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Data Science in the Military

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The Department of Defense consumes over a third of the national budget every year. They employ the world’s largest workforce with 3.2 million people. Programs like their Automated Energy Audit which crawls through building environmental control data to find over 200 optimizations with the goal of lowering energy usage have broad and deep impact. Applications of data science in the military has revolutionized the way the armed forces operates, strategizes and makes decisions. One leader says, “21st century battles will be won by whoever leads in artificial intelligence.”

Logistics

The science of logistics began with concern for military supplies and supply lines. By analyzing data on supply routes, inventory levels, and demand forecasts, data science in the military can identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks, allowing for more efficient allocation of resources. This optimization not only saves costs but also ensures that military personnel have the supplies they need when they need them.

Predictive Maintenance

Military readiness is enhanced through the analysis of data from sensors embedded in military equipment. Data scientists predict when maintenance is needed, reducing downtime and saving costs.

Threat Assessment

By processing vast amounts of data from satellites, drones and other sources, data scientists identify patterns and trends that may indicate potential threats. Machine learning algorithms can take that data and predict adversary behavior, troop movements and potential cyberattacks. This enhances the military’s ability to respond rapidly and effectively to emerging threats.

Data science in the military face a unique problem that civilian data scientists don’t – deliberate obfuscation in the data and interference with data collecting. Detecting the deceit of enemies spoofing, jamming and changing the data is a critical step for getting actionable intelligence.

Managing 3.2 Million People

Identifying skill gaps, predicting attrition and enhancing soldier performance through personalized training programs is all enhanced through data science in the military. Data science is being used to create realistic simulations that allow military personnel to practice complex scenarios in a safe environment. Getting actionable intelligence to soldiers in the field in a timely manner is a logical follow-up step to this training.

Data Science in the Military Challenges

Balancing the gathering of intelligence with individual privacy rights and protecting classified and sensitive information from unauthorized access are critical issues for the military. Autonomous weapon systems create debates about ethics in military operations that are supported and driven by data science. Algorithm bias can lead to discriminatory outcomes in managing staff and threat analysis. The military has implemented data governance and cybersecurity measures to combat these issues.

The military looks different. It has gone from an emphasis on beefed up cops to fit intellectuals. Harnessing the power of data is changing and will continue to change the military.

Interested in working in data science in the military? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Data Science and Analytics Executive Recruiter, Shane Meehan at smeehan@smithhanley.com

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