Predictive Analytics: A New Tool for the Intelligence Community

By Kristen Jordan

Kristen Jordan is a Program Manager currently overseeing the Bio-Intelligence Chips (BIC) and Mercury programs. Her research interests include analytics, event detection, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), specifically in the areas of chemical and biological warfare, and emerging biotechnology. Jordan is researching novel ways to analyze large streams of data to detect societal level events to include disease outbreak, civil unrest, and military activities. Before joining IARPA, Jordan was the Deputy National SIGINT Intelligence Officer for WMD at the National Security Agency (NSA) as well a chemical and biological warfare analyst. Jordan worked overseas as a WMD analyst in Iraq and wrote the final report on the Iraqi WMD program for the White House. Jordan received her Ph.D. in Toxicological Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University with an emphasis on inhalational toxicology and immunosuppression. She completed postdoctoral work in chemical risk assessment at the University of Florida and worked as a toxicological consultant before entering the federal government.

The world has seen an enormous surge in the amount of data available, particularly human-generated digital exhaust from our Internet and communications habits. But only a small portion of this data is actually useful for security professionals. The U.S. Intelligence Community is hard pressed to find new tools to assist in navigating this expansive sea of data, cutting though the noise to find valuable insight into national security events, and in turn, policy-making. The Cipher Brief spoke with Kristen Jordan, a Program Manager at the Intelligence Advanced Researched Projects Activity (IARPA), about their Mercury program, which uses data analytics to forecast potential security events.

The Cipher Brief: Could you explain the Mercury program at IARPA? How did it come about and what does it seek to accomplish?

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