The right information, at the right time, to make the right call. That’s the mission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Intelligence Analysis (I&A)—to equip the Homeland Security Enterprise with the intelligence and information it needs to keep the homeland safe, secure, and resilient. This includes providing information technology (IT) capabilities—driven by the DHS’ Chief Information Officer (CIO)—needed to get the job done.
When Booz Allen began its support for DHS CIO it was quickly realized that the traditional IT development model, which worked for longer term development efforts, was not suited for the time-critical world of I&A where immediate solutions are needed to identify critical threats and leads.
Enter the Analytic Innovation Cell (AIC). Booz Allen created an elite team of data scientists, intelligence analysts, and IT developers who work together in a collaborative lab at DHS I&A. These pros combine expertise to discover the most precise intelligence information about possible threats to our country. They are hungry problem solvers, armed with a mission from the DHS CIO to be “disruptive agents for innovation” that can lead to stronger national security.
The AIC developed methods, tools, and processes to solve specific, pressing analytic problems. This approach is different from traditional IT development because the AIC’s mission is not to build a system, but to solve the analytic question of the hour. The AIC leveraged existing tools, introduced open source tools, and built custom tools, when needed. Over time, this approach enabled the AIC to develop a library of simple, yet highly effective, modular tools that combined with the right methodologies and analytic insights could be used by a wide array of analysts.