This is How Data Analysis Can Power the Military Arsenal

“Data really powers everything we do”, Jeff Weiner.

More than 90% of all the data present today was generated in just last 2 to 3 years. With terabytes of data flowing in and out, Data Analysis is used by everyone- from the IT sector to healthcare and data analytics. It is making its way into the military as well.

The armed forces are actively investing in Integrated Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) capabilities.

“We have more than 20 terabytes of data on border movement which earlier used to be recorded in physical log books of soldiers”. says 26-year old Tushar Chhabra, co-founder of Gurgaon-based driverless truck company Cron systems, which helps the military in predicting border infiltration patterns.

Thanks to precise analysis, the Indian forces patrolling the borders know when and where the next infiltration is likely to occur.

With such colossal amount of data, data analysis provides two-fold advantages– to deal with data in a quantified manner and to derive useful insights from the data– understanding patterns, establishing insights, data visualization, and sketching assessments.

Data is the most integral piece of the puzzle when it comes to secret army operations, air force raids, and encounters (similar to the one on Osama Bin Laden by the United States). The success of such lucrative missions depends on the correctness of the data.

This being said, the data collection, evaluating the data and further implementation is of utmost importance to the army. With the advancement in technology, the military is being pushed to adapt to these new technologies, including big data and text analytics. The acquisition of US-based Big Data analytics firm Guavus by French major Thales speaks for itself.

“Standalone computers and devices can be injected with viruses, while drones and aircraft can cripple a nation’s cyber capability. Information and intelligence for the military are fundamental to the planning of any military operation. It forms the core component of the military kill chain.” -Rear Admiral S Kulshrestha, Senior Fellow of New Westminster College, Canada.

Globally, the defense analytics market attracts a whopping $2 billion every year. While the US Department of Defense has already invested $1.6 billion in areas like cyber-defense analytics, it is still in its nascent stage in India. Having said that, with over 200 plus data analytics firms like Mu Sigma, Manthan, Fractal Analytics, Cartesian Consulting, data analysis is undoubtedly under focus.

The conventional algorithms are proving to be ineffective to deal with the humongous amount of data and to tackle this, flexible AI systems and statistical methods are being looked up to.

“Battles in the future, large or small, may be decided by smart machines that learn, decide and act in real time, and augmented military systems that extend the human perceptive, physical and cognitive abilities,”Atul Jalan, CEO, Manthan, a Big Data analytics firm which works for the military.

The military can reach its modernization goals by implementing sophisticated AI and Big Data-enabled algorithms for providing more profound insights into the specialty of personnel and arsenal inventory.

Data analysis methods can and will provide critical insights in a matter of seconds, this will help them to make more informed decisions for ongoing and future missions.


After the first World War, traditional methods of sending information were slowly becoming obsolete. Encrypted method of sending sensitive information like by using the Morse code had become popular and effective.

In modern warfare, to tap encrypted information and for analyzing the data, a new and sophisticated method has been deployed- SIGNIT.

Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) or intelligence gathering by signal interception (be it communication between people or from electronic signals) is yet another use case of data analytics. A subset of intelligence collection management, SIGNIT helps to decrypt information using methods like crypto-analysis. Who is sending the message to whom and in what quantity can also be deciphered using this method.

Data analysis can thus be employed in a myriad of ways ranging from data collection, data cleaning, analysis, evaluation, but the quick adaptation of these modern techniques makes it an imperative for the military to invest in equally advanced equipment and tools as well. After all,

‘The Future is That of Intelligent Machines’.

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