Home Big Data: Applicability in the Defense Forces | Seminar

Big Data: Applicability in the Defense Forces

February 18, 2015
By Centre for Land Warfare Studies

The inaugural seminar on big data for defence and security forces “Big Data-Applicability in the Defence Forces” was held at Manekshaw Centre on 18 Feb 15. Supported by Microsoft, CISCO and ORACLE, the event saw a day full of engrossing debate, capturing the perspectives of experts from the user community, industry, academia and the Ministries. The participants were from the Three Services, Strategic Community, Veterans, Media, Industry, Ministries of Defence, Home, Science and Technology, Consultants, R&D Organisations and ICT academia

The key conclusions from the discussion:

“Make in India” Initiatives

  • Creation of a Centre of Excellance with a Chair for taking ahead the Big Data initiative started by CLAWS for the Defence Forces. Details to be worked out in consultation with DST. 

  • Integration and analysis of unstructured data from multiple sources is still a challenge and Defence Forces should engage with the industry, think tank and academia at the earliest to resolve this issue. 

  • Analytics know how must be indigenous. Partnership between R&D, think tanks, academic organisations and user agency can generate analytics know how. Industry can partner as a translation agency. 

Sector Identification for Implementation of Big Data Applications in Defence Forces

  • Intelligence and Surveillance. Seamless Integration of Strategic Intelligence with Operational and Tactical Intelligence across Defence Services and other Agencies can be made feasible using Big Data analytics. Areas of Signal Intelligence, Cyber Intelligence and intelligence from Social Media platforms can be integrated with operational and tactical platforms/sensors thus providing actionable intelligence to troops on ground and value inputs to decision makers to timely deploy resources and take corrective actions. 

  • Border, Maritime and Space Management. Better management of Land Borders, Maritime Security and Space Vigilance can be achieved by having Terrain/Traffic/Asset Analytical Layer on Digital/Raster Maps. It will act as a useful tool in formulating plans and promote better inter services and inert-ministry coordination. 

  • Operational Planning. For conventional and sub-conventional conflicts the tools available for Border, Maritime and Space Management can be dove tailed into operational planning matrix to enable better decision support tools to the planners as visualisation platforms with real/ near real time situational/ operational picture. 

  • Logistics Management. It will revolutionise the Supply Chain Management system by creating diagnostic tools for Fleet / Equipment Management, Ammunition Management (manufacturing – storage – replenishment), inventory visibility of material, supplies and FOL by appling analytics on the ERP outputs. Big data analytic tools will help in Health Care management for both serving and retired soldiers. 

  • Fiscal and Financial Management. Creating compatible management solutions linked with procurement, acquisition and financial allocation will help in better analysis and fiscal and financial prudence across all departments and ministry by use of forecast and simulation tools of big data analytics. 

  • Disaster Management. Big Data Applications for Disaster Management will enable predictive modelling and preventive prescription. Post disaster, damage assessment in scale and financial terms, and rescue cum movement of relief can be analysed from big data based. 

  • Future Technologies. Future of cyber and unmanned system will put data strain on the existing system, hence data analytic tools need to be based on future technologies for better absorption in the defence forces.
  • Cognative Analytics. Cognitive analytics with behaviour prediction will be a essential tool required by the Defence Forces for higher level decision makers. 

  • Analysis of Archival Data. Historical data can give insights into the future hence analytics should be applied into the huge archive with the defence forces . 

Skill Set Development

  • This being new science there is a need for skill mapping and capability development within defence forces through systematic training curricula.
  • The training institutes of the Defence Forces should introduce data analytics curriculm like Analytically Enabled Combat Management Systems Course which will have modules like Cross Warfare Optimisation, Improving Situational Awareness with Big Data Applications and Prediction & Forecasting. 

  • Training on Big Data Analytics to be started from this training cycle in an incremental fashion.

Big Data Analytics Awareness & Exploitation

  • For the uniformed personnel Big Data Analytics is a relatively new technology, earliest exposure would be advantageous. 

  • We should learn from our past experience of projects, which were implemented but did not meet the user aspirations, these should be factored in when formulating the Big Data initiatives for the Defence Forces 

  • Big Data visualisation tools for better asset visibility for future wars 

Future focus will be on insights and not on information. While developing Big Data Analytics following issues are important:

  • Operational Efficiency and Performance Monitoring. Work parameters and evaluation standards can be created by using Data Science to access operational efficiency and help in improving performance.
  • Ease of Access. Big Data Applications to be available to users as a service over captive cloud of Defence Forces.
  • Security Protocols. Big Data Applications which can raise flags in the system even if there is small departure from the given patterns.

First Mover Advantage

  • Our adversaries are also advancing in this field and we need to respond to that
  • Big Data Road Map to gain the First Mover Advantage.

Security and Ethics

  • Urgency for implementing Big Data Analytics should not lead to compromise of data security 

  • Caution against use of Big Data Analytics without defining ethics. 

  • Few challenges that need to be addressed in the Data Eco System Research identified as Privacy, Ethical Aspects, Technical, Risk, Thrust and Valuation. 

The complete report is attached below.

Ashoka Hall, Manekshaw Centre
Big Data: Applicability in the Defense Forces -
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