Employing Data Fusion in Cultural Analysis and Counterinsurgency in Tribal Social Systems
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"The point of this essay has been to outline ways that data fusion may be achieved, and how it can dramatically enhance the analytical capabilities of cultural analysts, especially in tribal social systems. By using Visual Analytics theory and technology to conduct the labor intensive aspects of data fusion, and accepting the theoretical justification of fusion between the geospatial, relational, and temporal data dimensions, the field of Cultural Analysis seems poised to make a major contribution to COIN [Counterinsurgency] doctrine. The software developers racing to fill this technological need include I2, Access Pro, and a company called Palantir Technologies, which has proven especially well suited for data fusion during the author's ongoing analysis of the Omani tribal system, and is discussed in detail by Hartunian and Germann (2008). However, these software advances must also be accompanied by two caveats. The first is that, no matter how powerful or versatile the technology, a deep understanding of the social system will always depend on 'expert opinion familiar with the culture, indoctrination procedures, and institutional foundations' that lend significance to relationships, as well as the skill, intuition, and innovation of the analyst/collector."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Fall 2009), v.3 no.3
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