Peter Thiel’s data company Palantir will develop a new intelligence platform for the US Army


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Peter Thiel’s data mining company Palantir Technologies has won a US Army contract to develop an intelligence platform that will replace an aging system that the Army currently used to collect and disseminate information, according to Bloomberg Technology.


The Army will pay Palantir and defense contractor Raytheon $876 million over the next decade to develop a replacement for the Distributed Common Ground System, says Bloomberg. That system is used by the various branches of the US military to interpret intelligence from a variety of platforms “spanning all echelons from space to mud,” according to the US Army.


Battlefields are complicated areas, and since the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq, the military has grappled with the need to take all of the disparate sources of information gathered through intelligence, battlefield, or reconnaissance surveillance, and bring them together in a cohesive, useful fashion for commanders to use. The system has grown since it was first introduced in the mid-1990s, and the Army has introduced new means of information gathering, such as drones or new aircraft. Some soldiers using the system have complained that it hasn’t kept up with technology and isn’t as effective.


Palantir has had its eye on battlefield intelligence systems for some time, testing some products in the field in as early as 2012. While those products had some shortcomings, it has appealed to soldiers by being easier to use than the existing DCGS. In 2015, the military began to look for contractors to help upgrade DCGS, and Palantir sued the Army, saying that it had not been considered as a potential contractor. A judge ruled in Palantir’s favor in 2016, allowing the company to bid for the project. The company also successfully sued the US Navy in 2017 over its procurement processes.


Founded in 2004 by Thiel and Alex Karp, Palantir already holds a number of contracts with the various government agencies, military branches, and municipal governments to collect intelligence data for law enforcement or disaster recovery purposes. In 2016, documents revealed that the company worked with the US Customs and Border Protection in an undisclosed role to track information on immigrants and travelers, while The Verge reported last month that the company has secretly tested its predictive software in New Orleans.


Peter Thiel’s data company Palantir will develop a new intelligence platform for the US Army