From Information to Insight
Until the 21st century, intelligence was gathered in discreet ways. People would go undercover, use secret codes, and pass intelligence over at park benches.
With thanks to the huge leap forward in technology, we now live in a world with an abundance of easily accessible information.
Every day, hundreds of millions of photos, comments, articles, videos, and documents are published online. The challenge for governments, therefore, is how to harness the information and insights within these data sets.
When the effort is made to crunch through this stream of information, it’s proven to be key for winning battles. Ukraine’s defence against Russia is perhaps the best modern example of this.
While the Russian armed forces are unquestionably larger, by matching intelligence to public information from satellites, drones, and directly from citizens on the ground, Ukraine’s forces have been able to defend themselves extremely effectively and with precision.
With 127 new devices being connected to the internet every second, it’s clear new methods of sourcing military intelligence are increasingly available. For governments around the world, this means focusing their investment on ways in which to make sense of the data available to them, in a timely and effective manner.
This paper by Paul Rimmer, From Information to Insight, highlights ways militaries can seize on this opportunity. It outlines how the defence industry has grown its capability alongside the private sector to develop new ways to distil intelligence, and how governments could move forward, alongside ongoing Whitehall reviews, to stay ahead of the pack on the huge information shift.
While some nations may continue to rely solely on old-school techniques for intelligence gathering, Rimmer’s paper clearly reinforces that governments could gain a huge military advantage by utilising what’s already available. It is this “fusion” into actionable, insightful intelligence that is key to the future conduct of operations. And in our increasingly connected world, that snippet might come from a camera-enabled doorbell, mobile phone or a satellite.