The ability for government agencies to prevent and protect against weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is hindered by many factors. From the impact of legacy systems to a lack of common data architecture the agencies responsible for protecting the United States from WMDs and their private sector partners have their work cut out for them.
At the recent FCW conference, Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Digital Age, experts from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) amongst others, and industry-leading partner, Noblis, discussed the challenges presented by WMD and explored the possibilities of countering the threats they present to international peace and security. The panelists agreed that creating a map to understanding and protecting against WMDs of tomorrow will require creating better data sharing, updating systems to create a common data architecture, and policy direction.
As Amanda Richardson, chief of operations for DTRA’s Research and Development Directorate, shared: “We’ve got legacy systems that have decades of data available to us, but how we layer that with current data also builds on a need for better data curation because they don’t have a common data architecture. So, I have data … you have data, we all have data, but getting it into a form that we can use in a single tool is a pipe dream at this point.”
However, this should change soon, with the Pentagon’s focus on data portability and interoperability to put the massive stores of data to which they have access to work. Their efforts are supported at the highest levels as demonstrated by the passage of 2020 National Defense Authorization Act in December to further these efforts by directing DOD’s CIO to make mission data more accessible and increasing data sharing for cybersecurity across the enterprise, according to a recent story in FCW.
Once agencies, such as DTRA, create a common data architecture to make ingesting these streams of data more easily accessible, agencies can begin to not only better understand what is happening and respond to it appropriately, but also can begin to overlay newer technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) to help with analytics and decision-making.
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