For all the progress made advancing integrated intelligence with data from the days of Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Dawn Meyerriecks says the intelligence community must embrace analytics and mission-focused technology to stay on an innovative track.
She made the declarations during a keynote at a conference incorporating key players in cybersecurity, cloud computing and mobile government in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. She also said the US government has to reach outside its borders for most of the necessary talent.
“We are walking the talk. We do most of our work unclassified. We have dirty data and make that available,” Meyerriecks said. “This is our decade for analytics. We spend too much time gathering data and very little on analytics.”
She also pointed out the challenge presented by the “democratization of technology,” offering examples such as diydrones.com and Facebook (photo above of slide presentation), and the growing threat vectors, global consumer internet traffic and file sharing the government must keep up with as part of intelligence efforts.
“We in the intelligence community, no matter how smart we think we are, are not going to out-innovate other populations,” she said. “We are literally going to be outmanned and outgunned. China is graduating far more engineers and a greater rate than we are.”
She later added: “The intelligence community is the commercial competitive arm for the US government. Although we need to keep secrets, we don’t need to be mysterious … in terms of figuring out this integrated intelligence thing.”
Meyerriecks encouraged peers to concentrate on technological developments and innovation “at the mission level” and venture to understand technology cycles and investments based on growth trends such as video.
Statistics suggest big benefits in leveraging video capability in the intelligence community, she said. Meanwhile, they also need to figure out how to preserve anonymity “if everybody’s got a Facebook account.”
She said it’s no longer reasonable — or in some case possible — to expect the workforce to delete social media accounts at a time when new, young federal workers “have 10 years of history on social media.”
“We can’t ignore this,” Meyerriecks said.