RAND Designs Concept for a Computer Network and Database to Help Intelligence Community "Connect the Dots"
Nov 17, 2004
Finding Hidden Threats by Analyzing Unusual Behavior
Published Oct 14, 2004
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This monograph presents a unique approach to “connecting the dots” in intelligence – selecting and assembling disparate pieces of information to produce a general understanding of a threat. Modeled after key thought processes used by successful and proactive problem solvers to identify potential threats, the Atypical Signal Analysis and Processing (ASAP) schema described in this document identifies out-of-the-ordinary, atypical behavior that is potentially related to terror activity; seeks to understand the behavior by putting it into context; generates and tests hypotheses about what the atypical behavior might mean; and prioritizes the results, focusing analysts’ attention on the most significant atypical findings. In addition to discussing the schema, the authors describe a supporting conceptual architecture and present specific techniques for identifying and analyzing out-of-the-ordinary information. An appendix presents the scenario for a hypothetical terrorist attack, describes the events leading up to the “attack,” and shows how ASAP could have been used to help intelligence analysts identify the threat.