CIA's In-Q-Tel still proving its worth
- By George I. Seffers
- Aug 13, 2001
The Report of the Independent Panel on the CIA In-Q-Tel Venture
The customer base for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's new research and development organization, should not be expanded to the other intelligence agencies until it proves successful within the CIA, according to a new report.
In-Q-Tel (www.in-q-tel.com) was incorporated in 1999 to help the CIA remain on technology's cutting edge. It is comparable to a strategic venture capital entity, such as those maintained by major technology firms. It has only one customer—the CIA—and does not develop technologies for the agency's classified missions.
So far, In-Q-Tel has spent $30 million on technology projects, reviewed 750 business plans, selected nearly two dozen for investment and brought three products to the pilot stage.
Congress had mandated a broad assessment of In-Q-Tel's strategy, structure, processes, technologies and legal foundation. Business Executives for National Security conducted the assessment and released a mostly favorable report Aug. 7.
"I would note for the record that several members of this panel from a variety of industry sectors approached this assessment process with what I would describe as an initial reaction of skepticism and concern about the basic In-Q-Tel business model from a policy, legal and competitive perspective," C. Lawrence Meador, chairman of the independent panel, wrote in a preface to the report.
The panel concluded, however, that "the In-Q-Tel business model makes sense, and its progress to date is impressive for a 2-year-old venture."
The panel recommended that In-Q-Tel's mission should not be expanded beyond the CIA "until it is deemed a success in its CIA mission," but it should share technology solutions applicable to other government agencies, especially within the intelligence community.