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October 2012

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).

A Different Type of
 Self-Forming Network

October 1, 2012
By Rita Boland

People, not necessarily technology, come together in a plan to foster creativity in acquisition.

The head of technology information at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization has initiated a plan to improve how coalition members procure capabilities by focusing first on personnel, not technology. Through the new approach, government, industry and academia will re-frame conversations and have more meaningful dialogues, which should lead to deploying apt solutions more quickly.

Leveraging his position in an agency built on agility, Jim Craft, the chief information officer (CIO) and deputy director information enterprise management at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), is reaching out to partners across the spectrum. His goal is to alter how they purchase or present materials in the hopes that lives will be saved and innovation will be rewarded. The idea has particular relevance to counter improvised explosive device (IED) and information technology operations and should foster creativity, eventually leading developments into the best funding streams.

Craft calls his plan for this rapid acquisition process the innovation engine. In formal terms, he explains that it “is a systematic, disciplined approach to leverage self-forming networks among coalition partners and in the private sector and the whole of government in order to discover and encourage innovation, then rapidly adapt that innovation to support the JIEDDO mission and where appropriate the information technology support of our warfighters.”

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