Israel Merges Intel Corps with Tech Units to Form Purple Unit to Develop Data Systems

  • Our Bureau
  • 12:41 PM, January 5, 2018
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Israel Merges Intel Corps with Tech Units to Form Purple Unit to Develop Data Systems
IDF Field Intelligence Corps' Recruits Graduation Ceremony (Image: Wikimedia Commons via Flickr)

Israel defense forces (IDF) has merged the intelligence corps and the field intelligence technology units to form Unit 3060 (called Purple Unit) and will be responsible for developing data systems for intelligence officers.

The unit includes a data science laboratory and dozens of technology specialists from various branches of the army and collaborates closely with academia and high-tech companies in the data sector, Globes reported Friday.

“The need for a data science laboratory stemmed from the fact that Israel has very few data science specialists with deep enough training and that this shortfall was by no means unique to Israel. Worldwide there is a shortfall of 200,000 data scientists so that that the demand here is extremely acute," eBay Israel chief scientist and director of data Kira Radinsky who participated in the unveiling of Unit 3060 was quoted by the news portal as saying. She collaborates with the Unit's data science laboratory as an academic.

At present the few academics that there are in Israel specializing in the field are instructing the elite graduates of prestigious IDF training programs like Mamram, Psagot, Talpiot and others - and creating the first group of experts for the IDF laboratory so that it can pass on the data to the army personnel themselves. "They have already made impressive achievements in the field," Radinsky added.

The unit stresses big data - gathering the biggest amounts of intelligence possible, processing it and presenting it in the most effective way to commanders in various sectors, managing opening fire, maneuvers, protecting borders and secret operations. The system interfaces with other technological systems that serve the commanders.

The types of data that the intelligence systems are required to cope with are diverse: stills photographs, video clips from drones, text messages and more. In order to cope with the different types of data the system is required to implement interpreting images, research geographic data, analyze assault decision making, analyze threats in maneuvers, updates and alerts and monitor developments in real-time.

Through machine learning and artificial intelligence, the system can form a picture of the enemy, analyze terrain, and construct an image of targets. A senior officer in the unit said, "Every target attacks comes from our system. The system does not replace the decision making of intelligence officers - but actually analyzes the data - supporting decisions and supporting processes."

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