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Data is the new black

By Chasen Thoennes Defense Intelligence Agency

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Data is being produced at rates never seen before, with billons of gigabytes produced every single day. And with more and more devices connected to the Internet, that rate is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years.

 

This avalanche of data presents an emerging crisis for the intelligence community, one that Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon says needs the community’s full and immediate attention.

 

“In a world of big data, data profiling, data mining, data explosion, data is the new black and we ought to be talking about it,” said Gordon.

 

Speaking at the 2018 Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Worldwide Conference, Gordon emphasized the need for creativity and invention to handle data challenges. While she believes the intelligence community is the best it’s ever been, it’s still not good enough. The world requires different methods and solutions than what was done in the past.

 

“This is a very different world from when I first started in this craft, and we’re going to have to actually transform the way that we work and do that in a very short time frame if we’re going to be able to deliver on the promise of our mission,” Gordon stated.

 

As part of this transformation, Gordon envisions an intelligence apparatus with common language, increased information sharing with partners to help with the deluge of data and one that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning in its daily operations. Gordon provided examples of these technologies already in use at multiple agencies. She also acknowledged these technologies will also necessitate changes in intelligence community policy to safeguard privacy and civil liberties.

 

Gordon compared data to a new frontier with the ability to give the nations that best harness its capability a distinct advantage. She challenged attendees to leverage all capabilities of the government, industry and academia to ensure the U.S. superiority.

 

“My challenge to you—which we know we can achieve—is for us to be on the winning side,” said Gordon.