Over at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the agency is working on connecting the U.S. Army with innovative commercial technology companies as part of a big push for modernization, with many defense projects dealing with large-scale data.

Speaking at NextGov’s Roadmap to Modernization virtual event, Colonel Elizabeth Sweet, defense engagement lead at DIU, spoke about the next steps that the Defense Department (DoD) is taking to modernize its IT infrastructure.

“Some of the projects that are coming forward are really dealing with large scale data – large amounts of data – and how to analyze that quickly,” Sweet said, adding that DoD has data coming in from various sensors with operators at all levels attempting to analyze the data to gain decision superiority.

“Whether that be in the areas of predictive maintenance, where huge amounts of data come in from all types of sensors on vehicles and airframes … and the challenges that exist for operators who are trying to analyze that data and produce actionable information for decision makers at speed,” Sweet said.

DIU also works with U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in connecting with industry partners, but each entity still must maintain its legacy technologies along with its current data feeds.

To address this challenge, DIU partnered with the organizations to work on Project Pathfinder, with the prototype being finished. The goal of the prototype is “to revolutionize the strategic approach to data that they wanted to take to achieve mission outcomes at the speed of relevance,” Sweet said.

“And their ideas was to pair … sensors to decision makers in an automated way, especially in that high-stress environments, in those ever-increasing amounts of data,” she added while highlighting that DIU’s goal is to help the customer define their problem in a focused way so that both parties can achieve a prototype that can be adopted into the system.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.