Data, data everywhere; Data, data nowhere; A billion here, a billon there; Wynne’s cyberspace pachinko machine; Digital conversion won’t work for Naval Historical Center; Megabucks for Guam

Data, data everywhere...
Travelers spend billions of hours in airport security lines, but airport screeners and border patrol agents funnel little information into national intelligence systems for analysis, according to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Oversight Subcommittee.

And I thought that after all my flights, they had developed a profile on me based on the argyle socks I wear.

The subcommittee’s report on reforms in operations of the 16 intelligence agencies that are part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) shows that reform comes slowly to the intelligence world. The report states that the creation of a cross-agency information-sharing environment is still “limited to gaining a better understanding of the task.”

I hope ODNI has at least picked the shape of the table that all the folks on the Information Sharing Task Force will sit around when they brainstorm information-sharing initiatives. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act of 2004 authorized the creation of ODNI.

Data, data nowhere...
In addition to being slow to get its information-sharing act together, ODNI must handle intelligence agencies that all want to look at the same small pool of information. The subcommittee’s report states that the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA Counterterrorism Center and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Intelligence Task Force for Combating Terrorism focus on the same 10 percent of intelligence information.

This narrow focus results in redundant coverage of major events, such as the 2005 London bombings, the report states. It sounds like the agencies under ODNI are still working to protect their turf on visible events and doing little with the other 90 percent of information that could make a difference.

Unless ODNI Director John Negroponte assigns roles and responsibilities to the 16 agencies under his command and holds agencies responsible for what they do, “progress in maximizing the sharing and exploitation of terrorism information will not proceed at the rate the American people deserve and expect,” the report states.

A billion here, a billon there...
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act has done little to stem the profligate ways of the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office, the House intelligence report states.

Acquisition programs at those agencies have cost taxpayers billions of dollars in cost overruns and schedule delays. Part of the problem is a lack of professional acquisition managers throughout the community and failure to comply with statutes calling for a corps of professional acquisition managers, according to the report.

The question is whether any acquisition professional wants to go to work for ODNI or its 16 children.

Wynne’s cyberspace pachinko machine
Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said the Air Force cyber warriors now number 20,000 and have become information logisticians. “We pick it up everywhere, we send it through space, we get it up there — like a pachinko machine — through our satellite network and back down to the ground station” and into the hands of a commander — just in time.

If you don’t know what a pachinko machine is, I suggest you register for a tour in Okinawa, where if the slots at the clubs don’t get you, the pachinko machines will.

Wynne, speaking last week at the Air Force Senior Leadership Orientation Course in Washington, D.C., said the service needs to figure out how to train and organize its 20,000 cyber warriors.

Digital conversion won’t work for Naval Historical Center
I’ve received several e-mail messages in response to my July 24 item on deteriorating microfilm at the Naval Historical Center. The sentiments of those e-mail messages can be summarized by one I received from Larry Medina, a records and information management professional in Danville, Calif.

Medina warned against converting microfilm to digital format. He said improper film processing or storage at the Historical Center in the Navy Yard could damage film. He wanted to see the damage arrested immediately and, if possible, the old films copied so they can be saved.

Never assume that digital media will meet the test of time, Medina warned.

Megabucks for Guam
The fiscal 2007 Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill report states that it will cost $10.3 billion to improve the infrastructure on Guam to accommodate the move of 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to the place where America’s day begins.

The Interceptor knows something about Guam politics. Such a staggering sum thrown into such a small place will lead to a feeding frenzy that makes pork politics on Capitol Hill look like child’s play.

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