Intel/GEOINT

Defense Intelligence Agency continues progress on MARS database

The Defense Intelligence Agency completed another milestone in the development of its new cloud-based data management system, successfully releasing its second minimum viable product recently.

The Machine-Assisted Analytic Rapid-Repository System (MARS) is being designed to ingest the massive amount of data collected by the intelligence community, using cloud processing and machine learning to analyze it. As the agency charged with informing war fighters and policymakers on the military capabilities of foreign nations, DIA wants MARS to make connections between different pieces of intelligence that aren’t being made today.

“MARS is another example of how DIA relentlessly pursues every means to gather and analyze all possible information on foreign militaries in support of our military planners, operators and policymakers,” DIA Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier said in an April 5 statement.

DIA announced MARS released its second minimum viable product on March 31 for initial order-of-battle capability, which “depicts foreign military unit hierarchy in the context of units’ geographic location, along with the equipment assigned to them.” MARS released its first minimum viable product — focused on infrastructure — in 2020. DIA said future MARS releases will continue the development of incremental capabilities.

Last year marked a number of mileposts for the program, which is meant to replace two-decades-old Modern Integrated Database. In August, DIA awarded Northrop Grumman $690 million for the Transforming All-Source Analysis with Location-Based Object Services (TALOS) contract, which will help the agency build systems for big data. MARS is part of the contract, with Northrop Grumman serving as the program’s enterprise modular integrator. Also in 2020, MARS completed its rapid prototyping phase, and the Pentagon and Director of National Intelligence designated it as a major acquisition program.

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