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I thought I would wow the crowd with my observation that all those drones the US is flying around the world must be generating huge amounts of data, but Wired beat me to it: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/big-data/ .
The amount of money being devoted to Big Data by the government may not be huge compared to many commercial efforts, but the thing about spending on DoD projects is that they have a well know tendency to expand, and almost never contract. And I suspect once they start going down this road, and they presumably see the value of analytics, this will expand big time.
I think its a positive, but indirectly. Much like the government's support of cloud computing validated the approach for many private sector orgs on the sidelines, well-publicized use of Big Data (whether it leads to benefits or not) will encourage businesses to do the same. --Paul Calento