SOFIC NEWS: Data Management Suite Tackles Cross-Domain Information Sharing Problems

By Mikayla Easley

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TAMPA, Florida — The proliferation of technology across the Defense Department is collecting and generating volumes of data faster than current systems can analyze and process, and one company says it has developed a new suite of data platforms that could revolutionize how special operators access, manage and analyze critical information needed to make high-level decisions.

Science Applications International Corps recently demonstrated the Koverse Data Platform, a data management system, alongside the company’s artificial intelligence environment called Tenjin at the Special Operation Forces Industry Conference in Tampa. Together, the programs leverage AI to give users individualized access to information in a dataset based on their security clearance and present it in an easy-to-navigate way, said Jason Meil, the director of data science and artificial intelligence at SAIC.

“The key component here is the ability to rapidly communicate between different [government] agencies, between enclaves, between different networks, and between different levels of classification,” he said. “It’s really trying to bring that idea of a common operating picture.”

In particular, data scientists and analysts working with Special Operations Forces could use the suite to sift through massive amounts of information and find the information relevant to leaders and decision makers, he said.

In recent months, the Defense Department has emphasized its need to catch up with industry and capitalize on the capabilities data management offers. To double down on the effort, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks signed a memorandum in 2021 that called on the department to become a data-centric organization with the goal of “improving warfighting performance and creating decision advantage at all echelons from the battlespace to the board room."

Currently, decision makers and data analysts aren’t able to access entire datasets if they contain classified information that is above their security clearance, even if they do have permission to access what they’re looking for, said Victor Schramm, an account manager with Koverse. The system is called role-based access control, he explained.

“Traditional role-based access control by itself would just say, ‘you either have access to a dataset or you do not,’” Schramm said. “Role-based access control only gets you so far, because every column and every row and every single cell might have mixed sensitivities in the data.”

The Koverse Data Platform solves this problem by instead using attribute-based access control, which labels each unit of data based on security classification rather than the whole dataset, he explained. As a result, users gain access to the information they need to make decisions, all while higher-classified information is redacted and kept protected.

That information can then be presented on a computer with the Tenjin AI development environment, a program that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to turn the data into analytics and information decision makers need during missions, Meil said.

The combined data suite’s ability to consume large amounts of data and disseminate it between different government agencies, enclaves and networks — all with varying access to classified information — is a key component for special operators who need to make quick decisions during missions, Meil said.

“In a slow fight, taking an hour to [make a decision] from sensor to shooter is okay,” he said. “But in a fast fight against near-peer competitors, that has to be collapsed to probably less than a tenth that time, because things are going to be happening quickly and all over the place.”

Meil said there has been interest from the Defense Department — including Special Operations Command — in the capabilities both Tenjin and the Koverse Data Platform provide, especially the ability to physically collect and modularly separate the data. He said they’ve discussed specific use cases for the suite with the department, such as sharing information across domains that can be used during tactical operations.


Topics: Special Operations

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