By: Francis Henry, Analyst Consultant; Praescient Analytics
In the days following September 11th, 2001, the leaders in the Special Forces community were quick to realize the importance of intelligence and information to completing their mission. Accessing intelligence, storing it, processing it and subsequently presenting it to decision-makers would be vital to the process of allowing Special Forces Operators to get on target and defeat their enemies. The advantage that this information provided on the battlefield led to such a complete success of our Special Forces that toward the end of US SOF operations in Iraq in 2010 and 2011, members of al Qaida and other militant organizations would not oppose them on raids, but would submit to capture and deal with its consequences. At the heart of all this information, intelligence, technology, and process is a human component that is essential to making it all work.
Expert Technologists, such as Praescient analysts and engineers, play a significant role in providing the support America’s Special Forces require to accomplish their objective of dominance on the battlefield. Special Operations Personnel are all highly motivated, intelligent, and incredibly outgoing. The technologists, a group often perceived to be more thoughtful and introverted, who support them need to be exceptional as well, or challenges will obviously arise.
In modern America there is no need to relate the oft-told stories of heroism, intrepidity, and daring of our Special Forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere; suffice it to say that their reputations are well deserved. Those who know them first hand often caricaturize them into fearless, invincible superheroes with guns. Professionals of all stripes who have collaborated with these teams know this perception is false (except maybe the superhero part). The overwhelming majority of our Special Forces are bright, curious, and engaging – the types of men who could easily excel in occupations requiring extraordinary intellectual capacity. A technologist working closely with these groups doesn’t find herself dealing with the same old simple answers to simple questions. Instead, she finds herself dealing with wide reaching, complex problem sets and the constant drive to improve user and application processes. Information wins battles and saves lives, solutions and answers must be provided quickly and efficiently. Our Special Forces clients don’t need butts in seats, they need a partner. They need people who have the background and experience to understand their mission, fully integrate themselves into the community, and provide immediate results.
Praescient analysts excel in this arena. Our team members are handpicked from top analysts across all fields. They’re experts at what they do – competent, confident, and highly skilled. They’re given additional training to ensure they are subject matter experts across the entire spectrum of data, technology, and more, because sometimes a problem set doesn’t have clear boundaries. Working in Special Operations they might be working on a situation in Iraq today, while tomorrow they might be analyzing geopolitical concerns in Central Africa or tracking ships in an entirely maritime environment. That becomes impossible if you don’t know your area of expertise inside and out and also have a clear understanding of the full range of problems the client faces.
Praescient’s partners, whether they are Special Forces, local law enforcement, or even in the world of banking, need the right answers and they need them right away. We know that it’s the human edge that makes this possible and our team members work with the same dedication and fervor that our clients do. Utilizing information can yield powerful insight. Data can often be the difference between success and failure. In the world of business it saves time, effort, and money. For the Special Forces there is no question that it saves lives. Data by itself does nothing — only by finding the right person can information start to work for you. It is the human element that turns raw data into actionable insight.