IARPA and the Virtual Long Tail

FACT: This week, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, an arm of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), launched its new unclassified website.  What’s there is initially fairly minimal, but they’ll be adding to the public information posted there regularly.

ANALYSIS:  I spent the week in Orlando, as a Keynote speaker at the IARPA “Incisive Analysis Conference.”  I’ll be writing a little more about the conference in the near future, as I saw some great demo’s and spoke to the principal investigators on many excellent and far-sighted advanced research projects sponsored by IARPA.  It was great to be there and to see so many old friends from the intelligence community, the national labs (PNNL, Sandia, Oak Ridge, Livermore), DoD, and innovative commercial R&D outfits.  Also, as the first IARPA conference since the organization’s launch, it was an opportunity to hear new director Lisa Porter communicate her vision and principles, which she did well and I’ll discuss those soon as well.  (She also kidded me about my efforts to make her a cultural phenomenon, but I blamed it on WIRED magazine.)

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The IC’s Own Geek Superheroine

FACT: According to the law establishing the new position, the Director of National Intelligence is charged with “the recruitment and training of women, minorities, and individuals with diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds,” as a way of broadening the personnel base on which the nation relies for intelligence analysis.

ANALYSIS: I’ve noticed that one of the single-most-viewed posts in this six-month-old blog has been my early profile of Dr. Lisa Porter, when she was appointed the first director of IARPA, the advanced-tech crowd for the intelligence community.

I can tell that the large volume of hits isn’t from my normal reader crowd, but comes in from search results. There was another uptick of hits on that old post this week, driven by searchers using Google and Live Search, and I believe it’s because WIRED magazine has its own profile of Porter in its new edition, the one with “Apple: Evil/Genius” on the cover.

The new profile, while short, doesn’t mind taking advantage of her apparently unexpected good looks; it begins, “Picture Q as a tall blonde woman with an American accent, and you’ve got Porter. Lisa Porter.”

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