Big Data Enables
An enterprising view of homeland security data is sure to come in the future. One of the biggest hurdles? Even within individual agencies involved in homeland security and law enforcement, big data resides in separate systems designed for specific mission goals. Getting an agency-wide view of the data is the first step towards broader homeland security enterprise integration.
The term ‘Big Data’ is used frequently in current technology discussions as a way of dealing with ever-increasing massive data stores, including complex unstructured data, and real-time data feeds. Big Data technology is used for sprawling website statistics, scientific data processing, and it is increasingly being used to address mission challenges in the Federal Government. Like many other Federal agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) collects vast amounts of information as it carries out its missions, and those data stores are growing rapidly. In the past year, we have seen multiple Big Data projects start up to deal with these mission opportunities. Without the proper tools, skills, or enterprise coordination, these projects can be high risk. They may meet one specific component need, but not advance the enterprise view.
DHS and its components can use Big Data to address a variety of ‘new’ and evolving mission challenges:
- Analyze cyber security incident reports
- Identify trends in the global movement of high risk travelers and visitors crossing borders
- Identify and combat human trafficking
In some areas, DHS has made significant progress in using these leading tools and techniques to make a mission impact, but challenges lie ahead. Big Data comes with its own set of technological and organizational challenges. Successful Big Data projects require practitioners who understand the constraints of the DHS environment, such as security, privacy, and civil liberties, and how to implement technology within that environment.
With technology standards constantly changing, DHS needs expert guidance on how to future proof today’s investments to make a lasting change. Technology efforts must be obsessively focused on mission operators, giving them capabilities that are easy to learn and use.
Big Data technology is the future for homeland security. We are on the first step of an organizational learning curve that the government and industry are beginning to climb together.