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June 9, 2020

U.S. Special Ops Launches $600M Analytics Effort

George Leopold

via Shutterstock

U.S. Special Operations Command plans to field a “global analytics platform” that would add data science and machine learning tools to intelligence analysts’ workflow while running on upgraded micro-services infrastructure.

Special Ops Command released a contract notice on June 5 seeking suppliers for the analytics platform. According to the notice, the analytics contract could be worth as much as $600 million over the next decade.

The analytics platform would provide “search, discovery and collaborative analysis of large volumes of data within a suite of secure web-based applications,” the notice said. Other features sought by the command include analytics, collaboration and visualization services along with persistent query and alerting services.

The analytics platform would be built on micro-services and application container infrastructure that “enable security, authentication, access control, collaboration, customization, and data flow in an elastic and scalable manner,” the command said.

The U.S. military has long sought “all-source” analysis tools that would deliver real-time intelligence. Previous attempts at developing sensor fusion and related tactical intelligence efforts mostly languished. The Special Ops analytics initiative illustrates how the U.S. military is embracing commercial technologies as it seeks to expand its ability to process and analyze huge amounts of sensor data.

Among the capabilities sought in the Special Ops command solicitation is the ability to crunch large sets of structured and unstructured data. The notice instructs potential bidders to list experience with large data volumes, and whether they have experience handling classified data running on platforms like Amazon’s Commercial Cloud Services.

AWS (NASDAQ: AMZN). provides cloud services to U.S. intelligence agencies.

The output from the new analytics platform would be operational intelligence for what Special Ops command calls its F3EA cycle, as in “find, fix, finish, exploit and analyze.”

U.S. Special Ops Command is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. Among the potential users of the new global analytics platform is the National Geospatial Agency at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Companies expected to bid on the Special Ops analytics contract include Palantir Technologies, which already provides data mining technologies to several U.S. military branches, including U.S. Special Operations Command. The big data and analytics vendor recently won a $10 million contract to provide data integration tools for the new U.S. Space Force.

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