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Homeland Security

Total Information Awareness (TIA)
Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA)

DARPA conducted research into whether advanced technologies can be used to help identify terrorist planning activities. This technology development program was established under the name Total Information Awareness (TIA, later altered to Terrorism Information Awareness) and is designed to catch terrorists before they strike. Under the rubric of TIA, DARPA attempted to develop three categories of tools - language translation, data search and pattern recognition, and advanced collaborative and decision support tools. The research conducted under TIA will provide the tools for obtaining information pertaining to activities of terrorists, and if connected together, this information could alert authorities before terrorists' plans are carried out. While the research was promising, TIA was still only a concept.

In response to the attack of September 11, 2001, DARPA established the Information Awareness Office [IAO] in January 2002, headed by Dr. John Poindexter. The IAO was designed to integrate several existing information technology programs for which DARPA was responsible. Those programs focused on using information technology to combat terrorism.

One of the significant new data sources that needed to be mined to discover and track terrorists is the transaction space. If terrorist organizations are going to plan and execute attacks against the United States, their people must engage in transactions and they will leave signatures in this information space. Terrorists were able to move freely throughout the world, to hide when necessary, to find sponsorship and support, and to operate in small, independent cells, and to strike infrequently, exploiting weapons of mass effects and media response to influence governments. This low-intensity/ low-density form of warfare has an information signature. Certain agencies and apologists talk about connecting the dots, but one of the problems is to know which dots to connect. The relevant information extracted from this data must be made available in large-scale repositories with enhanced semantic content for easy analysis to accomplish this task. The transactional data will supplement more conventional intelligence collection.

While the goal is total information awareness, there will always be uncertainty and ambiguity in trying to understand what is being planned. That's why tools have to build models of competing hypotheses. That is, there is a need to bring people with diverse points of view together in a collaborative environment where there is access to all source data, discovery tools and model building tools. Collaboration had not been so important in the past when problems were less complex, but now it ws essential. And tools have to make the analysis process more efficient, to properly explore the multiple possibilities.

The TIA program wes a research and development effort that began in FY 2003. The program was designed to increase the probability that authorized agencies within the United States could preempt terrorist actions. The TIA program attempted to integrate information technologies into a prototype that could determine the feasibility of searching vast quantities of data as well as determines links or patterns in the data that are indicative of terrorist activities.

The TIA program sought to develop information technology in three areas. Those areas are language translation, data search with pattern recognition and privacy protection, and advanced collaborative and decision support tools. Language translation technology would enable the rapid analysis of foreign languages, both spoken and written, and allow analysts to quickly search the translated materials for clues about emerging threats. The data search, pattern recognition, and privacy protection technologies would permit analysts to search vast quantities of data for patterns that suggest terrorist activity while at the same time controlling access to the data, enforcing laws and policies, and ensuring detection of misuse of the information obtained. The collaborative reasoning and decision support technologies would allow analysts from different agencies to share data.

Development of these anti-terrorism tracking tools would allow the agencies to better execute their missions. TIA did not plan to create a gigantic database. Further, TIA never collected or gathered and is not now collecting or gathering any intelligence information. This continued to be the responsibility of the US foreign intelligence/counterintelligence agencies, which operate under various legal and policy restrictions with congressional oversight. This technology development program in no way altered the authority or responsibility of the intelligence community. Furthermore, TIA has never collected, and has no plan or intent to collect privately held consumer data on US citizens. It was a research program designed to catch terrorists before they strike. Although DARPA was developing the technology, it did not intend to use the TIA prototype system. DARPA would have instead turned over the prototype for adoption to DoD and other Federal agencies.

For testing TIA capabilities, DARPA and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) created an operational research and development environment that uses real time feedback. The main node of TIA was located at INSCOM with additional TIA nodes located at subordinate INSCOM commands and at other participating organizations throughout DoD and the intelligence community. INSCOM was testing TIA technologies using information gathered by routine intelligence means.

The National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the DoD Counterintelligence Field Activity, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Special Operations Command, the Joint Forces Command, and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center either participated or planned to participate with DARPA and INSCOM to test TIA capabilities.

On 07 February 2003 it was announced that the Department of Defense established two boards to provide oversight of the Total Information Awareness Project. The two boards, an internal oversight board and an outside advisory committee, will work with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as it continues its research. These boards will help ensure that TIA develops and disseminates its products to track terrorists in a manner consistent with U.S. constitutional law, U.S. statutory law, and American values related to privacy.

The TIA internal oversight board monitored the manner in which terrorist tracking tools were transitioned for real world use. This board established policies and procedures for use within DoD of the TIA-developed tools and will establish protocols for transferring these capabilities to entities outside DoD. A primary focus of the board was to ensure that the TIA-developed tools to track terrorists were used only in accordance with existing privacy protection laws and policies. The board was composed of senior DoD officials.

The outside advisory board was convened as a federal advisory committee and will comply with all the legal and regulatory requirements for such bodies. The committee will advise the Secretary of Defense on the range of policy and legal issues that are raised by the development and potential application of advanced technology to help identify terrorists before they act.

Members of the outside advisory board were Newton Minow (chairman), director of the Annenberg Washington Program and the Annenberg Professor of Communications Law and Policy at Northwestern University; Floyd Abrams, renowned civil rights attorney; Zoe Baird, president Markle Foundation; Griffin Bell, former U.S. Attorney General and Court of Appeals judge; Gerhard Casper, president emeritus for Stanford University and Professor of Law; William T. Coleman, Jr., former secretary of transportation; and Lloyd Cutler, former White House Counsel.

In its May 2003 report to Congress, DARPA identified 151 component programs that would potentially contribute to the overall TIA model. DARPA proposed in the President's FY 2004 Budget an estimated $53.8 million in funding for development of TIA. That amount did not include however funding for the additional programs DARPA envisioned as component programs of the TIA prototype. DARPA, in coordination with intelligence activities, was testing TIA capabilities in an operational research and development environment using real time feedback.

Concerns were raised by several U.S. Senators (Senators Grassley, Hagel, and Nelson) that DARPA was developing a system for domestic law enforcement for which it had no statutory duty to do so.

Section 8131 of the National Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Public Law 108-87, September 30, 2003) eliminated funding for the majority of the TIA program components. The language in the Act directed DARPA to terminate the IAO but permitted continuation of four research projects for foreign intelligence. Of the four components Congress funded, three were initially included in the TIA program.

TIA Subsystems

Genisys. The Genisys Program seeks to produce technology that can integrate and broaden databases as well as other information sources and support effective intelligence analysis aimed at preventing terrorist attacks. Projected funding for FY 2003 through FY 2005: $22.8 million.

Genisys Privacy Protection. The Genisys Privacy Protection program aims to provide security with privacy by controlling access to unauthorized information, enforcing laws and policies, and ensuring that any misuse of data can be quickly detected and addressed. Projected funding for FY 2003 through FY 2005: $13.8 million.

EELD (Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery). The EELD program is intended to automatically extract evidence about relationships among people, organizations, places, and things from unstructured textural data, such as intelligence messages or news reports, which are the starting points for further analysis. Projected funding for FY 2002 through FY 2005: $44.6 million.

SSNA (Scalable Social Network Analysis). The SSNA algorithm program will help distinguish potential terrorist cells based on their patterns of interactions from legitimate groups of people and identify when a terrorist group plans to execute an attack. Projected funding for FY 2003 through FY 2005: $7.4 million.

MinDet (Misinformation Detection). The MinDet Program will develop the ability to detect intentional misinformation and to detect inconsistencies in open source data with regard to known facts and adversaries' goals. Other potential uses include the ability to detect misleading information on various Government forms such as visa applications that would suggest that a further investigation may be warranted. Projected funding for FY 2003 through FY 2005: $20 million.

HumanID (Human Identification at a Distance). The HumanID program seeks to develop technologies that can detect, recognize, and identify humans at a distance. Projected funding for FY 2002 through FY 2004: $32.2 million.

ARM (Activity, Recognition and Monitoring). The ARM Program seeks to develop an automated capability that can reliably capture, identify, and classify human activities in surveillance environments. Projected funding for FY 2004 through FY 2005: $15 million.

NGFR (Next-Generation Face Recognition). The NFGR Program seeks to develop a new generation of facially based biometrics. Projected funding for FY 2004 through FY 2005: $17.1 million.

GENOA II. GENOA II will provide for TIA collaborative reasoning tools that will enable distributed teams of analysts and decision-makers to more effectively use the information resources available. Projected funding for FY 2003 through FY 2005: $50.8 million.

WAE (Wargaming the Asymmetric Environment). The WAE Program seeks to develop automated predictive models that are tuned to the behavior of specific foreign terrorist groups and will facilitate development of more effective force protection and intervention strategies. The WAE Program predates both the IAO and the TIA program. Projected funding for FY 2002 through FY 2004: $41.7 million.

RAW (Rapid Analytical Wargaming). The RAW Program will develop an analytical simulation that supports U.S. readiness across analytical, operational, and training domains for asymmetric and symmetric missions. Projected funding for FY 2004 through FY 2005: $16.9 million.

FutureMAP (Futures Markets Applied to Prediction). The FutureMAP Program was designed to provide DoD with market-based techniques for avoiding surprise and predicting future events. DoD cancelled the FutureMAP program in July 2003. Projected funding for FY 2004 through FY 2005: $8 million.

EARS (Effective, Affordable, Reusable Speech-to-Text). The EARS technology aims to create effective speech-to-text technology for human to human speech, focusing on broadcasts and telephone conversations to produce technology that can be rapidly translated to many languages and a number of applications. No costs or milestones dates were available.

TIDES (Translingual Information Detection, Extraction, and Summarization). TIDES aims to make it possible for English speakers to find and interpret needed information quickly and effectively, regardless of language or medium. Milestone dates were given but no costs were available.

GALE (Global Autonomous Language Exploitation). GALE aims to make it possible for machines to discover critical foreign intelligence information in vast quantities of human language, both speech and text, from around the globe, delivering it in actionable form to military operators and intelligence analysts without requiring them to issue specific requests. Projected funding for FY 2002 through FY 2005: $156.7 million.

Bio-ALIRT (Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition Technology). The objective of the Bio-ALIRT Program is to develop technology for early detection of a covert biological attack. The Bio-ALIRT Program predates both the IAO and the TIA program. Projected funding for the FY 2002 through FY 2004: $33.4 million.

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Page last modified: 13-07-2011 12:51:44 ZULU