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Throwing more teams of specialists at intelligence gaps that allowed terror suspects such as the Christmas Day bomber to slip through the net will not solve the problem, write Rensselaer Polytechnic University professor James Hendler and University of Maryland researcher Aaron Mannes. Instead, they recommend implementing state-of-the art information technology that enhances human skills, as people's ability to absorb vast volumes of information rapidly is limited.

"Without revamping the information systems used in the intelligence community, more eyeballs will, at best, yield diminishing returns and, at worst, exacerbate problems," Hendler and Mannes warn.

The most commonly disclosed vulnerability in the intelligence collection process is that analysts must scour multiple databases to access information, and they are unable to integrate the data they mine. Hendler and Mannes note that improvements in intelligence sharing have been rendered moot by the flood of data stemming from increased capabilities. They say that analysts' identification of crucial information could be helped immeasurably by information systems that draw basic conclusions, and one technology with such potential is the Semantic Web.

From Federal Times
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