Intelligence: June 17, 2004

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Military intelligence becomes a lot more difficult when you are dealing with an insurgency problem, or, as in Iraq, where you have several different gangs (political, criminal and a combination of the two) fighting you. American troops quickly discovered that the armed Iraqis they were encountering were more of a police, than a military, problem. The major military headquarters (usually divisional) in Iraqi quickly adapted by getting police department software, or reworking existing database and computer mapping software to deal with their new opponents. The companies that create and see intelligence software to military organizations are responding with integrated collections of software to take advantage of more powerful computers and networks. 

So Israels largest computer services company, Ness Technologies, recently came out with a military intelligence software system called IDEAS. Based on information systems found in many large corporations, IDEAS is built around a database system that makes it easy to get lots of information into the system (from many different sources) and easy to find something once it is in there. This includes a Fuzzy Search capability (where you query the system with a vague, or fuzzy request and the software helps you find anything in your database that matches what you might be looking for). The system also includes statistical tools, to help find relationships that are not obvious. This sort of capability is part of what is called data mining, and is the most effective way to tease useful information out of a mountain of data. IDEAS has lots of data mining capabilities.

IDEAS also works with all the Microsoft Office programs, thus making it easy to prepare reports and presentations. This is all integrated with email systems for communicating with local users of IDEAS, and anyone outside (via various public and private networks.) There is a Geographic Information System (GIS), for depicting information on maps. Also included, of course, are a set of security tools to help make sure secrets are kept secret.

Israeli companies have excelled at stuff like this, because of their high concentration of skilled programmers and reputation for developing superior military weapons and equipment. However, most military intelligence organizations prefer to deal with developing this stuff themselves, or with companies from within their country.

 


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