Tampa, Florida, Aug. 20, 2019 — Standing before an audience of more than 2,200 attendees, Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Information Officer Jack Gumtow opened the Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems Worldwide Conference with a message about modernization and what it means for the intelligence sector.
He explained that in today’s international security environment, the government and intelligence agencies need to be prepared to adapt by identifying key strengths and having a realistic mindset on areas where partnerships with industry can increase resiliency, redundancy and security - the theme of this year’s conference.
“To achieve our goals, we need your help,” Gumtow said. “I need proactive collaboration with our partners. This is a journey, we are moving forward. I need you as my partners, to help me and our collective community to achieve strategic success.”
Following Gumtow, DIA Director Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr. reiterated the importance of partnerships and the significance of having allies at the table as systems are being modernized and infrastructure is being built.
“It should not take a war to share this kind of information,” said Ashley. “It’s not about shortening a conflict; it is about preventing a conflict.”
Ashley went on to speak about the significance data now plays in everyday life, highlighting that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every single day and the data market is projected to reach $11.52 billion by 2022.
Ashley explained how as data grows, so too does the necessity to process and analyze the growing amount of information in the public domain. This is where open source intelligence and the Machine-assisted Analytic Rapid-repository System play a significant role in the future of intelligence.
“MARS is our shot,” said Ashley. “That flagship capability, speed and scale allows analysts to think and process the information and gives more time to solve problems.”
While serving as an enabling technology, Ashley made a point to say that MARS does not take the individual out of the decision-making loop. Assessments still need to be explained and put into the larger context for policymakers and warfighters to act upon.
Ashley and Gumtow closed the opening plenary with a call to action, highlighting that while there are inherent risks with the increased volume of information, there is also increased access to truth.
“There are a lot of problems with data, but with all of it comes an overabundance of truth,” Ashley added.