What can corporations learn from nuclear crisis management?

I was made aware of this topic by a post on „Paxsims„. Over there, Devin Ellis has a look at a recently declassified document on a 2009 month-long training exercise („Transforming Nuclear Attribution: Culture, Community, and Change, was released as part of a FOIA request to Steven Aftergood at the FAS Project on Government Secrecy„).

The report deals with interagency communication and intelligence challenges revolving around nuclear threats and their assessment, management, and containment during crisis response activities.

Due to heavy redaction, the released study is partly unreadable, but still fascinating!

In his assessment, Ellis concentrates on aspects of the intelligence cycle and simulation. From the perspective of organizational innovation (read: highly skilled experts from different fields to define joint areas and processes in a high-complexity-environment, such as innovation- or R&D-units) it is equally interesting how much effort in the HR- and culture-related recommendations has been made to foster mentoring and mentor-mentee-couples in order to achieve expertise-transfer: time to have a fresh look at mentoring and peer coaching in R&D and areas of comparable complexity?

See the report here for Yourself: nuclear attribution

Now, that’s BIG DATA: Google’s GDELT Project

„GDELT is an initiative to construct a catalog of human societal-scale behavior and beliefs across all countries of the world over the last two centuries down to the city level globally, to make all of this data freely available for open research.“ (website)

This is the short description of what GDELT, which reads „Global Database of Events, Language and Tone“ in full, is all about:

„GDELT is the most ambitious effort to date to overcome these problems, and that ambition is helping to pull empirical social science in some new and productive directions. GDELT uses software to scour the web for media stories that contain information about a large but predetermined array of verbal and physical interactions. These interactions range from protests, threats, and attacks to more positive things like requests for aid and expressions of support. When GDELT’s software finds text that describes one of those interactions, it creates a record that includes numeric representations of words or phrases indicating what kind of interaction it was, who was involved, and where and when it took place. Each of those records becomes one tiny layer in an ever-growing stack. GDELT was only created in the 2010s, but its software has been applied to archival material to extend its coverage all the way back to 1979. The current version includes roughly 2.5 million records, and that number now grows by tens of thousands every day.“ (Jay Ulfelder)

Of course, GDELT is not perfect (not in its current form and one may question, if it will ever be), as e.g. Weller and McCubbins have pointed out.

But it offers some fascinating insight into trends and directions of massive social science data analysis and current and future analytic as well as pedagogical applications!

Currently, Ulfelder’s concluding remarks perfectly resonate with my own feelings towards these new „tools of the trade“:

„I’ll wrap this up by saying that I am still really, really excited about the new possibilities for social scientific research opening up as a result of projects like GDELT and, now, the Open Event Data Alliance it helped to spawn. At the same time, I think we social scientists have to be very cautious in our use of these shiny new things. As excited as we may be, we’re also the ones with the professional obligation to check the impulse to push them harder than they’re ready to go.“ (Jay Ulfelder, see above for source)


Wargaming: Money for nothing?

A couple of recent posts by Rex Brynen (see his excellent blog most often!) have shed a new light on some ongoing discussions about the usefulness of gaming for intelligence analysis and – for the more philosophically minded – the place of counterfactual thinking – commonly referred to as „alternative history“ – in heavyweight historical reasoning. See for Yourself!

Boardgaming and the US intelligence community

Pros and cons of counterfactual thinking

Review of „A distant plain“ (see below)

For a detailed look at the capabilities of these „tools“ one might have a closer look at  computer games such as „Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations„) or boardgames like the already mentioned „A distant plain“ as insightful tools for getting at a better understanding of conflict dynamics and „stories“ in analytic intelligence.

At least from a didactic perspektive we see some really powerful training instruments, maybe even (much) more in terms of serious gaming …

The future – three Google projects to change the world!?

See Recorded Future’s perspective on three high impact Google projects.

One might keep in mind that Google is one of Recorded Future’s stakeholders, so the question might arise how balanced the outlook we are presented with, really is. Nonetheless a fascinating read and an interesting glimpse at the future to be (or not to be).

Szenarioanalyse goes crowdintelligence …

Aktuelle Blogs, wie das auf Sicherheitsfragen und Kriminalität spezialisierte Portal „In Moscow’s Shadows„, haben neuerdings den Blick auf crowdsourced Consulting geworfen, wie es z.B. die Strategieberatung Wikistrat anbietet:

„Wikistrat is the world’s first Massively Multiplayer Online Consultancy (MMOC). It leverages a global network of subject-matter experts via a patent pending crowd-sourcing methodology to provide insights unavailable anywhere else. This online network offers a uniquely powerful and unprecedented strategic consulting service: the Internet’s only central intelligence exchange for strategic analysis and forecasting. These ideas and insights are delivered, for the first time, on a real-time, interactive platform. Our network of hundreds of experts follow our scenario-driven crowd-sourced policy planning methodology to generate unique intelligence products.“ (Quelle: Web-Auftritt)

Das klingt zuerst einmal „trendy“ und interessant, in jedem Fall auch professioneller als es der Auftritt von global crowd Intelligence, wenn man so will, des „kleinen Bruders von Wikistrat“, vermuten läßt.

Die auf der Wikistrat-Website zugänglichen executive Summaries ausgewählter Ergebnisse (z.B. das Portfolio möglicher Optionen für Papst Franziskus) machen jedoch noch nicht so recht deutlich, was web-basiertes „crowdsourced Consulting“ tatsächlich von klassischer Experten-gestützter Szenarioanalyse unterscheidet.

Aber man darf das Themenfeld weiter beobachten, denn perspektivisch sind hier tatsächlich spannende Entwicklungen für neue Formen der Expertenberatung (nicht nur in Politik und Sicherheit) auszumachen.

Welche Trends erwarten Sie?

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