Acquiring Publicly Available Information Analytic Tools in a Proprietary Marketplace

Research Questions

  1. What does the Army require to develop a robust PAI acquisition and development strategy?
  2. What challenges and opportunities are involved in the acquisition of PAI capabilities?
  3. What data are available for the Army to leverage in acquiring PAI capabilities.

Publicly available information (PAI) is a critical form of information for use in military operations. Multiple agencies within the Army collect and analyze PAI to support a range of activities and operations, but these efforts are disconnected and do not leverage economies of scale. Multiple data feeds, tools, and solutions are acquired across various units within the Army on an ad hoc basis, without a single proponent or program of record. Efficiently and cost-effectively acquiring PAI capabilities, conducting analysis, and providing relevant outputs to multiple elements across the Army (and Department of Defense) requires a coherent approach that leverages economies of scale.

The goal of this report is to inform U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) efforts to acquire and develop PAI analytic methods, tools, and platforms and to improve the Army’s return on investment on PAI-enabled efforts. RAND Arroyo Center conducted an inventory of ARCYBER’s PAI capability needs, identified available commercial and government off-the-shelf solutions, assessed whether there are gaps in capability coverage, and made recommendations to improve capability investments and support improved collaboration.

Key Findings

  • Developing a robust Army PAI analytics acquisition strategy and capability requires a strong organization to support the coordinated acquisition of PAI capabilities, strategic investments in those capabilities, and strong relationships between the Army and commercial industry.
  • The challenges involved in Army acquisitions of PAI include pricing barriers and knowledge barriers to collaboration.
  • To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the ever-increasing volumes and varieties of available data, the Army should focus on matching its demand for data against the available supply.

Recommendations

  • The Army should designate a service-level PAI proponent to coordinate the Army’s enterprise procurement and collaboration with industry.
  • The Army should prioritize investment in multifunctional capabilities that are foundational to PAI analytics and capabilities that are underrepresented in existing inventories.
  • The Army should develop an acquisition strategy that facilitates collaboration with smaller companies.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Publicly Available Information Analytic Tools Acquisition for the Army

  • Chapter Two

    Current and Needed PAI Capabilities and Requirements

  • Chapter Three

    Challenges and Opportunities in the Acquisition of PAI Capabilities

  • Chapter Four

    Publicly Available Datasets

  • Chapter Five

    Recommendations and Conclusion

  • Appendix A

    Interview Protocols

  • Appendix B

    Taxonomy of Army PAI Needs

  • Appendix C

    Information Capability Area Needs

  • Appendix D

    Scenarios

  • Appendix E

    Data Taxonomy

Research conducted by

This research was prepared for the United States Army and conducted within RAND Arroyo Center’s Forces and Logistics Program.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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