Friday, February 18, 2011

Broadcast Television Tools to Help Intelligence Analysts Wade Through Data

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is preparing to deploy a suite of tools that will help war commanders sift through live and recorded video quickly to pinpoint key clips and highlight information with the ease of sports broadcasters. The system is part of a broader agency effort to establish an intelligence network that will allow analysts in operations centers and troops on the battlefield to find pertinent archival video and associated information no matter who collected the data or where it might be stored.

“The comparison we like to make is to ESPN, or CNN, or MSNBC,” said Charlie Morrison, director of business development at Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions. The company is the prime contractor for the system. Former intelligence officers say the video analysis tool would be a drastic improvement over the current process, which is an antiquated “hunt-and-correlate” method that takes too long and often leaves analysts drowning in data.

The Defense Department flies hundreds of sensors over war zones to collect surveillance video. NGA, which has responsibility for archiving the imagery coming off Air Force Predators and other aircraft, wants to improve how it provides that data to ground troops. Intelligence analysts characterize their daily task of wading through hours of footage as searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. It can take up to a week to find a specific event embedded in 20 million minutes of video. Once that data is located, they encounter additional hurdles to send it forward to troops on the ground.

The suite of commercial-based analysis tools, part of the NGA’s National System for Geospatial-Intelligence Video Services, will compress the time it takes to go through the process, officials said. “What this will do is take the video that you have and make it more accessible, more discoverable and more useable,” said Joseph A. Smith, a retired military intelligence officer who is now the technical executive for the sensor assimilation division in NGA’s acquisition directorate.

This could have applications for law enforcement as well as the military so will be well worth keeping an eye on. Sifting though hours of footage on riots, industrial burglaries and other video surveillance situations is a time-consuming and exacting task which could use some technological assistance.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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