Potomac Officers Club’s 2021 Intel Summit Features Doug Cossa, Saurin Shah, La’Naia Jones in Elastic Data Panel

Potomac Officers Club hosted its 7th Annual Intel Summit on Thursday to bring together the members of the federal sector and government contracting (GovCon) industry to learn more about how intelligence officials incorporate cutting-edge technology and techniques to gather intelligence, combat adversaries and push through the latest initiatives for the future.

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Following an opening keynote address from Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, an expert panel featuring some of the top names in the intelligence community discussing mission software, additional keynotes from Ryan Young and Dr. Susan Durham, Potomac Officers Club continued to its second expert panel of its Intel Summit.

If you missed the 7th Annual Intel Summit from POC, check out PotomacOfficersClub.com, where you can watch the full Summit and other events on-demand.

The expert panel moderator Mike Barretta, manager of IC Solution Architecture for Elastic, first introduced the concept of “data utility,” which he described as an uncommon term. He explained that the intelligence community’s IT environment is a ten-year old concept with the strategic goal of getting the right people, the right information at the right time.

As Barretta set the stage for the featured panel discussion on elastic data and improving data utility, he introduced Doug Cossa of the DIA, Saurin Shah of Booz Allen and the NSA’s La’Naia Jones as the panelists to the virtual audience. In their opening remarks, each panelist gave a brief breakdown of their career history and their thoughts on the greater challenges in intel data today.

DIA CIO Doug Cossa was the first panelist introduced. He opened the conversation with a look into his career history around data science and how it’s evolved over recent years. Cossa began to define data utility as “the value of data for particular statistical purposes.” He described a perfect world where that data is easily accessible and easy to leverage.

“I would say now more than ever that we are more integrated as an IC, not only in data, but the underlying infrastructure side, especially as we merge into the hybrid cloud multi-cloud environment,” Cossa explained. “That’s where we actually do a number of data services and leverage that infrastructure to perform those functions.”

La’Naia Jones, deputy CIO for the NSA, took the stage after Doug Cossa. Her opening remarks touched on her background and she continued the conversation about utilizing data as a utility in the intelligence sector. She said that her definition of “data utility” would include the flexibility and agility to create data and use it appropriately.

“I think the more that we’re able to benefit from using the data multiple times significantly increases its value because we’re able to mitigate some redundancies as well as have a better understanding how to get the most out of the information we have available,” Jones explained.

Jones continued that we have to look at the expanse of our data, but also how we can make smarter decisions to use the data as opposed to looking at it just holistically.

As the third panelist, Booz Allen VP Saurin Shah was introduced to continue the expert panel discussion. For Shah, he mentioned that the topic of data utility doesn’t mean developing a silver bullet. His opening remarks were about data integration and the fusion of several sources of data that drive the answers to our questions and drive the solutions.

“How do we make that data discoverable and accessible? How do we ensure the workforces have the right computational skills to process that volume of data, right,” Shah asked the audience and fellow panelists.

Shah explained that once machine learning and artificial intelligence comes into the picture, we need to understand that kind of lineage and data flow of how our analysts arrived at that answer specifically. Just like we’d ask a human being to share their work on a complex math problem.

The expert panel featuring Doug Cossa, Saurin Shah and La’Naia Jones continued into the topic of mobilization efforts, the patterns in decision making and a continued discussion about the concept of data utility and elastic data.

Visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to watch the full Intel Summit and other POC events on-demand. You can also learn more about becoming a Potomac Officers Club member.

On Wednesday, October 27th, Potomac Officers Club will host its Winning With the Network: Securing Data in Motion to the Tactical Edge Forum, as part of its JADC2 Series to explore how DoD and its commercial partners are leveraging 5G, mesh networking, software-defined networking, edge connectivity, AI-enabled network configuration and other advanced technologies to create more resilient, robust networks.

Khalid Syed of Booz Allen Hamilton will moderate a panel discussion featuring Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt of the U.S. Air Force and Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey of Army Futures Command to examine how federal defense agencies are bolstering network capabilities to combat adversaries in electronic warfare, cyber and advanced kinetic weapons areas.

Visit PotomacOfficersClub.com to register for the platform’s Winning With the Network: Securing Data in Motion to the Tactical Edge Forum on Oct. 27th.

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