A logical solution for rapid analysis
Amongst the paraphernalia scattered throughout a house used by an enemy insurgent group, a computer is captured containing thousands of files. Recent intelligence reports have suggested the insurgents may be planning a large operation and it is presumed key information is likely contained on that hard drive. Time is a factor and, at best, intelligence officers can only guess at how those files might be organized.
It’s a scenario all too common for police, military and intelligence agencies. The options for extracting that hard drive, however, are hardly attractive. Tasking analysts with opening and reading each file is time and labour intensive. Running a search for specific terms may reduce the reading, providing key terms are known and documents are not written using coded language.
Coredge Software, a small Ottawa company is offering an alternative that company president and CEO Gabriel Cassis equates to donning a pair of night vision goggles – what might have appeared as vague shapes and rough outlines become clear and precise.
Before a document is even opened, Logik, a software program that can be downloaded onto any computer and will operate seamlessly within a Windows environment, delivers in seconds a summary including general themes, repeated words or phrases. What sets it apart, though, is its ability to summarize hundreds of documents simultaneously, providing a summary in index form of common themes, names, times, locations, and even anomalies, with 93% accuracy – a rate its creators say would challenge many analysts.
Coredge did not have the military in mind when it first created the software. But what began as a tool for the legal profession to quickly sift through vast quantities of paper soon caught the attention of military and intelligence agencies, also with large amounts of data and more importantly, as 9/11 made all too clear, a need to share that data with partners.
Logik, notes Mark Kershey, vice president of marketing and business development, “creates structure out of an unstructured textual environment.”
The program is able to analyze almost all types of electronic documents – as many as 136 in a single minute – sorted either using a range of 65 set parameters or by operator controlled filters to weed out what is already known. The program not only identifies themes, it can also provide a synopsis of what else is discussed whenever a theme appears in the document. And the indexes are displayed to permit quick movement between documents.
“Unlike analysts, Logik is unbiased,” Cassis said. “It not only provides an idea of what is in the documents, it also covers the intelligence gap – it shows the gaps.”
A search engine, for example, requires descriptors and can only find what an analyst knows. Without background knowledge of the content, Logik can help an analyst answer the question: What else is in the documents? What might be connected, and what might have been missed or unappreciated before?
By capturing file properties, the program can also show such information as email origin and recipients, and it allows analysts to view the originals of scanned documents to see what might be hand written in the margins.
At present, the program is able to translate all G7 languages – except Russian and Chinese – as well as Portuguese, Dutch and Italian, and it can read Arabic documents.
Furthermore, it is not restricted to those with the program on their desktop. Logik can generate reports, complete with original documents, which can be shared with others who do not have the software.
With a search capability more robust than Microsoft and audit control to monitor document users, “there are multiple ways to use the program,” said Kershey. “We’re not trying to tie anyone’s hands.”
Cassis notes that government departments still coping with large quantities of
paper-based files could, with the help of a high-speed scanner, electronically file them by theme while ensuring the originals remain viewable.
Trial by fire
The Canadian Forces and Public Safety Canada put Logik through its paces in June as part of the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID), an annual event hosted by the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a combatant commander – this year, US European Command – and planned by the US Joint Forces Command. Since 1994, CWID has grown to include militaries and government agencies from 23 nations brought together on a global experimentation network to evaluate interoperable technologies.
Company products, which must be sponsored by a department or agency, are assessed against one or more of five objectives – command and control, information sharing, integrated logistics, continuity of operations and net-centric enterprise services – and tested by soldiers using real-world scenarios.
In total, 35 technologies were put under the microscope, including nine from Canada. In addition to Coredge, Amita, ARTIS, IBM, Ifathom, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Canada, Mobile Detection, Raytheon and Xwave also participated.
Logik was sponsored by Public Safety Canada (formerly Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada). Though DND is the primary Canadian department behind CWID, led through the trials by experiment director Major Pat Bailey of the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre, Public Safety has assumed a greater role since its initial participation in 2004. This year, the department took the lead in a trial scenario involving homeland security, with contributions from the RCMP, DND and Health Canada.
The CWID trial involved two scenarios: a coalition forces operation in response to escalating regional unrest in Africa, and one under the umbrella of North American homeland defence and security involving blowback to US military presence around the world due to its war on terrorism, particularly the actions of a splinter ‘brigade’ reportedly seeking to coordinate with South American and US indigenous groups to conduct terrorist missions on US soil.
Logik was evaluated in both scenarios under the continuity of operations objective to rapidly analyze and exploit gathered intelligence, and was measured by analyst at all five major demonstration sites – three American, including European Command, and the UK and Canada.
“It worked very well,” said Master Corporal Gail Carleton of National Defence’s Joint Information and Intelligence Fusion Capability Project, who tested the program in several scenarios. “I could see using it in what we do.” Tasks such as sorting through 136 documents, first manually and then with Logik, showed how quickly the software could provide critical information, she said.
An official in an intelligence capacity with Public Safety said the potential of Logik was the major attraction behind the department’s sponsorship. “We have a good sense of what it may offer us,” he said. “The fact that Coredge is small and Canadian means it is agile and able to quickly respond to government requirements.” Though there were a few “hiccups in the first week” of the trial, once those were ironed out Logik worked as anticipated, he said.
As a first-time participant in the exercise, he said CWID provides an “easy venue to examine potential offers in a real world situation, without having to commit to anything,” ideal for evaluating products without having to cover the costs for an in-house trial.
Though the CWID final report is still months away, Coredge knew before the trial began that it had impressed its government sponsors. When Logik was previewed for the CF and Public Safety, it accurately summarized an intelligence document not publicly available and a government employee’s PhD thesis – so thoroughly that “he had to revisit his thesis because Logik found a particular theme that he didn’t believe he had covered,” Cassis said.
Whether agencies from the 23 nations participating in CWID place orders remains to be seen. However, already many outside of government can see Logik’s potential – several corporations have used or inquired about the software to exploit its intelligence analyzing capabilities to scan their competitors’ websites.