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data management

Managing Change in the
 Intelligence Community

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

A new computing architecture emphasizes shared resources.

The nation’s intelligence community has embarked on a path toward a common computer desktop and a cloud computing environment designed to facilitate both timely sharing of information and cost savings. The implementation could result in budget savings of 20 to 25 percent over existing information technology spending within six years, but the ramifications could include large cultural changes that result both in lost jobs and business for industry partners.

Al Tarasiuk, chief intelligence officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), explains that the changes will be difficult. Agency employees, and the vendors who help operate and manage information technology for the 17 agencies composing the nation’s intelligence apparatus, will feel the effects of the cost cuts.

“Right now, technology is not our biggest risk. The culture change is our biggest risk, and that extends to our industry partners. We have a lot of industry employed in the community through service contracts and other things. They could help, or they could choose not to help,” Tarasiuk emphasizes, candidly describing the pivotal role of these firms in a transition that could spell the loss of both business and jobs. “They know, and I’ve been very open with them, that we’re not going to need the pool of resources of people that we have today to manage what we have in the future.”

Writing
 a New Spy School
 Syllabus

October 1, 2012
By Max Cacas

The National Intelligence University prepares for its fifth decade with a shift in focus and a change in venue.

The National Intelligence University, which provides advanced training to U.S. intelligence professionals, is transitioning from an institution primarily focused on the U.S. Defense Department to one serving the entire intelligence community. This reflects the new emphasis toward sharing and collaboration within the nation's intelligence apparatus.

To make the change a reality, National Intelligence University (NIU) leaders are rethinking and expanding the educational programs the institution offers. Plans also are underway to relocate the university to its own new campus in the very near future—in part to bolster its perception as an intelligence community strategic resource.

Dr. David R. Ellison, president of the NIU, says that the change began with the appointment of James Clapper as the director of National Intelligence in 2010. “Director Clapper recognized that if we were going to have a National Intelligence University in the intelligence community, the best place to start was with an accredited institution that had already achieved success in an academic area,” Ellison explains. He adds that Clapper went on to draft a memorandum to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, defining education as a force multiplier and a tool that must be used to the advantage of the entire intelligence community.

“What he envisioned was that the then-National Intelligence College would become the National Intelligence University, and it would provide accredited education, academic research and academic outreach to the intelligence community as a whole,” Ellison points out.

Intelligence CIOs Teaming for Change

October 1, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman

New common goals open doors for more efficient approaches to information sharing.

Technological and cultural barriers are falling away as intelligence community organizations strive to establish a collaborative environment for sharing vital information. This thrust may be a case of an urgent need overcoming traditional obstacles as onetime rival groups embrace cooperation with the goal of building a synergistic information realm.

This effort comprises several initiatives that range from establishing a common information interface to moving to the cloud. Along with programs to meet technological challenges, the thrust has changed relationships among agencies and even the nature of some intelligence organizations.

These initiatives have brought the FBI back into the core of intelligence community information sharing. For several years, the bureau has been migrating toward becoming a domestic intelligence organization concurrent with its law enforcement activities. It faces different hurdles than those confronted by defense-oriented intelligence agencies, but some of the solutions realized by the bureau might be applied across the intelligence community.

Other organizations in the intelligence community are weighing different options. Their chief information officers (CIOs) are dealing with the challenges inherent in sharing information across organizational lines, but with different approaches that may based in part on whether they largely are the collectors or the processors. Regardless, the information technology element of the intelligence community is becoming more integrated, says Grant M. Schneider, deputy director for information management and CIO at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Claraview Receives System Life Cycle Support Contract

November 30, 2011
By George Seffers

Claraview, a division of Teradata, Reston, Virginia, was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract not-to-exceed ceiling price of $27,016,520 for continuation of system life cycle support services for data management/enterprise data warehouse/business intelligence environments. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

Jacobs to Support Special Operations Information Technology

November 10, 2010
By George Seffers

Jacobs Technologies Incorporated, Tampa, Florida, is being awarded a $139 million contract for information technology service management in support of U.S. Special Operations Command.  The contractor will provide information technology support services to assist the command's information technology management office with the management of the enterprise networks, data management, distributed computing, specialty services, application management, communications, evolutionary technology insertion and other aspects of the command information enterprise.

Industry, Government Team To Move Masses of Tax Data

February 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

The Internal Revenue Service is adopting a mission-oriented approach to designing its new agencywide information infrastructure. Instead of focusing on information technology, the modernized system will be business-centered to ensure that it directly addresses the agency's requirement to manage mountains of data while collecting over $1 trillion in annual tax revenues.

Commercial Software Offers Storage, Retrieval Solutions to Federal Agencies

February 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Federal agencies with specialized image archival requirements are meeting their storage and retrieval needs by maximizing the capabilities of software first used by Hollywood's entertainment industry. Government organizations with large image databases can use this software, which employs innovative search techniques, to help analysts sift through incalculable amounts of digital information. The software eliminates typical problems involved in tracking important reference material and can assist agencies by also housing information gathered from analysis of image files.

Cleansing Emerges as Trend In Data Warehouse Efforts

February 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Organizations that rely on large amounts of data are increasingly employing data cleansing techniques to ensure accuracy and efficiency by scrubbing data that has been polluted at the source or on its way to a data warehouse.

Visualizing Information Emerges As Major Element of Operations

February 1999
By Robert K. Ackerman

Data visualization, where information is displayed in recognizable graphic elements, increasingly is moving into mainstream applications as a remedy for information overload. As computer users find growing amounts of gigabytes at their fingertips, system engineers are returning display perspectives to everyday three-dimensional visages that are comprehended faster and more readily.

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