In a haunted harkening back to my bog article last Friday, You are an Electronic Jigsaw Puzzle, the Air Force is funding a new study of blogs to “provide information analysts and warfighters with invaluable help in fighting the war on terrorism.” In the 650-word press release announcing the new Air Force blog analysis, the word warfighter appears twice.

Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, senior scientist, and Dr. Mieczyslaw M. Kokar, president, Versatile Information Systems Inc., Framingham, Mass., will receive approximately $450,000 in funding for the 3-year project entitled Automated Ontologically-Based Link Analysis of International Web Logs for the Timely Discovery of Relevant and Credible Information.
It can be challenging for information analysts to tell what’s important in blogs unless you analyze patterns, Ulicny said. Patterns include the content of the blogs as well as what hyperlinks are contained within the blog.


I wonder if this new analysis of blogs will be human-based or Bot-based
and if we’ll start seeing “Air Force Bot” in our list of blog visitors
along with the usual automated crawlers from MSN, Yahoo! and the Google
Bot?
Will we be able — or allowed — to block that Air Force bot from
adding our blog entries and comments into a military database for
“pattern analysis?”

Blog entries have a different structure, Ulicny said.
They are typically short and are about something external to the blog
posting itself , such as a news event. It’s not uncommon for a blogger
to simply state, I can’t believe this happened, and then link to a news
story.
In this example, Ulicny said, there might not be much of interest in
the blog posting, yet the fact that the blogger called attention to
this story can be significant to understanding what matters.

A good example, he said, is the recent furor in the Muslim world over
the publication of cartoons of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper. The
original publication wasn’t much noticed in the West, but bloggers
discussed this event that possibly contributed to riots worldwide.
The fact that the web is a vast source of information is sometimes
overlooked by military analysts, Kokar said. Our research goal is to
provide the warfighter with a kind of information radar to better
understand the information battlespace.

Is it chilling how Dr. Ulicny tries to forge a connection to the Muslim
rioters and bloggers?
Is it news to you bloggers now live and work in an “information
battlespace” according to Dr. Kokar?
Information demands appropriate context and analysis — but the
preexisting expectation of the frame and the brain applied to that
information is what can create a dangerous mind over what matters.

17 Comments

  1. Peace through superior firepower and excellent blogging!
    The program sounds like a Technorati-type endeavor that allows the military to keep an eye on what’s hot in the blogosphere.
    From the Air Force news release:

    One of the problems analysts may have with blog monitoring, Ulicny noted, is there is too much actionable information for the analyst to properly analyze.
    “We are developing an automated tool to tell analysts what bloggers are most interested in at a point in time,” Ulicny said.

    Sounds like a way for someone to bring the pork home to a favored defense contractor.
    I noticed in my logs that someone from the PeaceCorps.gov domain was looking at my blog.
    Maybe there’s a secret peacemaker blog monitoring effort going on as well? 😉

  2. Hi Chris!
    I agree this sounds like a pork-fest project to me. The same sort of thing could be achieved via Digg for free and not cost us taxpayers $450,000 over the next three years!
    I love it you have Peace Corps readers, Chris! How delightful!

  3. Actually, I’m going to sell them a new and improved “AFDB.”
    My Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie design will be designed to protect against all Homeland Security Threats (HST). It will be the second generation device adapted to withstand anything today’s modern blogwarfare theatre can throw at it.
    Our military personnel can rest assured that they will be safe cruising through MySpace and BlogExplosion if they are wearing the proper gear!
    I’ll charge them the low, low price of $100,000 for a prototype.
    It’s a great bargain!

  4. I tried your link, Chris and had this returned instead of questions:

    Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error ‘80040e14’
    [Microsoft][ODBC SQL Server Driver][SQL Server]Line 1: Incorrect syntax near ‘=’.
    quiz.asp, line 734

    It must be a conspiracy!

  5. It’s nothing to be worried about, David.
    When “they” determine it is appropriate, someone will come to your place to administer the test.
    Here’s some more interesting military-techno stuff.
    The Tactical Technology Office:

    The Tactical Technology Office engages in high-risk, high-payoff advanced technology development of military systems, emphasizing the “system” and “subsystem” approach to the development of Aerospace Systems and Tactical Multipliers.

  6. I almost forgot, one of the Tactical Technology Office’s missions is “Global Survellience.”

    TTO Strategy
    * Understand and address critical deficiencies in crucial mission areas including:
    o Early Engagement
    o Seamless Joint Operations
    o Situational Awareness
    o Global Surveillance

  7. Happy 4th of July!
    Here’s the link where you can apply to sell your ideas to the government’s “Information Exploitation Office.”

    If you have a great idea or feel you can contribute to our current research efforts, we want to hear about it!
    We are interested in ideas that mine emerging technologies to provide substantial improvement to war fighting capability.

    I bet the AFDB, if pitched properly, could be a big hit!