Using SIGINT to detect trends

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What: A request from the intelligence community's research arm for ideas about how to use signals intelligence (SIGINT) data to help manage dire international situations.

Why: The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) wants to step beyond using publicly available information such as news reports and everyday communications to help deal with foreign political crises and disease outbreaks. IARPA wants to analyze a world of more subtle information generated through SIGINT.

IARPA is holding a Proposers' Day Conference for what it is calling its Mercury Program on March 5 in Washington, D.C., with an eye to releasing a solicitation. The meeting will provide introductory information to what the agency hopes will be multidisciplinary teams of social scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, content extraction experts, information theorists and subject matter experts with applied experience in SIGINT.

Signals intelligence covers a range of electronic sources, radar signatures, weapons systems and other electronic signals.

"Past research has found that publicly available data can be used to accurately forecast events such as political crises and disease outbreaks," said IARPA. "However, in many cases, relevant data are not available, have significant lag times, or lack accuracy. Little research has examined whether data from foreign signals intelligence can be used to improve forecasting accuracy in these cases."

IARPA wants to develop methods to continuously and automatically analyze SIGINT to anticipate and/or detect political crises, disease outbreaks, terrorist activity and military actions. Successful proposers will combine cutting-edge research with the ability to develop robust forecasting capabilities from SIGINT data, said IARPA.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Feb 10, 2015 at 9:44 AM


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