Top Three Trends in the National Security Sector
The National Security Sector is arguably one of the most important industries in the United States. It is, therefore, no wonder that changes and the introduction of new trends is archetypally witnessed here owing to an abrupt increase in the number of challenges facing the country. Code 928110 of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) currently identifies cyber-security, space defense, and big data analytics as noteworthy trends within the sector which may eventually present numerous implications.
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The cyberspace is currently regarded as one of the most important areas of focus in the United States. This has prompted numerous efforts by experts and state agencies to keep it secure and free from the influence of adversaries. The rapidly transformative nature of this domain now calls for vigilance among users to ensure that they do not fall victim to unknown vulnerabilities which may occasion irreparable harm (Dillow, 2017). This is particularly so for the military since cyber-attacks are top in the list of immediate potential threats to nuclear submarines and satellites thus posing a security challenge. Furthermore, claims of blatant cyber intrusion by hackers with links to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation (RF) has further amplified calls for immediate action by the federal government to boost cyber defense in the United States (Hernandez, 2015). Hackers have even gone as far as targeting the US Office of Personnel Management with the aim of compromising the nation’s operational capability this impacting its position as a world leader (Office of Press Secretary, 2016). The precarious presence of security clearance data also calls for an immediate improvement in cyber defense to mitigate any vulnerability which may emerge during periods of crisis in the future. The ultimate aim is to develop a revamped contingency protocol to serve the United States against state-sanctioned cyber terrorists seeking to compromise national security while waging a cyber-proxy war. This will also solidify the importance of cyber security to the United States hence the relevance of the modernization fund to equip the military with the appropriate knowledge.
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The United States has long regarded space defense as a major aspect of its national security policy. This interest can be traced back to the Cold War era when the Soviet space program made history by being the first nation to launch a human being into space in the person of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in early 1961. The United States was immediately alarmed by this new development especially since the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had successfully tested its R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile and the subsequent introduction of the first satellite. These developments later lay the foundation for space defense as a new domain of the famed United States Air Force (USAF) and the subsequent formation of the United States Space Force (USSF). The main objective of this particular space defense program is to first gain a considerable measure of control over this domain and protect satellites from malicious attacks orchestrated by adversaries. Space satellites such as Minotaur, Delta II, and Falcon 9 Full Thrust play a critical role in relaying important military correspondence, triangulation, and surveillance. Given the current contested state of space as unchartered territory, the United States has moved to reassert its dominance. The military currently partners with private companies such as SpaceX to improve its capabilities and actively working towards the realization of its space defense objectives. This has proven economical for the federal government, especially since the only focus now is on improving existing technology rather than having to develop it altogether (Bennet, 2017). Additionally, such efforts also go a long way in protecting the United States from cyber-attacks capable of crippling its military capabilities.
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Big Data Analytics
Over the course the past decade, big data emerged as one of the most noticeable hallmarks of technological innovation. This has now evolved into a growing need for the introduction of machine-learning algorithms to improve overall efficiency. Big data analytics has also been an existential force behind developments made by Google and Intel in the quest of realizing their dream of applying artificial intelligence (AI) across the board in the next decade. These particular algorithms have been instrumental to national security owing to their ability to triangulate terrorists and messages shared in private chat rooms. The near real-time (NRT) aspect of big data has been hailed for its accuracy and the primary reason why security experts now look to it to solve some of the challenges being faced currently. Through the meticulous application of analytical tools, experts are able to evaluate a treasure trove of data which may ultimately serve an important role in national defense.
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Additionally, data analytics now harnessed using a predictive framework to track the online activity of suspicious individuals with links to illegal outfits and terrorist organizations. Homeland security agents will then evaluate the information gathered to gauge the level of threat identified using semantic patterning and triangulation based on the data provided (Lozda, 2014). It is for this very reason that investors now regard big data analytics as one of the most influential trends yet with numerous benefits for those who may choose to implement it. Nevertheless, data analytics is still plagued by detractor’s criticisms of the manner in which it threatens privacy and confidentially in society.
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The Rise of Big Data Analytics
The gathering of relevant data as a precondition for national security still remains a priority for most nation-states globally. This practice has prevailed over the past seven decades and was epitomized by the Allies’ single action of breaking the code for the “Enigma” machine. Although the Allies were faced with a seemingly insurmountable task, fabled Bletchley Park mathematician and code-breaker Allan Turing was able to prevail and ultimately ending Nazi dominance in the European theatre of war (Lycett, 2015). Intelligence gathering has since morphed into a significant part of the military particularly in the United States and the primary reason why big data analytics has been embraced across the board. Although it may seem innovative, big data analytics has always been a common feature of the digital age. It is, now more than ever, regarded as one of the most important elements of national security in contemporary times given the nature of emerging challenges present. This has prompted the United States to focus keenly on cyber security and space exploration as exemplified in the recent formation of the United States Space Force (USSF). Thus, cyber-security, space defense, and big data analytics have emerged as new developments in the field and with far-reaching consequences for the nation. The following is an in-depth assessment of the aforementioned trends and concerns raised over the prevalence of big data analytics and loss of confidentiality.
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Emerging issue in Big Data Analytics
The intelligence community in the United States displays an indefatigable attitude to keeping the nation safe from both internal and external threats. After the tragic outcome of the September 11th terrorist attack, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has changed tact and now seeks to prevent such acts from being committed on American soil and its insular territories. Mitigation is now the primary mode of operation with the ultimate aim of preventing attacks and minimizing their impact by acting in time to reduce their impact. Big data analytics has, therefore, played an important role in the gathering and interpretation of information for intelligence purposes.
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Yet, big data analytics is dogged by privacy concerns in the United States. The full application of big data analytics is now linked to numerous violations and on the basic rights and liberties of citizens across the country making it a source of anxiety for many. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) had initially intended to create a workable framework to review the demeanor of American citizens and flag suspicious activity (Howard, 2013). This was viewed as a novel development which would now allow law enforcement agents to pinpoint and identify persons of interest in order to avert unforeseen circumstances. It was through this strategy that the United States sought to introduce its counterterrorism plan seeking to attain success by any necessary. Preventing potential terrorist attacks soon took precedence in the eyes of law enforcement as a feasible perspective to adopt when seeking to safeguard the general population. However, this approach is now regarded as a double-edged sword exposing citizens to possible negative impacts. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)’s framework now overrides the Federal Privacy Act of 1974 giving it the power to investigate individuals even if it meant violating their constitutional rights (Chi, 2017). Recently, it has emerged that law enforcement agencies rarely apply predictive analysis and could possibly be conducting random evaluations of individuals based on their data. This change in tact now means that a considerable population of America is subject to covert probes which may be in direct violation of their civil liberties. Big data analytics, therefore, present a slippery slope in the United States’ quest of protecting its citizens (Mariani & Loubert, 2015). Instead, the federal government should strive to establish a workable framework that creates a healthy balance between civil liberties and national security. Government policies on national security should also reflect public protection as key in instilling public confidence.
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Governments across the globe are tasked with guaranteeing their citizens of national security. Thus, the application of novel strategies aims to introduce a workable framework to guarantee public wellbeing. Cyber defense, space defense, and data analytics have emerged as top trends within the national security sector. However, the latter poses a string of privacy-related issues which infringe upon civil liberties. Addressing these concerns is, thus, key as a prerequisite to national security while building public confidence in the said initiative.
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