a solution must involve changes along all of the following four dimensions:


    tools and technology

    data and data architectures

    demand and demand management.

    This chapter presents alternatives for dealing with big data, beginning with a description of the baseline scenario.

    Currently, Navy analysts must access data that are stored in a number of discrete, unconnected databases (Figure 5.1; for more-detailed drawings of the baseline and alternatives, see Figure A. 2).² To do this, they...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Analysis
    (pp. 41-46)

    In this chapter, we evaluate the baseline and the three alternatives in terms of their relative performance, cost, and risk.

    Using modeling and simulation tools to quantitatively measure performance differences among the alternatives,¹ and considering multiple operational missions and force structures, we determined the following for the baseline and each alternative:

    How many sensor platforms can be handled?

    What volume of data can be exchanged?

    How much electronic imagery can be analyzed in a sufficiently timely fashion?

    How many intelligence types can be fused?

    How many targets can be identified using multiple types of intelligence?

    One useful performance metric is...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Recommendations
    (pp. 47-50)

    If the Navy continues to field new and additional sensors as planned but does not change the way it collects, processes, exploits, and disseminates information, it will reach an ISR “tipping point”—the point at which intelligence analysts are no longer able to complete a minimum number of exploitation tasks within given time constraints—as soon as 2016.¹ As we have argued in previous chapters, a solution to the Navy’s big data challenge must involve changes along four dimensions: people, tools and technology, data and data architectures, and demand and demand management. This means that the Navy needs

    more than...

  16. APPENDIX Additional Information
    (pp. 51-54)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 55-64)