Intelligence Community seeks unified communications

concept art for cloud services

A recent request for information highlights the Intelligence Community's ongoing effort to enhance the way its 17 agencies share technology, information and resources.

The RFI, posted on July 8, seeks to build the Desktop Environment (DTE) aspect of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (IC ITE), a strategy created by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to direct the community's IT efforts.

The DTE component currently delivers unified communications between users at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency through a suite of desktop applications. It is managed by the Joint Program Management Office (JPMO), which consists of DIA and NGA personnel.

Now the Intelligence Community wants to move into DTE's second phase, in which the JPMO will seek delivery of desktop services and unified communications across all the intelligence agencies.

"The JPMO is investigating an alternate model for delivery of services to the IC which will allow agencies more control in their adoption of the IC DTE," the RFI states. "The delivery, known as the Desktop Services Model, allows agency users to remain in their native agency system domain and reach out to an IC DTE domain to gain access to common services."

Specifically, DIA seeks industry assistance with a six-month proof-of-concept test of a unified communications suite. The pilot project, involving fewer than 1,000 users, would allow DIA to evaluate the suitability of features and services for the Desktop Services Model.

The RFI also seeks training support so officials can better understand the installation and general operational requirements of the unified communications suite.

Responses are due by July 19, and the RFI guarantees no commitment to any contractual agreement.

The RFI mirrors recent efforts by the CIA, which, along with the National Security Agency, is charged with overseeing the building of a private cloud computing infrastructure for the Intelligence Community. The CIA awarded a four-year, $600 million deal to Amazon Web Services earlier this year to build that infrastructure, but IBM protested the contract award and the Government Accountability Office upheld the protest in June.

It is unclear how the CIA will proceed, but it is clear from the IC ITE strategy that the agency will find a way to move forward in building the cloud.

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.


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