Intelligence community to act as one

CHICAGO ' The intelligence community's move to a network-centric environment should receive a boost in the next year as two avenues of change move closer together.

The first effort involves training younger analysts to not only look for information , but to find meaning in the data. At the same time, officials want to assist middle managers in using new methods to analyze information.

Once the analysts understand how to find useful information, they must view the entire intelligence community as one enterprise and share what they found through collaborative work spaces, such as Intellipedia, blogs and the developing A-Space initiative.

'We have to make the intelligence community an enterprise with the same broad mission,' said Thomas Fingar, deputy director for national intelligence for analysis in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). 'The goal is not to take 18,000 analysts and put them in the same room, but find a better way to keep them in their centers of expertise, but still sharing information.'

Fingar, speaking at the Analytical Transformation Conference, sponsored by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, also said the intelligence community wants to develop a distributed network that would incorporate different layers of information.

'Each person would work on layers that are available to all others so now we would have that 'ah-ha' moment,' Fingar said. 'We must improve the analytical tradecraft with training programs to ensure the quality of work continues to improve.'

To accomplish that, the intelligence community started a course called Analysis 101, he said. It will provide the same training to all new analysts.

Fingar said Analysis 101 began earlier this year. By December, 700 students will finish the coursework, and the course will be open to 1,200 students next year.

'We are addressing shortcomings that were identified by Congress and others and through our evaluations,' Fingar said. 'We need to utilize alternative analysis more and other areas.'

In addition to training, ODNI is leading work on several initiatives to build the infrastructure to enable collaboration.

ODNI kicked off a project late last month to reduce the amount of metadata each database uses. The effort, called Catalyst, will try to bring the hundreds of metadata tags down to five or six, said Mike Wertheimer, deputy DNI for analytic transformation and technology.

'We want to filter out superfluous information,' he said. 'This is totally experimental.'

For the next three months ODNI and the National Counterterrorism Center will apply Catalyst to the six databases the center runs, put real events through the about five metadata categories and see what comes out, starting in early 2008, Wertheimer said.

ODNI also issued analyst standards and will issue sourcing standards, Wertheimer added.

Finally, ODNI is expanding its Research and Development Center (RDec) to unclassified users instead of only those with clearances.

RDec lets users test analytical tools on a closed system. Wertheimer said they have about 100 nodes on the classified network, which is oversubscribed by intelligence employees, but there are not enough people on it to test the tools for the entire community.

'If we run an unclassified network parallel to the classified one, I think we can bring enough people on to test tools,' he said. 'Once we agree on a tool, we will certify and accredit it once instead of 16 times. We can just plug the tool in for the entire community.'

The RDec work started this year, but Wertheimer wasn't sure when ODNI would expand it to the unclassified network.

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