Q&A with Steve Fehr
Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, SAP NS2
Steve Fehr talks to us about how corruption is a significant threat to governments and their security, and how advances in big data analytics are making a difference.
Can you start by explaining the work SAP NS2 does?
SAP National Security Services, Inc. (SAP NS2®) is an independent U.S. subsidiary of SAP, focused on providing the full portfolio of SAP technology, services, support and cloud computing services to the national security and critical infrastructure communities.
What role does corruption play in national and international security?
The biggest impact corruption has on national and international security is the erosion of trust between government, private enterprise and the citizens of the country and international community. Whether it is a lack of trust in a national or local election, or a culture and climate of bribery and special favors, the breakdown of confidence in the institutions of government leads to civil unrest. This civil conflict and lack of trust can be manipulated to create safe havens where terrorists, criminal groups and other bad actors can operate and spread further civil discourse and create serious security challenges.
What form of corruption do you consider the most significant threat to US Security?
Public corruption poses the most significant threat to U.S. national security. Whether it is procurement fraud in the government contracting process, the filing of fraudulent claims for social services or medical claims, or bribery of border control agents, this corruption all weakens U.S. security. Tax dollars are siphoned from intended uses because of deceit, waste and abuse in social and government health care programs; weakened border security increases vulnerability to drug smuggling, human trafficking and potential infiltration by terrorist organizations. All these public corruption areas degrade and weaken US security and cost the government billions of dollars annually.
How do you understand the relationship between technology and anti-corruption efforts?
Technology can be used as a tool in the fight against corruption. It must be coupled with cultural change, increased government transparency and strong enforcement policy and practices. It can be used to identify and localize patterns of fraud and corruption, and with recent advancements, can apply machine learning and advanced analytical techniques to perhaps predict where deception could occur to help get in front of the fight. Technology can be an enabler, but it is not the total answer.
Can you give one example of innovation in data analytics which you feel has made a big difference in the global fight against corruption?
Two examples come to mind. The first is identifying fraud, waste and abuse in federal and state administration of social services programs. This is an area where thousands and thousands of claims are filed requesting various benefits and payments, especially in government health care programs. Big Data Analytics is used today to analyze and identify fraudulent claims, saving government hundreds of millions of dollars.
Another example is in the capture and analysis of open source information such as social media feeds and other publicly available information to geo-locate potential corruption activity. Social media platforms are a great tool which allow every citizen to identify cases of fraud and exploitation they encounter in real time every day, and the big data analytics can be used to correlate to historical information and spot trends and identify unethical activity and perpetrators.
Why did NS2 decide to support the Shield in the Cloud award?
NS2 is proud to be a sponsor of the PeaceTech Accelerator program. The mission of peacetech is to reduce violent conflict and promote sustainable peace, using new innovative technology and data. This is very important to us. We also recognize the need to apply technology to help fight corruption and enable transparent governance as corruption corrodes stability and peace. The Shield in the Cloud initiative takes advantage of the ubiquity of cloud computing to let anyone with a good idea build a solution to tackle the challenge of corruption. We at SAP have world-class technology that is being used today by governments around the world to root out corruption, and through our partnership with AWS we want to make that same technology available to creative people worldwide to develop the next set of solutions to fight corruption and promote transparency and good governance.
Join C5 Accelerate, PeaceTech Lab, Amazon Web Services and SAP NS2 in setting the global agenda for anti-corruption innovation by applying to the Shield in the Cloud Innovation Challenge. The challenge sets out to find the most innovative anti-corruption solutions worldwide. For more information please visit www.c5accelerate.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org