Joint Vision 2020 highlights that achievement of ‘full spectrum dominance rests upon information superiority’ and that
information capabilities are changing rapidly. Similarly the Eight Great Technologies and McKinsey Global Institute
have highlighted the criticality of ‘Big Data’ technologies.
But most ‘Big Data’ technologies are predicated on the availability of high quality/bandwidth distributed information
Infrastructure and service rich systems, and much of the technology is designed for use by highly trained data scientists.
In deployed military operations the context is radically different; many analysts are generalists as opposed to highly
trained data scientists, and the information infrastructure is frequently significantly smaller, sparse and brittle but
nevertheless complex. Further operations are highly dynamic, temporally challenging, and in an unfamiliar sociocultural
environment. As Joint Vision 2020 states ‘the need to shape ambiguous situations at the low end of the range of
operations will present special challenges’.
This paper outlines the S&T challenges associated with adapting ‘Big Data’ technologies to build a distributed analytic
capability for the deployed operations. In particular we will discuss issues associated with:
a) The adoption of data analytic platforms and the need for adaption to a distributed coalition
environment and tactical information infrastructures;
b) The Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity, Viscosity and Value of information and information
processing, storage and distribution capabilities;
c) The nature of the situations to be understood and the resulting impact on abstract representations and
synergistic human-machine teams;
d) The role of the human in collaboratively extracting understanding from information and directing the