Finding needle in a haystack: IARPA searches for ways to find and track foreign ships at sea

WASHINGTON, 20 Nov. 2014. U.S. intelligence experts are trying come to grips with thorny issues like international arms smuggling, nuclear materials exchanges, and inter-continental illegal drug trafficking with one of today's most difficult surveillance challenges: finding and tracking foreign ships at sea.

Finding needle in a haystack: IARPA searches for ways to find and track foreign ships at sea
Finding needle in a haystack: IARPA searches for ways to find and track foreign ships at sea
WASHINGTON, 20 Nov. 2014. U.S. intelligence experts are trying come to grips with thorny issues like international arms smuggling, nuclear materials exchanges, and inter-continental illegal drug trafficking with one of today's most difficult surveillance challenges: finding and tracking foreign ships at sea.

It's the age-old problem of finding a needle in a haystack, writ large over the world's oceans that cover roughly three-quarters of the planet's surface -- a mind-boggling expanse that comprises about 139 million square miles and stretches ship-tracking capabilities to the limit.

It's a big job, to say the least, and government experts are asking for help from industry and academia to take on this challenge.

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Officials of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) in Washington issued a request for information notice this week (IARPA-RFI-14-09) for the Maritime Tagging, Tracking, & Locating (TTL) project.

TTL, which may represent a future IARPA program, is asking for industry ideas for technologies remotely to tag, track, and locate foreign ships at sea. The open notice is thin on technological details.

The core of the TTL request for information is contained in classified documents available only to those with appropriate security clearances. IARPA is the research arm of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.

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IARPA encourages eligible parties to obtain the classified RFI and provide a submission based on the more detailed information provided there.

Responses may help IARPA experts identify promising technological areas for investment through programs, small studies, and a potential workshop on maritime tracking technologies.

Companies interested should email unclassified responses in .pdf form no later than 16 Jan. 2015 at dni-iarpa-rfi-14-09@iarpa.gov.

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Those who wish to submit classified responses should coordinate with Terry Gillum, chief of IARPA security, who is available by email at terry.gillum@iarpa.gov , or by phone at 301-851-7580.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/102bfb9a4b4d65bc58b3a1dec4bdd0c9.

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