In 2012, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) approached the National Research Council’s TIGER standing committee and asked it to develop a list of workshop topics to explore the impact of emerging science and technology. From the list of topics given to DIA, three were chosen to be developed by the Committee for Science and Technology Challenges to U.S. National Security Interests. The first in a series of three workshops was held on April 23-24, 2012. This report summarizes that first workshop, which explored the phenomenon known as big data.
The objective for the first workshop is given in the statement of task (see Box 1-1), which states, “The workshop will review emerging capabilities in large computational data to include speed, data fusion, use, and commodification of data used in decision making. The workshop will also review the subsequent increase in vulnerabilities over the capabilities gained and the significance to national security.”
The committee devised an agenda that helped the committee, sponsors, and workshop attendees probe issues of national security related to so-called big data as well as gain understanding of potential related vulnerabilities. The workshop (see the agenda in Appendix B) was used to gather data that is described in this report, which presents views expressed by individual workshop participants. Although the committee is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of the report as a record of what transpired at the workshop, the views presented are not necessarily those of all the workshop participants, the committee, or the National Research Council. This workshop report was not intended to provide a comprehensive review of the state of big data.
Chapter 2 of this report summarizes presentations made and discussions held on the first day of the workshop, April 23, 2012. Chapter 3 chronicles the presentations and discussions from the second day of the workshop, April 24, 2012. The three appendixes contain, in order, the biographies of the committee members, the workshop agenda and lists of attendees, and the biographies of the presenters.
Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct three workshops on the science and technology (S&T) fields noted below that have potential impact on U.S. national security.
• Big Data—The workshop will review emerging capabilities in large computational data to include speed, data fusion, use, and commodification of data used in decision making. The workshop will also review the subsequent increase in vulnerabilities over the capabilities gained and the significance to national security.
• Future of Antennas—The workshop will review trends in advanced antenna research and design. The workshop will also review trends in commercial and military use of advanced antennas that enable improved communication, data transfer, soldier health monitoring, and other overt and covert methods of standoff data collection.
• Future Battlespace Situational Awareness—The workshop will review the technologies that enable battlespace situational awareness 10-20 years into the future for both red and blue forces. The workshop will emphasize the capabilities within air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.
The committee will design the workshops to address U.S. and foreign research, why S&T applications of technologies in development are important in the context of military capabilities, and what critical scientific breakthroughs are needed to achieve advances in the fields of interest—focusing detailed attention on specific developments in the foregoing fields that might have national security implications for the United States. The workshops will each also consider methodology to track the relevant technology landscape for the future.
Each of the three workshops will feature invited presentations and panelists and include discussions on a selected topic including themes relating to defense warning and surprise. The committee will plan the agenda for the workshops, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Each event will result in a workshop summary that will be subject to appropriate institutional review prior to release.