Micah Graber, Major, USAF
Information is and will always play a dominant role in how the United States’ military plans and operates. “Mission success depends on the right people getting the right information at the right time to inform decision making.” The Air Force’s scientific and intelligence (S&T) arm, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), like the seventeen intelligence community (IC) partners, reviews threat data on a daily basis. This data comes from a myriad of sources, such as finished intelligence reporting from individual intelligence disciplines, directly from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sensors, or files from a cyber exfiltration event. In the end, this amounts to a tremendous amount of data that is hard for analysts to sift through and organize to do their job most effectively. Data organization is a time-consuming task and especially well-suited to computer intervention utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques capable of tirelessly combing a dataset to find information on threat systems. In this respect, the IC has fallen behind commercial companies like Google, Amazon and, Microsoft who have developed data farms with storage, raw computing power and, more importantly, human talent to build algorithms and tools to make their businesses more successful. With the amount of stored information growing “four times faster than the world economy,” Air Force intelligence must accelerate investments in short-term AI/ML successes and institute AI/ML teams at analytic organizations or they will lose the data war.