IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
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Bob Evans
Bob Evans

CIO At The CIA Recognized As IT Leader, Change Agent

For the second time in three weeks, the understandably low-key CIO of the CIA, Al Tarasiuk, has been in the public eye, this time in recognition for being named as a top IT leader and change agent at an industry event.

For the second time in three weeks, the understandably low-key CIO of the CIA, Al Tarasiuk, has been in the public eye, this time in recognition for being named as a top IT leader and change agent at an industry event.Commenting on the recent award, Tarasiuk's boss, CIA director Leon Panetta, said Tarasiuk "applies his skill and insights to the essence of our work-how we collect, assess, safeguard, and distribute< information critical to national security. Al not only has made decisive contributions to the CIA's mission, but has fostered innovation throughout America's Intelligence Community."

Noting that Tarasiuk understands "the unique requirements of our officers," a CIA press release offered this perspective on Tarasiuk's achievements in that most complex and security-driven organizations:

"Since becoming CIO of the Agency in 2005, Tarasiuk has spearheaded several major initiatives designed to make it easier for CIA officers to collaborate more effectively and to share and process information more efficiently. That includes the adoption of interactive Web 2.0 technologies, project-management methods that deliver quicker results to the end user, and a services-oriented architecture. In addition, he modernized the Agency's main information-handling systems."

The public got a rare look inside some of the thinking behind the CIA's Web 2.0 initiatives 10 months ago at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, which is produced by InformationWeek's parent organization, TechWeb. At that event, two CIA officials -- Intellipedia and Enterprise 2.0 evangelist Sean Dennehy, and Intellipedia doyen (yep, his real title) Don Burke - told an overflow audience about the agency's efforts to use Web 2.0 tools to foster greater access to information and other forms of collaboration among members of the intelligence community.

An InformationWeek news story about that presentation offered this overview of the CIA's efforts: "Dennehy, Intellipedia and Enterprise 2.0 evangelist, noted that Intellipedia is still in the "early adoption state" and while there are some similarities to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, there are still some important differences. "We're not dealing with facts," he said of the general mission of intelligence and security agencies, "We're dealing with puzzles and mysteries." "

In addition to the Top 10 award that Tarasiuk was awarded last week from Evanta, he also recently spoke at a public DC-area luncheon that featured about a dozen top CIOs from the intelligence, military, and law-enforcement communities. At that event, Tarasiuk noted that the CIA has now virtualized more than 1,000 servers and is looking for sophisticated solutions to ongoing challenges with bandwidth and legacy data.

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