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


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

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

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.


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