Big data has proven to be more than a buzzword — it continues to be a big priority for agencies within the Department of Defense, creating opportunities for contractors who can add to intelligence gathering, analysis and cybersecurity.
This shift reflects not only the growing complexity of weapons but also of the command and control capabilities employed by today's U.S. military. Faced with dwindling numbers of personnel, all branches of the DoD are turning to networked and unmanned weapons commanded and controlled from a distance to maintain American fighting power.
All of the military services are funding R&D efforts related to big data — and in aggregate that funding has grown annually (see above chart). The data reflects projects in the FY 2016 Defense Research, Development, Test, and Enhancement (RDT&E) budget request, which has yet to be approved, that are dedicated primarily to a form of big data R&D.
A number of new opportunities have appeared that are related to this trend.
Building the Cyber National Mission Force
U.S. Cyber Command and the General Services Administration recently issued a request for information seeking support for the Cyber National Mission Force. Related task orders will provide capabilities that range from all-source intelligence analysis to cyber operations, planning and training. The RFI requests analysis capabilities to fuse "reports from multiple intelligence sources (HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, MASINT) to provide intelligence preparation of the battlespace, target development, and early warning of emerging threats."
Harnessing data for the Joint Information Environment
Advanced cloud analytics
Cleared vendors should speak to the right people in the cybersecurity division at DISA or establish a mutually beneficial relationship with Northrop Grumman, the contractor that was awarded a $74 million task order in March 2015 for operation of the Acropolis big data storage portion of the CSAAC.
Analyzing insider threats
These opportunities are just the tip of the iceberg. Deltek forecasts that Defense spending on big data will rise steadily for the rest of the decade at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7%.
Across all sectors of government — civilian, defense and intelligence — the big data technology segments forecast to experience the highest growth are services (9.6% CAGR) and software (8.6% CAGR). Big data-related hardware will also grow, but at a slower pace (4.6% CAGR).
Lastly, the biggest drivers of growth in big data use at the DoD are expected to be cybersecurity and intelligence analysis requirements, as the department wrestles with a rapidly evolving array of threats to its operations and U.S. national security.
More information and analysis on Federal IT spending is available through Deltek's Comprehensive Federal Market Intelligence.
Alexander Rossino is a principal research analyst for Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for government contractors, professional services firms and other project- and people-based businesses.