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In linear analysis, explained Donald Widener, profirst two strategic guidance papers on surveillance gram manager, global analysis for BAE Systems, A will for irregular warfare and understanding the human lead you to B, which, in turn, will lead you to C. “Then dimension. you draw conclusions. But non-linear is the exact “People started talking about it more as its own opposite. Here you’re looking at a general theme over a thing rather than a sub-discipline,” observed Patrick large area, and trying to find new questions. That’s not Biltgen, GEOINT-ISR engineer for BAE Systems. what analysts typically do. They are resource-driven.” Consequently, ABI’s roots lie in the effort to supBut with ABI, analysts take all the information port counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operathey have, put it together in a geospatial environment tions after the 9/11 attacks. and explore back and forth in time. “They pore over all “Supporting special operations required new of their resources to get to the next point,” Widener methods for rapidly collecting, processing, analyzPatrick Biltgen said. ing and disseminating detailed information regardIn short, ABI introduces a way of treating big data ing terrorists and insurgents, including their personal as an asset. and operational networks and patterns of life,” stated “ABI principles make data of nearly any volume Rob Zitz, SAIC senior vice president and ISR chief sysnavigable by having analysts apply the restrictive filtems architect. ter—the geospatial content—to their dataset first,” Prior to this, most intelligence problems were explained Marion. “This makes the information more addressed using target-based processes. For example, manageable and makes it easier for analysts to quickly Soviet tank parks were monitored to determine if the find the potentially relevant data. ABI workflows facilitanks were all present. If the tanks were still in the tate the moving in and out of various datasets, mergtank parks, that was a clear indication that the Soviets ing databases and customizing attributes to arrive at were not on the verge of invading Western Europe. an ever-more meticulously curated dataset.” “Those tank parks are examples of specific targets Rob Zitz ABI enables analysts to leverage all-source meththat could be monitored using target-based intelliods, including text-based search, but in the context of gence collection and analysis methodologies to detergeospatially and temporally indexed data. This means mine the adversaries’ intent,” explained DeTroye. analysts can quickly find discoveries already made by “Today’s adversaries are often non-state actors, and another collector or analyst. warfare is now usually asymmetrical. The bad guys “ABI is the process of piecing together yet unevaluhave no tanks or ships. They are loosely organized ated or uncorrelated data on the basis of the space and groups of terrorists whose future activities can’t usutime elements,” Marion explained. ally be divined by monitoring specific geographic locations or websites.” As a result, ABI can be a powerful tool to address Sea of Change these new threats, particularly since adversaries will leave digital trails through cyberspace that can be disFor that reason, ABI has become the key enabler Donald Widener covered using new tools capable of monitoring the for the “find-fix-finish” model of counterterrorist opervast number of transactions across the Internet. ations, and has created a sea of change for the intelligence community. “For example, their actions can be tracked by monitoring the “Supporting counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations huge volume of Twitter traffic across the globe for postings by averwith ABI provided the impetus to break down INT-specific stovepipes age people who see something strange or dangerous and Tweet and led to the rise in real-time, multi-INT, full spectrum persistent their friends about it,” DeTroye described. “Subtle changes in trafsurveillance,” said Zitz. “It is the embodiment of real-time, persistent fic on remote roads across huge, open expanses of scrubland could multi-INT analysis, and it is viewed today as valuable for supporting be the only sign of an impending attack on a U.S. facility in Africa. many critical intelligence problems and a wide range of military and Monitoring these vast data sets for activities or transactions is now humanitarian operations.” possible due to improvements in compute power and our ability to Properly implemented, ABI processes democratize data and move huge data sets around the globe. Processing power to examine unlock its intelligence value. In a way, the method encourages anathese large data sets is now widely available at reasonable cost and lysts to break through artificial bureaucratic boundaries. dramatically faster speeds.” “Data now becomes defined by its spatial and temporal attributes, Often compared to “finding a needle in a haystack of needles,” not by its ‘mission’ or ‘program,’” stated Marion. the beauty of ABI is that it has been developed to find new ways to ABI is also expanding the communicability of work done within quickly tip and cue across multiple intelligence sources and devise special access programs and with highly classified data, because the new approaches for fusing and analyzing huge amounts of both clasassociated metadata is often not as highly classified or compartsified and open-source information. mented as the full data set. “The geo-temporal metadata can be “It’s not a tool, not automation, and not some kind of all-seeindexed and its associated activity mapped,” he added. ing eye that can predict what is going to happen,” remarked Biltgen. ABI also champions data neutrality. “In what might seem like “ABI is a different way of looking at intel problems in a big-data enviheresy in the intelligence community, ABI uses open-source material ronment. It’s different because traditional intelligence analysis is linto shed light on classified data,” Marion explained. “Likewise, it also ear—a Cold War-centric model where you ask a question, you collect allows appropriate incorporation of less precise data, which can always information, you exploit it and deliver that product.” later be more fully explored or discarded as the process unfolds.” www.GIF-kmi.com

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