President Obama has picked the former CIO for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to perform the same role for the wider range of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Al Tarasiuk, who served in the CIO position at the CIA from 2005 until 2010, is now CIO for the Intelligence Community (IC), an organization comprised of 17 U.S. agencies that perform intelligence operations.
Agencies in the community work both independently and in collaborative ways to gather intelligence information and work alongside the president, lawmakers, law enforcement, and the military to identify threats to national security and work together to combat them.
Tarasiuk is taking over for Priscilla Guthrie, who served only 18 months in the position. The IC CIO is responsible for establishing common IT standards and IT procurement across the IC, as well as developing IT architecture to support information-sharing policies and objectives.
The position is one of the most significant CIO roles in the federal government, and certainly a challenging one. While the agencies in IC are meant to work together, each one controls its own IT budget and makes decisions independently.
Moreover, intelligence agencies traditionally have encountered problems with sharing information with one another and often have siloed systems for storing data. This is due to a culture in which each agency is hesitant to change the way it historically handles information sharing, which can lead to collaborative troubles.
Tarasiuk's strength in dealing with such issues could be why he was picked for the job, according to a press statement by director of national intelligence James Clapper. The Office of National Intelligence is one of the IC agencies.
"Al is well known for his leadership in information sharing and intelligence integration, and his experience, distinguished career, and dedication to duty will greatly benefit the entire Intelligence Community," he said.
Tarasiuk is a career intelligence agent. Prior to taking on the CIO job at the CIA, he was the director of its information services center, and he spent his early years with the agency overseas in an operational role with the National Clandestine Service. Tarasiuk began his federal career as a project engineer with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
Tarasiuk holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a master of science degree from George Washington University.
Aside from the CIA and the Office of National Intelligence, other agencies comprising the IC are: Air Force Intelligence; Army Intelligence; Coast Guard Intelligence; the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, and Treasury; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Marine Corps Intelligence; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; the National Reconnaissance Office; the National Security Agency; and Navy Intelligence.