Technology

Intell agencies getting new architecture

The country’s intelligence agencies are getting a new information technology architecture that will allow analysts to quickly access data, improve electronic communication, and facilitate collaboration.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is now implementing the architecture.

Senior ODNI officials say the project brings technical, policy and cultural changes to the 16 intelligence agencies that will result in a more integrated intelligence community with better capabilities to find patterns of suspicious activity.

The project involves linking large foreign intelligence databases from different agencies and making them searchable and accessible by approved users. In addition, one of the initiative’s first tasks was to build a common e-mail system that could be used across the intelligence community.

“Fundamentally the issue is to map the information space to figure out where all the right stuff is and to make sure that people who need it can get access to it and that when they get access to it they get access to everything that they need,” said Prescott Winter, chief information officer and chief technology officer for the National Security Agency, and assigned to ODNI as associate deputy director of national intelligence for integration.

Enterprise architectures and related documents provide a blueprint for an agency’s technology acquisitions, implementations and strategies.

By linking multiple agencies under one architecture umbrella, officials hope to make interaction and information sharing increasingly easy.

The office brought agencies into the planning process early and they contributed a great deal. For example, some agency officials identified fairly minor changes that could be made to their internal email systems to allow for a common e-mail system across the intelligence community.

ODNI designed the architecture to work, as much as possible, with the agencies’ existing procedures and security measures.

“Right now there is an awful lot of fragmentation, and that fragmentation has come about because of all those different issues, different security concerns, different risk models, different policies, cultures — you name it,” Winter said.

The outgoing Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, said recently that connecting the intelligence community’s largest databases would have “staggering” effects on the amount of information available to the average analyst.

“We’re simply going to take what is already on the ground in use in the agencies and find ways to build on that,” Winter said. “In the process, however, we’re going to be very explicitly moving the community in the direction of an integrated and service-oriented architecture.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group