Department of Defence chief technology officer (CTO) Matt Yannopoilos today said Defence was being beaten in Afghanistan by enemies accessing information quickly via iPhones.
CTO Matt Yannopoilos
At the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Canberra Branch conference this morning, Yannopoilos said "bad guys" in the war-torn country were making better use of available data by "using iPhones and applications — and multiple SIM cards — and going much faster than we are", despite the fact that Defence had more intelligence at its fingertips.
"Information is what is the thing to sort out in a modern warfare," he said. "It's less about how much lead [metal] you can rain down on somebody and more about: Do you know where they are? Do you know what they are doing? And how do you get that information to your forces?"
Defence currently has around 4500 applications storing data, and a range of data warehouses gleaning information from various sources such as sensors, ships, aeroplanes and radars, according to Yannopoilos.
"Defence is one almighty information collection machine. It generates more info than I've ever seen," he said.
However, Defence's information was stuck between "silos" of data, with most of it going unused unless someone happened to be looking at it carefully, he said. In the future, Defence hopes to have data that is not separated into application silos so that it can be used by other applications when required.
Yannapoilos said people had to be more disciplined around the way they stored information. "It's something we've got to do, otherwise we're not going to realise our network-centric objectives, and we're not going to realise the information superiority that we have."
He also hoped in the future to be able to develop applications quickly to fit Defence needs, pointing out that while creating an iPhone application might take two weeks, developing a Defence application can take two years.