This summer UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon established the Independent Expert Advisory Group (IAEG) to provide concrete recommendations on how to achieve a Data Revolution for sustainable development. The IEAG report – due in early November – will be a crucial opportunity to explain how better quality and more timely data can transform development. The group is also looking for innovative approaches to data collection, publication, and use.
To solicit input from all communities of practice – particularly academia – the IAEG is hosting a public consultation at undatarevolution.org to solicit input into its work until October 15, 2015. In spite of the short notice, we strongly encourage you to submit your ideas and suggestions for the data revolution. Please share this message widely and provide your comments on the IEAG website.
“While taxpayer dollars flowed into your coffers, no one considered it a problem that the country lacked 17 overlapping outfits bent on preventing approximately 400,000 deaths by firearms in the same years; nor 17 interlocked agencies dedicated to safety on our roads, where more than 450,000 Americans have died since 9/11”
What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters. You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities. Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for… well, the salacious hell of it. Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of “spycraft” gains its own name: LOVEINT.
It never occurred to me, when I lost the first bureaucratic battle on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) in 1992, that my innate sense of integrity [do the right thing] would lead me to resign from the Marine Corps civil service in 1993 as a very young GM-14, and spend not five, not ten, but twenty years wandering in the wilderness helping over 66 governments and over 7,500 mid-career officers get a grip on sources and methods the traditional secret services refused to consider and the traditional consumers of intelligence did not know how to do. Of all my student bodies, the USA was the worst, remaining ignorant at the leadership level, helpless at the follower level–butts in seats, no brain required. Hence, as we approach a historic turning point, the possibility that we might have a Secretary of State and a Secretary of Defense that can actually get a grip on reality together, I thought it might be useful to offer up three things I have learned during my 20-year walk-about:
There is a lot of waste in the defense budget, much of it inserted by Congress for pork reasons, but DoD is also used to mask many other non-Defense programs, not just intelligence but in energy, health, foreign aid, etcetera. Breaking the bargain with military retirees on health care is both a major betrayal, and a window into an alternative, a national health care service that does not pay full price for pharmaceutical that rarely work.
WASHINGTON–One war is done, another is winding down and the calls to cut the deficit are deafening. The military, a beneficiary of robust budgets for more than a decade, is coming to grips with a new reality — fewer dollars.
The election accelerated an already shifting political dynamic that next year will pair a second-term Democratic president searching for spending cuts with tea partyers and conservatives intent on preserving lower tax rates above all else, even if it means once unheard of reductions in defense.
President Barack Obama and Congress have just a few weeks to figure out how to avert the automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs totaling $110 billion next year. Those reductions are part of the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and the across-the-board cuts that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned would be devastating to the military.