27 Jun 2023

Transforming Defence with Elastic AI and Data Capabilities

Mark Boschier
Transforming Defence with Elastic AI and Data Capabilities


What a time it is for data and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), with Large Language Models (LLMs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Innovation accelerating at unprecedented speed. 


Now is the time to unleash the power of data and transform how the MoD approaches cybersecurity to outpace adversaries, gain multi-domain operational efficiency, and of course, attain rapid decision-making superiority. We know cybersecurity is a data problem. We know operational observability is a data problem, and we know mission search is also a data problem. This brings me to the punch line: these are all data problems. And the most common form that these use cases tackle is unstructured data — that is, open source intelligence and troves of data in hard-to-reach places. Elastic, because of its foundation as a search platform, has been especially instrumental in helping solve these use cases for the MoD and government.


Actionable mission insights for maximum situational awareness 
Picture this: outpacing adversaries on an information-enabled battlefield, armed with actionable insights derived from data — in real time. Elastic empowers the MoD to maximise cyber situational awareness, turning the exponential rise of data into a strategic advantage. Elastic can isolate the valuable insights buried within vast quantities of information, providing the clarity and speed needed to stay one step ahead.

Breaking down silos for enhanced data accessibility
We know the struggle of dealing with data scattered in internal or contractual silos. But it doesn't have to be this way. Elastic technology breaks down those barriers, making data accessible and readily available at the edge and at the data centre. By connecting the dots and leveraging our internal expertise, we can unlock the full potential of data, enabling better collaboration, faster decision-making, and improved operational outcomes.

Retain control of your own data
Data is an organisation’s second-most valuable asset, right after dedicated people. Make sure you retain control of your own data. By embracing Elastic technology, the MoD can harness the power of data as a force multiplier, without relinquishing control of it to a third party. Elasticsearch can deliver the speed, agility, and actionable intelligence necessary for our forces to excel while thwarting any attempts of corruption or exfiltration by adversaries.

Seamless integration and real-time decision-making for operational advantage
Imagine making real-time decisions at the tactical edge, armed with a unified, data-powered technology platform. Elastic brings this vision to life, connecting sensors, decision-makers, and effectors seamlessly. Whether in garrison, a disconnected environment or across multi-domains, we can equip our warfighters with mission-critical data, eliminating silos and enabling decision dominance.

A data-centric future for defence
The future of defence lies in embracing a data-centric approach, where you can truly democratise data so that it is accessible to anyone who needs it, regardless of whether they’re a data scientist. Elastic can serve as the unified data fabric for the Defence Digital Backbone, enabling the MoD to use data frictionlessly at scale and speed.


In the ever-evolving landscape of data and technology, one critical challenge we face is harnessing the power of generative AI and LLMs while ensuring data security and maintaining control within the MoD’s own “castle walls.” It is here that Elastic proves to be an invaluable ally. With Elastic's advanced capabilities, we can seamlessly integrate and leverage LLMs within your secure infrastructure. The Elasticsearch platform provides the context and grounding from your internal data sources to bridge the gap between powerful LLMs and open-source intelligence data. By acting as a trusted intermediary, Elastic ensures that the models understand your unique organisational data context, making the outputs more accurate, relevant, actionable, and secure.

Imagine the possibilities when we combine the intelligence of large language models with the rich insights within MoD data repositories and open source intelligence. The Elasticsearch platform empowers you to tap into this transformative potential while upholding security and control. Imagine a scenario where the MoD needs to gather intelligence from a vast amount of unstructured data sources, including open-source intelligence, internal reports, and field data. Traditionally, this would be time-consuming and labour-intensive, requiring analysts to manually sift through the data to extract relevant insights. However, with Elastic technology and LLMs, the MoD can revolutionise its approach.

Furthermore, the MoD can augment its analytical capabilities in the future by integrating LLMs with the Elasticsearch platform. These models, trained on vast amounts of data, can summarise complex patterns, identify trends, and provide contextual information that aids decision-making in a user friendly way. For example, when analysing social media data for potential security threats, an LLM can summarise and aid an analyst in an investigation to detect sentiment, uncover hidden connections, and predict emerging risks.


But what about security? With Elastic, the MoD can confidently navigate the challenges of data privacy, compliance, and governance. MoD leaders don’t want highly sensitive data mixed with publicly accessible GAI — or any system where you don’t retain control of your own data. Any search query sent to a publicly available GAI product (such as ChatGPT) is consumed by the model, meaning that your internal data is no longer internal. 

To ensure your proprietary data stays within your own castle walls, strategically integrate GAI with your data in a way that your IT team can control and have insight into. When you integrate your proprietary data into a platform like Elasticsearch, which was designed to handle sensitive information, you’re able to retain full control of your own data and enable role-based access control (RBAC). Not every employee should be able to access every document, and certain data needs to reside in specific locations for data sovereignty purposes. Elasticsearch allows you to limit data access to certain roles within your organisation, while still retaining the ability to search across your entire data store.

In the near future, we envision the possibility of integrating defence-trained LLMs with Elastic, which could open up exciting opportunities for secure GAI operations within your firewalls. This integration could address your concerns about safeguarding sensitive information from external exposure. It's a potential pathway that would empower the MoD to explore the full potential of AI capabilities while keeping data security at the forefront of your efforts.


Elastic's technology can give the MoD the unique ability to bring context and grounding to LLMs within firewalls. This partnership enables you to unlock the potential of AI while maintaining control over your valuable data.


With Elastic, you can confidently navigate the evolving digital landscape and accelerate your mission with an unwavering evergreen, integrated, resilient, and secure-by-design approach.


Learn more about Elastic and the MoD by setting up a meeting with us at DSEI or getting in touch with us now.