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DOD/IC Challenges


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DOD/IC Challenges


Our problem sets come from the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. 


Joint Forces Command - UK Ministry of Defence

PROBLEM TITLE: Publicly Available Information (PAI)

BACKGROUND

Publicly available information (PAI), largely derived from the Internet and social media, is of ever increasing importance to military operations and strategic decision-making. Military intelligence analysts at the Joint Forces Command within the U.K. Ministry of Defense are responsible for collecting, translating, and processing PAI in order to inform the decision-making of senior leadership. However, there is no single collection platform. When analysts are assigned a task, they can have as many as 20 tabs open for the purpose of accessing information from news and academic sources or social media sites. They also might have multiple windows up in order to translate information and extract the metadata associated with various websites. The current process to complete a task is time consuming, which as a result can decrease the quality of the information and puts a cognitive burden on the analysts. If there was a way military intelligence analysts could simultaneously collect, translate, and process PAI, analysts would be able to more efficiently complete tasks, reduce their cognitive burden, and work on other projects.

CHALLENGE

Design a tool for military intelligence analysts to simultaneously collect, translate, and process publicly available information in order to reduce the time it takes to complete each individual task.

BOUNDARIES

· Security of the system to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability of the platform.

· Analysts require the ability to access raw content from the Internet and to access a number of applications within the system.

· Would prefer a way that integrates the information while increasing the user experience.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Natasha Gedge, jHub Scout, Defence and Technology Laboratory, Joint Forces Command


Joint Forces Command - UK Ministry of Defence 

PROBLEM TITLE: Translating and Triaging Data

BACKGROUND

The Joint Forces Command within the U.K. Ministry of Defense holds large quantities of data in multiple foreign languages that date back at least 50 years. In order to determine if the information from the data is valuable, linguists have to do a rough translation of the documents. Once there is an initial translation, intelligence analysts must triage the information. If the information is found to be significant, the documents are sent back to the linguists for a more in-depth translation.

Although a symptom of the issue but not the focus of this problem, it currently takes linguists an inordinate amount of time to translate the data. As a result, intelligence analysts utilize third party translation services; however, these services are insufficient because the information is limited by domain and classification. Thus, the military intelligence analysts, in order to reduce the burden on linguists and make the process more efficient, need a faster and more effective way of prioritizing data and deciding which information is pertinent to ongoing or future work.

CHALLENGE

Military intelligence analysts within the Joint Forces Command need a way to rapidly and effectively triage previously collected data in order to determine if the information is pertinent to ongoing or future work.

BOUNDARIES

· The information is in a variety of languages and scripts. Information should be ingestible in a number of formats including .doc and .ppt

· Security of the system to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability of the platform.

· The ability to search across multiple domains, and from segregated datasets.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Natasha Gedge, jHub Scout, Defence and Technology Laboratory, Joint Forces Command


Joint Task Force Empire Shield

PROBLEM TITLE: Traffic Engineering

BACKGROUND

The mission of Joint Task Force Empire Shield (JTFES) is to deter and detect terrorism in and around the New York Metropolitan area. Service members from JTFES support law enforcement partners by conducting preventative patrols in major transportation hubs including Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, and LaGuardia Airport. Since JTFES was set up post-9/11, service members serve as a second set of ears and eyes and are some of the first responders to major and minor incidents in New York.

Like any major metropolitan area, New York City is congested with traffic. However, in an emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, traffic could turn from a nuisance to a catastrophe, making it impossible for people to flee the city as well as allow first responders to enter the affected area. The faster first responders could react to a developing crisis, the greater the chances of survivability for those who are affected by the event. However, traffic currently slows down the reaction time of first responders and they need a more efficient way to navigate through the city during high levels of traffic.

CHALLENGE

Joint Task Force Empire Shield service members need an efficient way to navigate through a large metropolitan area in a crisis in order to respond faster and increase the risk of survivability for individuals who could be injured.

LIMITATIONS

· Requires the buy-in an/or participation from multiple law enforcement partners in the New York Metropolitan area.

PROBLEM SPONSOR

1LT Vladimir Manreka, Joint Task Force Empire Shield

CPT Steven Quinones, Joint Task Force Empire Shield
 


U.S. Air Force Office of Energy Assurance (OEA)

PROBLEM TITLE: Modernizing Cost-Benefit Analyses for Energy and Infrastructure Projects

BACKGROUND

“[T]here can be no complacency—we must make difficult choices and prioritize what is most important to field a lethal, resilient, and rapidly adapting Joint Force. New commercial technology will change society and the character of war. It is now undeniable that the homeland is no longer a sanctuary. America is a target, whether from terrorists seeking to attack our citizens; malicious cyber activity against personal, commercial, or government infrastructure; or political and information subversion.” – 2018 National Defense Strategy

Air Force weapon system development and procurement is a complicated process and most weapon systems having operational lifespans in the multi-decade range. Therefore, new operational concepts and technologies are rigorously evaluated in wargaming scenarios that account for potential geopolitical changes and anticipated improvements of our adversaries.

However, we seldom treat the supporting infrastructure for those weapon systems as an integral part of the weapon systems themselves. This is especially true when it comes to fixed infrastructure. The Air Force has made significant improvements in the way we develop resilience requirements for our supporting infrastructure, but we still view development and procurement through a lowest-cost, technically acceptable or “best value” lens. Unlike the wargaming that is performed for the weapon systems themselves, this “best value” lens typically only considers current market prices, current regulations, and current policies without taking into account anticipated or inevitable changes that will take place over the lifespan of the supporting infrastructure.

CHALLENGE

Energy and infrastructure program managers need to determine how to account for evolving energy market and policy trends when forecasting the life-cycle cost-effectiveness of projects.

LIMITATIONS

- Evolving policy restrictions and energy resiliency requirements

- Ability to quantify the sensitivity of procurement decisions to the certainty of energy market and policy trends

- Determining cost effective energy resiliency enhancements based on sum total of all requirements and actual threats to resiliency

- Analytical models to measure pace of adversary technology development

PROBLEM SPONSOR

Eric Griesenbrock

Air Force Office of Energy Assurance Contractor, John Coletti

Executive Director: Robert Hughes


Department of Homeland Security

PROBLEM TITLE: Media Literacy and Public Education for Countering Foreign Influence

BACKGROUND

In the 2016 election, content was spread online by foreign actors for the express purpose of influencing the electoral process. Such activities were enhanced and enabled through several security breaches within party networks. Information and cyber activities take place in the context of a wider field of foreign influence activities to undermine U.S. institutions and security.

In the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has established a Countering Foreign Influence Task Force to counter foreign interference. The role of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in countering foreign interference is to enable better risk management amongst our partners within the U.S. government, the private sector, and within the general public. A key aspect of this effort will be public education and media literacy.

Public education and media literacy around foreign interference is a complex and sensitive requirement. For these reasons, there is a need for a long term mechanism to ensure the public does not fall victim to online content developed by malign foreign adversaries. There are limitations to the government’s ability to lead the effort in the domestic space, as the government is not a universally trusted messenger. Therefore, a successful media literacy campaign will likely require supporting different non-governmental organizations (NGOs), help from the media and advertising sector, and working with strategic amplifiers, such as organizations that do significant public outreach around broad-based literacy. The task force hopes that, based on their research, the student team will develop options and lay the groundwork for what could become a new public awareness campaign focused on how to build digital literacy against malign foreign actors looking to sow discord among the American public.

CHALLENGE

The Countering Foreign Influence Task Force needs a Public Education and Media Literacy framework to counter foreign influence operations.


LIMITATIONS

· Any solutions must not infringe upon the rights of U.S. citizens, to include First Amendment Protections, along with privacy and civil rights and civil liberties.

· The complex and fragmented media landscape is difficult and this topic needs to be handled with care.

· Must be willingness among engaged third parties to support the effort.

PROBLEM OWNER

Brian Scully,

Deputy Director for Strategy and Policy at Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security

Charles Covel

Branch Chief, Strategic Initiatives

Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis

National Protection and Programs Directorate

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Clara Tsao

Chief Technology Officer – Interagency Countering Violent Extremism Task Force

Countering Foreign Influence Task Force

U.S. Department of Homeland Security