Fielding New Intel System in Afghanistan

Marauder06

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http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/07/darpas-secret-spy-machine/

A very lengthy but interesting read. I've never heard of "Nexus 7," but the positive and negative reactions to it remind me of other programs, systems, and equipment that has been fielded to support intel ops over the years.

The Pentagon’s top researchers have rushed a classified and controversial intelligence program into Afghanistan. Known as “Nexus 7,” and previously undisclosed as a war-zone surveillance effort, it ties together everything from spy radars to fruit prices in order to glean clues about Afghan instability.
The program has been pushed hard by the leadership of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. They see Nexus 7 as both a breakthrough data-analysis tool and an opportunity to move beyond its traditional, long-range research role and into a more active wartime mission.
But those efforts are drawing fire from some frontline intel operators who see Nexus 7 as little more than a glorified grad-school project, wasting tens of millions on duplicative technology that has nothing to do with stopping the Taliban.
“There are no models and there are no algorithms,” says one person familiar with the program, echoing numerous others who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the program publicly. Just “200 lines of buggy Python code to do what imagery analysts do every day.”
I did think this was interesting, though:
“Let’s take that God’s-eye view,” says one person familiar with the program. “Instead of tracking a car, why not track all cars?

Umm.... maybe because I don't care about "all" the cars? :-| And maybe because all of that "information" is going to overwhelm my ability to draw "intelligence" from it? :thumbsdown:
 

littleninja71

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Not a very warm review of Nexus 7. Fruit prices correlate with stability in a region? If only it were that simple. Good read, thanks for sharing this one Marauder.
 

Pravada

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Umm.... maybe because I don't care about "all" the cars? :-| And maybe because all of that "information" is going to overwhelm my ability to draw "intelligence" from it? :thumbsdown:

We have the same problem over here right now while working S2 at the BN level. Everyone wants to pass intel, yet most the time the report does not contain the simplest form of the 5Ws. Even better is when a report comes in concerning a BOLO and the description of the vic is a Toyota Corolla... You know how many of those are in Afgahnistan. This also reminds me of the biometrics system used in country. They want everyone and their mother entered, but when you give us a system that takes 15-minutes to complete one person, how can you expect the results you want. The intel scene for the conventional Army has become way out of hand down range, sick and tired of being in a reactive Army.
 

DA SWO

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We are enamered with technology. The fag-bags who are afraid to leave the lab are convinced they can come up with a Star Trek system that will alleviate the need for outside the wire analysts.

Weather has it's share, as does the log community.

Technology can help, or kill you.
 

RetPara

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In your worst nightmare.....
Major hack job on the DARPA Dir. I could find someone, somewhere that probably similar comments about other systems.... like the M-1 Abrams, Thompson Sub Machine Gun, .50 cal Browning Heavy Machine Gun.

As for NEXUS itself. I think thingss have progressed a little past the days when we took Apple IIe's wrapped in plastic to field to run spreadsheets and 1st generation data bases.....

Nexus sounds more along the lines of a strategic system that sucks everything to make the sausage. It'll probably support the CINC and State Department.... but doubtful it will do a whole lot of the trooper with 120lbs of shit on trying to haul ass up a X degree slope.

The intell battle has changed over the last ten years. I have seen more and more police anti-gang techniques brought into play as time has. This is not a bad idea, but the TPP's required are hard for the military to adapt to. For one thing they're manpower and labor intensive. NEXUS could automate some of this, but it's still dependent on input.

Now I have to go download the whole damn paper Gen Flynn wrote... http://www.cnas.org/node/3924

I don't know if it was him, his dad, or his grandfather that I remember from Bragg.....
 

Pravada

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I have been working at a BN S2 level for this entire deployment without many chances to leave the wire, minus a few operations. I absoluetly despise the fact that my intel capabilities are restricted by imagery products, reports from other intel agencies, and the minimal intel gained from patrol debriefs. I am required to complete MDMP/IPB products with my shop, yet our entire shop has only intel gained from reports, none of us have been able to get outside of the FOB and gain intel from an intel perspective.

I believe this operational disconnect through the intel world is crucially based on the significant amount of resources available to an analyst working a BN S2, yet I have not received training on most of these assets, and even then, I can only get a limited, 2nd/3rd person perspective of the battlefield; and this is usually from another analyst that is a civilian or based in the states with little regard to the troops on ground.
 

SpitfireV

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Our guys used Nexus. Mostly for data mining the internal database(s) though. I think they hooked it up to i2 as well. It seems to work quite well for their applications.
 

Pravada

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Our guys used Nexus. Mostly for data mining the internal database(s) though. I think they hooked it up to i2 as well. It seems to work quite well for their applications.
I am sure it works well with the proper training applied, but how many intel shops, or for that matter field artilleryBNs, are going to allow their analyst's to attend the class for this. At a BN level there is rarely a chance that the COC will send an analyst to school over one of the BNs main personnel; FA, IN, etc.

While also working at a BN level the analyst is typically tasked with tracking the battle and controlling ISR assets, rarely is time alloted for myself or my counterparts to work on products that would actually apply crucial intel to the troops on ground. I WISH I had the time to use my assets to the fullest capability so that the intel I brief could be used to effect the battlefield, yet it does not... I see the way the SOF intel community works over here, using EVERY possible asset to it's fullest capability, and it gives me a hard on! Their effectiveness is extraordinary; that is what I want to be able to do, but you are punished for applying your analytical skills to the fullest in the conventional Army. :mad:
 

SpitfireV

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I am sure it works well with the proper training applied, but how many intel shops, or for that matter field artilleryBNs, are going to allow their analyst's to attend the class for this. At a BN level there is rarely a chance that the COC will send an analyst to school over one of the BNs main personnel; FA, IN, etc.

While also working at a BN level the analyst is typically tasked with tracking the battle and controlling ISR assets, rarely is time alloted for myself or my counterparts to work on products that would actually apply crucial intel to the troops on ground. I WISH I had the time to use my assets to the fullest capability so that the intel I brief could be used to effect the battlefield, yet it does not... I see the way the SOF intel community works over here, using EVERY possible asset to it's fullest capability, and it gives me a hard on! Their effectiveness is extraordinary; that is what I want to be able to do, but you are punished for applying your analytical skills to the fullest in the conventional Army. :mad:

To be honest mate I have no idea about any of what you say. My post was in an LE context- sorry about that I'd forgotten you're new. :)
 

RetPara

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Pravada, not only do I feel your, BTDT as the lone Intell MOS NCO in the 1/505. Do you have a MI officer as the Battalion S-2 or is it a FA? More than likely your Bn Schools NCO has absolutely no clue what schools may be available to you. This is where networking comes into play. You need to be talking with your Brigade S-2 NCO, his senior analsyst, and the 1SG for the Bde MI Company or Detachment. If you have your shit together you may be able to strap hang on some of their internal training, let them use you for some of the junior MI folks to train, and find out schools that you need to attend. A lot of the MI related training and schools have their MI funding so your not sucking away training money from your Battalions budget.

When your in the lone wolf business you have to start subtle. You need to infiltrate the "3" shop, note I said infiltrate, not be assimilated into the "3" collective. One of the Asst 3's or 3 NCO's will be open to tactful suggestions and your ideas. Pick the times you can make a quiet contribution. Be part of the team and then you build your own reputation, and your intell calls will carry more weight. This is not something your do over night.
 

Marauder06

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I am sure it works well with the proper training applied, but how many intel shops, or for that matter field artilleryBNs, are going to allow their analyst's to attend the class for this. At a BN level there is rarely a chance that the COC will send an analyst to school over one of the BNs main personnel; FA, IN, etc.

Give it a shot, you never know. I found that if you can tie it directly to a benefit to the unit (which is the main reason you should be trying to attend training in the first place), your chances of success are much greater. What are your commander's PIRs? (don't tell us what they are, just think about them for a second) Can you directly tie training you want to attend to those PIRs? If so, include that in your pitch the next time you want to attend a course or program. It's hard to argue when the training is directly applicable to something the commander thinks is important.

Sometimes, though, you just have a chain of command or you're in a unit that's not going to support "soft skill" training. I was in a training meeting in a SOF unit earlier in my career when the S2 briefed that two of his Soldiers were doing Pathfinder training. One of the non-intel types present chose to make a big deal out of wondering out loud why "support guys" were in Pathfinder. I got the sense that his concern was not because it was costing ops guys slots, but because he didn't want "support guys" going. :-| I hope he felt like a complete asshole when the S2 explained that this was "Pathfinder database" training, not "Pathfinder School." :rolleyes:

While also working at a BN level the analyst is typically tasked with tracking the battle and controlling ISR assets, rarely is time alloted for myself or my counterparts to work on products that would actually apply crucial intel to the troops on ground. I WISH I had the time to use my assets to the fullest capability so that the intel I brief could be used to effect the battlefield, yet it does not... I see the way the SOF intel community works over here, using EVERY possible asset to it's fullest capability, and it gives me a hard on! Their effectiveness is extraordinary; that is what I want to be able to do, but you are punished for applying your analytical skills to the fullest in the conventional Army. :mad:

So what's keeping you from applying for a SOF unit? I'll caution you that depending on what SOF unit you end up in, the grass isn't always greener. Nonetheless, having served in intelligence capacities in both conventional and SOF, SOF was usually "better." YMMV.
 

Brill

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Pravda,

Stop bitching about your perception of the problem and figure out a damn solution. Are you telling your superiors what they want to know or WHAT THEY NEED? You don't have to be in charge to be a leader and be professional. Affect what you can and PT the frustrations away when you cannot. Take heed of what Para wrote "If you have your shit together you may be able to strap hang..."

If you do go SOF, WTF do you think you'll be doing as a 35F? Our all-source guys do the same shit as you: inside the FOB.

Just my .02 cents.
 
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