recommended reading

Intelligence director urges IT overhaul

The U.S. intelligence community must undergo fundamental cultural and organizational changes, including an overhaul of its information technology systems, to adapt to increasing globalization, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Comment on this article in The Forum.The community is "engaged in a dynamic global environment, in which the pace, scale and complexity of change are unprecedented," Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said in a forward to the "Vision 2015" report. "It is a networked world where what happens in Peshawar affects Peoria -- and vice versa. Risks are often unforeseen and threats are hidden and agile, making the job of intelligence professionals more critical and more challenging."

McConnell said that to succeed in this world, the intelligence community has to: develop capabilities to address cyber space challenges, put customer service first, draw on the capabilities of all the intelligence agencies for specific missions, develop a system that delivers information when and where it is needed, and integrate housekeeping systems such as budget and finance.

Among other recommendations, the report called for a radical transformation of information technology systems from stovepipe systems that serve individual agencies to a unified system that would "provide seamless access to all intelligence information, tools and processes across multiple agencies and databases."

A backbone network would hold the new system together. It would be connected to a "cloud" of computers that provide data storage and other services to users on demand from a central point, in much the way central power plants operated by a utility company deliver power. Commercial enterprises and the Defense Information Systems Agency already have developed cloud computer architecture.

The system also would provide support to a new generation of employees described in the report as "digital natives." These employees grew up receiving most of their news electronically over the Internet, have used a cell phone most of their lives and are savvy enough to rapidly access and evaluate information in the public domain.

To serve these tech-savvy users, the intelligence community plans to develop channel managers to give specific employees the information they need, when they need it, the report said.

Collaboration would be the linchpin of the new system, and no single agency would be able to claim ownership rights to information, the report said. Collaboration would be enhanced by expertise registries that would identify intelligence analysts by specialty and focus, and route requests for information to the analyst best equipped to provide it.

The report conceded that such a drastic shift in the culture and structure of the intelligence community will meet resistance "on the basis that it is unnecessary, risky or faddish." But, the report stated, "Although change is disconcerting by its very nature, the changes in this vision are necessary for our continued success and the defense of our nation."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.