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GCN : June 2014
[BrieFing] The U.S. Navy needs to adopt a cloud system to keep pace with the deluge of intelligence, surveillance and recon- naissance data being generated by unmanned vehicles and needed for situ- ational awareness and other mission- critical tasks, said researchers in a new RAND report. "We're only now at the point where we're starting to put up new UAVs with incredible sensors, so the problem is only going to get worse," said Isaac R. Porche III, a senior researcher with RAND and co-author of the report. Porche said the Navy had argued for more manpower to deal with the growing volumes of data, but budget- ary pressures forced it to seek other options to improve ef ciency. RAND, which was hired to do a quantitative assessment, looked at the imagery, video and audio that the Navy was collecting from unmanned aerial vehicles, studying how long it took for its analysts to process data from sev- eral siloed databases using different desktop applications. The report, titled, "Data Flood: Help- ing the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information," concluded that the Navy may reach a tipping point as early as 2016 when "analysts are no longer able to complete a minimum number of exploitation tasks within given time constraints." In other words, analysts will be much less effective than they are now in nding value in the exponentially increasing data if the Navy doesn't change the way it collects, processes, uses and distributes that data. The Navy collects the equivalent of what's stored in the Library of Con- gress --- about 200 terabytes --- every other day, Porche said. Even so, the Navy doesn't even save a lot of the data because it doesn't have a good way to organize it properly, he added. RAND recommended that the Navy adopt a distributed cloud approach similar to what the intelligence commu- nity and major corporations like Google are doing --- keeping data in different locations and tagging it so it can be searched and accessed easily. According to the report, this cloud architecture "enables development of Web services and widgets that bridge identi ed gaps" and provides the high- est level of interoperability compared with the other options. With this option, analysts wouldn't be wasting bandwidth because they're not downloading raw data that may not be useful to them, Porche said. Rather, they would be looking at metadata stored in a virtual data analytic cloud. "We de nitely saw that if you go to this very intelligent metadata, tagging- type approach you can handle a whole lot more data than manual efforts today," he said. Porche said the Navy and other ser- vices could design tools and systems to work with the National Security Agency's distributed cloud, using it as a sort of Google for analysis and allowing them to more easily share intelligence. From the intelligence community's perspective, Porche said a distributed cloud approach isn't necessarily cut- ting edge in terms of technology, but "what's revolutionary is that now you're changing the way you're going to view data, moving away from these stove- pipes." However, one challenge will be integrating legacy data and systems, he said. It's a bump they'll have to go over, he added. • BY DIBYA SARKAR 6 GCN JUNE 2014 • GCN.COM Navy must net rising tide of sensor data Members of a Navy unmanned underwater vehicle detachment guideaUUVasitis lowered into the water off the coast of Bahrain. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT