Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) will not say whether it has implemented Six Sigma as a way to improve its fight against terrorism, there is plenty of talk about the topic. Although there are many challenges associated with setting up Six Sigma in government agencies, experts believe that it could be used in thousands of homeland security projects.
One specific example given where Six Sigma techniques would be a benefit is in deciphering information that floods into the CIA on a daily basis. Intercepted emails, phone calls, and applications to flight schools that are now closely monitored are all a part of the information collection process. If an email is intercepted that hints to an attack on a bridge, the CIA must make a decision as to the seriousness of this threat. If this email has to go through 50 steps or decision nodes to determine the credibility of the information, that is 50 chances that an error can be made. If there are 60 such emails or letters received each day, then there are now 300 opportunities for error.
Decision nodes within the CIA average 99.38 percent accuracy, which is a Four Sigma Level. If improved to Six Sigma standards, the accuracy's accuracy grows to 99.99966 percent, meaning only one in 294,000 pieces of security information will be mistakenly discarded. With Six Sigma, you will see a 99.9 percent chance that all of those 300 decisions will be accurate on a given day, and 97 percent in a month. With Four Sigma, you are looking at a 15 percent accuracy rating for a day. When lives are at risk, this difference in accuracy is hard to ignore.