Publicly Available Information Analysis Curation Tool

Navy SBIR 21.2 - Topic N212-128
ONR - Office of Naval Research
Opens: May 19, 2021 - Closes: June 17, 2021 (12:00pm edt)

N212-128 TITLE: Publicly Available Information Analysis Curation Tool

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Autonomy;Networked C3

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace Environments;Human Systems;Information Systems

OBJECTIVE: Develop a cloud-based tool set to facilitate the creation of an analyst's notebook or journal to catalog and document the analysis of publicly available information.

DESCRIPTION: Information environment analysts use multiple tools to track information environment threats, narratives, propaganda, and their own communication efforts and impacts. Analysts have no means of recording their investigations through the steps they take to come to a logical conclusion or record their suppositions about activities, intentions, and proclivities of information actors or the streams of information from topic communities using common hashtags, suspected botnets and coordinated actors, and the information maneuvers in play that relate to commander's intent. The use of multiple tools is necessary. Current methods are labor intensive and lack the capabilities for tagging, searching and supporting analysis or for providing an archive of analyses useful for tracking change over time. The envisioned capability will enable analysts to create journals of their analyses, enabling them to investigate phenomena in Publically Available Information (PAI) over time; develop better information products and reports; and track performance and effectiveness of operations in the information environment. The capability will facilitate screen shots from web-based sources and analytic tools, with additional capabilities for annotation, search, and tracking of activities and events in the digital information environment so that analysts and decision makers can develop tailored, mission playbooks to enable planning and evaluation of performance and effectiveness over time.

The result would be the development of an electronic, searchable "analystís journal." Currently, record keeping by analysts is piecemeal, documented only as final work products such as reports in Word or PowerPoint for presentation. This capability will streamline work flow for faster analyses, better "look back" ability to see how an information threat behaves over time, and the capability to visualize and understand correlation and causality regarding activities on social and digital media platforms. The "analystís journal" will provide a substantial improvement over existing Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) in social media analysis. The various services have strong demand for the development of social media playbooks that are tailored to the demands and concerns of particular missions. This effort will provide the means for developing a playbook, allowing analysts and decision makers to track metrics of effectiveness and metrics of performance, emerging information environment threats, and blue as well as red activities on social media.

PHASE I: Design and develop a cloud-based tool set for capturing and cataloging screen shots with some semi-automated tagging capabilities and a task-oriented editor for tracking information maneuvers, threat actors and influencers, and analystís research across multiple platforms and tools to enable the creation of an electronic, searchable and archivable "analystís notebook" with a user-friendly interface.

PHASE II: Develop the working prototype of the data curation toolset that can work across multiple tools and incorporate screen shots of relevant websites and other Internet assets. Enable the development of smart-tagging and the curation of multiple analyst notebooks into a "watchstanderís notebook" to aggregate the work of more than one analyst, with templates for different types of analysts such as public affairs, information operations, and Military Information Support Operations. Expand the capabilities of the analystís and watchstanderís notebooks to a full, tailored playbook for operations in digital and social media, to support decision makerís needs at the middle and upper tiers of operational authority. Create capabilities for planning and assessment of operations on the digital and social media platforms.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Many marketing and brand name companies employ analysts to investigate the effectiveness of their advertising. With the high growth of existing platforms and the expansion of the number of important, relevant platforms, one tool for analysis is no longer sufficient for understanding activities and events relevant to their companies and their customers. Brands and marketing firms also must deal with new problems: trolling, meme conflicts and smear campaigns need to be discovered, tracked and countered. Currently, their analysts lack an integrated system for managing multiple tools and their investigations into whatís happening on multiple platforms. As the market for these new tools grows at a steady, high pace, the need for a system to easily and simply track an analystís research is expected to grow.

REFERENCES:

  1. Beskow, D. and Carley, K. "Social Cyber Security: An Emerging National Security Requirement." Military Review, Volume 99(2), March-April 2019, pp. 117-127.
  2. Carley, K. "BEND: A Framework for Social Cyber-Security." Future Force Magazine, Navy Science and Technology. Vol 6., Number 2, 2020, pp. 22-27. https://futureforce.navylive.dodlive.mil/issues.
  3. Beskow, D. and Carley, K. "Investing in Social Cybersecurity" Future Force Magazine, Navy Science and Technology. Vol 6., Number 2, 2020, pp. 16-21. https://futureforce.navylive.dodlive.mil/issues/.

KEYWORDS: Social Media Analytics, Public Affairs, Information Environment Assessment, Information Warfare, Analysis, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, C4ISR

TPOC-1: Rebecca Goolsby

Email: rebecca.goolsby@navy.mil

 

TPOC-2: Kristin Kerr 

Email: kristin.kerr@navy.mil

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