Why not a Manhattan Project for Data?


So, driving in to work the other day, I hear a discussion of the Christmas Day attempted terrorist bombing on NPR.  The guy being interviewed begins to describe the problems with data integration at the federal government level.  He talks about TWENTY-EIGHT different networks that had to be accessed in order to comprehensively review security information not so long ago.  Things are better now, but as a former federal employee, I can assure you that it probably isn’t better by much. 

Here’s my point:  Back during WWII, the government brought together the greatest scientific minds of the time to work on the Manhattan Project.  The end result was the atomic bomb.  Now, imagine if they did the same thing for their data today?  I say, bring together the rock stars of our industry, throw those 28 networks/databases on the whiteboard, and let them have at it.  That project would do more for our national security than just about any other investment we could make. 

And the coolest thing?  Maybe they give it a code name that is pure awesome.  Maybe someday, they make a movie about it.  Imagine Brad Pitt, in his role as Itzik Ben-Gan, debating architecture with Diane Lane, in her Oscar-worthy portrayal of Kimberly Tripp… tell me you wouldn’t pay $8 to see that.  And okay, fine.  Maybe I have this weird fantasy of being called in to some nondescript government office in the middle of the night and being asked to join this yet-to-be named project.  And maybe I hope that I’ll get some cool CIA code name.  And maybe, just maybe, I’m hoping for Jennifer Connelly to play me.

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