Some good down-to-earth points from #ASPC20 @airpowerassn ‘s Air and Space Power Conference earlier this month. Although the material was aimed at a defence audience, much of the discussion is equally relevant to civilian and commercial organizations interested in information superiority (US) or information advantage (UK).
Professor Dame Angela Mclean, who is the Chief Scientific Advisor to the MOD, defined information advantage thus:
The credible advantage gained through the continuous, decisive and resilient employment of information and information systems. It involves exploiting information of all kinds to improve every aspect of operations: understanding, decision-making, execution, assessment and resilience.
She noted the temptation for the strategy to jump straight to technology (technology push); the correct approach is to set out ambitious, enduring capability outcomes (capability pull), although this may be harder to communicate. Nevertheless, technology push may make sense in those areas where technologies could contribute to multiple outcomes.
She also insisted that it was not enough just to have good information, it was also necessary to use this information effectively, and she called for cultural change to drive improved evidence-based decision-making. (This chimes with what I’ve been arguing myself, including the need for intelligence to be actioned, not just actionable.)
In his discussion of multi-domain integration, General Sir Patrick Sanders reinforced some of the same points.
Superiority in information (is) critical to success
We are not able to capitalise on the vast amounts of data our platforms can deliver us, as they are not able to share, swap or integrate data at a speed that generates tempo and advantage
- (we need)
Faster and better decision making, rooted in deeper understanding from all sources and aided by data analytics and supporting technologies
See my previous post on Developing Data Strategy (December 2019)
Professor Dame Angela Mclean, Orienting Defence Research to anticipate and react to the challenges of a future information-dominated operational environment (Video)
For the full programme, see https://www.airpower.org.uk/air-space-power-conference-2020/programme/