US wants to develop a new technology to detect weapons of mass destruction threat activity

US wants to develop a new technology to detect weapons of mass destruction threat activity
detect weapons of mass destruction threat activity

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office has tasked BAE Systems to develop a new advanced analytics technology that will assist the US Armed Forces to detect and deter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) activity worldwide.

New commercially available technologies—such as 3-D printing, small-scale chemical reactors for pharmaceuticals, and CRISPR gene-manipulation tools—have opened wide access to scientific exploration. However, in the wrong hands, these capabilities could be misused to concoct chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) WMD in small quantities and in form factors that are hard to detect.

The technology is expected to leverage on multiple data sources and to use data fusion methodology, adversary modelling, pattern matching, and machine learning (ML) to identify indications of CBRNE threats.

The research team team will partner with Barnstorm Research and Washington State University to develop a technology solution called MATCH (Multi-info Alerting of Threat CBRNE Hypotheses).

The platform will automatically populate a world graph using multiple sensor and multi-source data to provide data experts and analyst visibility into threat activities in a region. MATCH will then create hypotheses based on the data generated to identify and determine CBRNE threats.

“The goal of SIGMA+ is to develop and demonstrate a real-time, persistent CBRNE early detection system by leveraging advances in sensing, data fusion, analytics, and social and behavioral modeling to address a spectrum of threats,” said Vincent Tang, SIGMA+ program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO). “To achieve this, we’ve pulled together a team of DARPA program managers who bring expertise in chemistry, biology, data analytics, and social science to address the broad and complex CBRNE space.”

“Our technology aims to help analysts close the loop between the analysis of information and the collection of new information to fill in the gaps and provide a comprehensive picture of a potential threat,” said Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group at BAE Systems. “Most importantly, our solution automates a process that is currently manually intensive, improving an analyst’s ability to quickly and accurately identify CBRNE activity and ultimately, helping to protect our country from these significant dangers.”

Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org

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