Gov Forum: Back-Office Upgrades Key To Intel Sharing

Despite public focus on collaboration and culture, intelligence IT execs highlight data center consolidation, identity, and access management efforts.
While collaboration tools and cultural barriers dominate intelligence information discussions, back office upgrades continue to play a major role, intelligence community IT leaders said this week at the InformationWeek Government IT Leadership Forum.

One of the major current pushes in the intelligence community is identity and access management. "It's the number one issue we're working on right now," said Casey Henson, CTO at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

At a high level, Henson said, the National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and Defense Intelligence Agency now share a common identity and access management system, and are now working with the CIA on what Henson calls a "need-to-know service" to improve access controls.

She expects the number of agencies on the common identity and access management system to double within 12 to 18 months and triple over the subsequent 6 to 10 months.

On a smaller scale, DIA is working to make its employees' identities interoperable with the Department of Defense's unclassified, classified and top secret networks in order to eliminate duplicative efforts. The DIA is also working on a service-oriented architecture strategy.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is in the midst of a major data center consolidation effort and is beginning to move its sub-agencies into two new primary data centers. "The consolidated data centers will be the platform from which we launch some of our information-sharing services over time," said Margie Graves, DHS' deputy CIO. "We've also got to move from where the data is system-based and owned by a system owner to where data is an enterprise asset and we define the rules by the process writ large."

DHS has also been at the forefront of implementation of the National Information Exchange Model, a standard data model being used by, among others, immigration and law enforcement officers.

Of course, collaboration and other end-user software tools are key to better collaboration. Led by the NSA, the intelligence community is working to build small, widget-like apps that can be used across the community and Department of Defense, Henson said.

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