Friday, January 15, 2010

Lessons from Fort Hood

SecDef Gates presented the results of a review in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting.  It looks like a pretty sound effort.  I am not surprised by the first part of this quote, and very unsurprised by the second part.

“Force protection programs are not properly focused on internal threats such as workplace violence and self-radicalization,” he said. “The problem is compounded in the absence of a clear understanding of what motivates a person to become radicalized and commit violent acts.
 I am not too sure social scientists have that down either. 

Aside from the problem of not knowing how to predict or anticipate people who are becoming more radical, the larger problem is a consistent one--putting together different pieces of information so that patterns do emerge.  This is tricking for all intel--foreign and domestic--underwear bomber, radical military types, terrorist networks, etc.  The techno-mage that figures out how to do this right (and, yes, there are database programs) is going to be rich.  Data-mining only works if one can put the stuff together.

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