GEOINT Offers Thread for DIA Culture Change

Seeking interactivity, the agency moves to update ISR processes


The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has a three-pronged process for producing intelligence: data collection, analysis, and production of a map or chart for conveyance. Three stovepipes Terry Busch hopes to better merge and modernize.

“One of the things we wanted to do was not look at the technology gap, not look at the Big Data and say ‘What are we going to pick and choose from the bin?’ But identify our own business process first,” said Busch, chief of DIA’s integration and analysis division.

“It’s probably the first time we’ve ever taken that approach, and I think it’s really going to pay off,” Busch added during his speech Tuesday at the GEOINT 2015 Government Pavilion Stage in the exhibit hall.

The aim of DIA’s Foundational Intelligence Modernization Cycle is to intertwine intelligence cycles to better apply analytic skill.

“The issue here is the same problem we’ve always had,” Busch said. “Our analysts are spending far too much time in data development and not enough time in analysis. We have to let our surgeons be surgeons.”

He described the agency intelligence process beginning with data, then analysis, followed by production, but said, “There’s no interactivity between these loops. We want to create the ability to tie all of this together.”

With the advent of Big Data, DIA is taking stock of its culture.

“When we look at the Big Data load, we see location-based services exploding,” Busch said. “One service has a million places a day. Another service has a trillion data points. The data is there.”

It’s far too much data to present to an analyst in a lump, so automation is increasingly necessary. But automation can be a tough sell until the buyer looks at results. Organized data is easier to analyze, allowing better use of analysts’ time.

“This is the hardest cultural change: getting the man out of the loop,” Busch said. “Analysts want to keep control.”

Busch hopes analysts will soon understand the value of automation, such as the “off the charts” accuracy.

Automation also allows analysts to demand more data as needed—a step toward the interactivity DIA seeks.

Busch also seeks a culture shift in the production cycle.

“We’ve got to leave PDFs, Power Points, and the static product behind,” he said. “I envision a world where there’s a collaborative environment, because I want our customers interacting with the data.”

Throughout the process, the underlying thread is geospatial intelligence.

“The power of GEOINT, to us, is it’s the best organizing principle for data that we’ve ever seen,” Busch said. “To us, if the data is geospatially enabled, we can automatically lay hands on it.”

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