of imagery. These range from geotagged tweets to the use of
humans and wearable technology in measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT). Big data extends the idea of
cognition in a machine sense to enable selection of the optimal decision maker in a cyber-human team. It can determine
which activities and responses are done best by automation
and those where human deliberation is necessary. Then, it can
create a synchronized reasoning and action chain that extends
the human’s objectives and turns a cyber-human response into
a set of instructions relevant to a picosecond environment.
Big data can orchestrate data from sensors and actuators in an
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operation
to enable a nonkinetic effect or to thwart an adversary’s ability
to make decisions. Above all, big data is the intelligence that
drives big cyber.
Big cyber is about control and effects. It takes the intelligence created by big data and encapsulates the appropriate
control mechanisms to influence what happens in the physical, temporal and logical domains for entities on the Internet.
It influences U.S. opponents by creating perceptions through
the controlled manipulation of what their sensors collect, the
data they produce and the time it takes to deliver that data to
their discernment systems. Big cyber manages the command
and control sequences required to change the physical environment and mitigate the barriers to using ISR devices and
enhancing their sensitivity. It leverages sensors and big data
to institute a global software-defined supervisory control and
data acquisition (SCADA) system—trinity.
The trinity approach, through a combination of indigenous
commercial and national or Defense Department systems, will
provide real-time intelligence support to the warfighter. It will
synchronize nonkinetic capabilities with operational objectives precisely and on a global scale at a fraction of the cost of
current acquisitions. It will provide the most advanced commercially available technologies to decision makers without
having to wait on the defense procurement process. Its leveraging of commercial technologies is inherently resilient, and as a
result, its technical baseline and capabilities never will become
obsolete. Much of its operations and maintenance tail is borne
by the end users of data and sensor devices, making this methodology easy on the budget.
The convergence of cyber, network and sensor technologies at the heart of the trinity approach establishes asymmetric
superiority and exploits multiple dimensions of the Internet—at net speed. It would provide the United States a clear
edge in asymmetric qualitative and quantitative intelligence
and information dominance that even the most sophisticated
adversary could not match for another generation. In war, and
before a conflict even erupts, such capabilities would permit
real-time situational awareness; provide indication and warning of adversary intentions and actions; exploit adversary networks; compress the time between policy and action to affect
an adversary’s perception and will; and sow friction, confusion
and operational paralysis to blunt adversary offensive capabilities or influence intent so that it aligns with U.S. policy without
Such convergence would give the United States unprec-
edented agility in both cyberspace and battlespace by
eliminating the adversary decision cycle, enabling a pre-
cise, streamlined, instantaneous U.S. response to shape
perception or act broadly with maximum effect. As it
diverges from a singular strategic emphasis on kinetic-
based action, the United States must prepare to win the
coming cyber wars and the cyber- and sensor-enabled
kinetic wars of the future. It can do so only with superb
semiautonomous intelligence built into its informational
and operational foundation.
Michael Del Vecchio is corporate director of intelligence
programs for Northrop Grumman Corporation. Aaron Moore
is a cyber and intelligence solutions architect for Northrop
Grumman. The views expressed here are theirs alone and do
not necessarily reflect the views of Northrop Grumman.
contact: Michael Del Vecchio,
Aaron Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org
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