The U.S. Intelligence Community is currently undergoing the “largest IT transformation” in its history, says Al Tarasiuk, CIO of the Intelligence Community, which promises more effective information sharing, data security and collaboration across all intelligence agencies.
The Intelligence Community IT Enterprise (ICITE) initiative, now a year underway, will create a common enterprise IT environment among U.S. intelligence agencies. Tarasiuk is working with the CIOs of the “Big 5” that account for the majority of U.S. intelligence: the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency.
The first part of the project is to create a standard PC desktop and cloud computing infrastructure, which is due this quarter. The CIA and NSA will open their cloud environments to other intelligence agencies, which will be accessed by a common desktop developed by the DIA and NGA. Applications will be developed using a common set of tools and will be available through an NSA-managed “apps mall.” Security of the information sharing will involve encryption and data tagging.
“…So when we talk about having a common desktop environment it means that you will be able to go anywhere — certainly within the big five agencies to start — sit down at any TS workstation at NSA as a DIA employee, log in, authenticate to the system there within the Fort Meade complex, and be able to get access to your e-mail, your home directories, your shared files, etc.,” said Tarasiuk last year in a DefenseSystems.com article. “So we will add mobility across the agencies, whereas today we really are immobile within our agencies, for the most part.”
The project is expected to reduce intelligence agencies’ aggregate IT spending by 25 percent by the beginning of fiscal 2018. The savings will come from lower labor costs (both staff and contactor) and volume deals on software and hardware, reports InformationWeek.
Success for the project will require cooperation previously unheard of within intelligence agencies. “I don’t want people to underestimate the cultural changes that will have to exist,” Tarasiuk told InformationWeek. “It’s going to get nasty. It’s going to be dirty. There are going to be fights.”