ODNI looks to separate CIO, CDO shops

Machine language of 1s and 0s 

Within the next 100 days, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will make some decisions on how it will structure its management organization, with an eye to establishing more agile acquisition practices.

Part of that decision, said Kevin Meiners, assistant director of national intelligence for acquisition, technology and facilities, will entail putting the agency's CIO and chief data officer in separate management lanes.

ODNI is in the final 90-100 days of a transformation initiative begun last September that Sue Gordon, principal deputy director of national intelligence, helped construct, said Meiners, who spoke at an April 10 Intelligence and National Security Alliance event.

The initiative is due to conclude in July, he said, with concrete decisions on management structures made in the next few months.

Under the plan, the agency CIO would be in the agency's enterprise capacity organization, while the CDO will be put under the agency's policy operations in the strategy and engagement lane.

The separation, he said, could help both be more nimble after the reorganization, since CIO decisions tend to be more technical and CDO decisions tend to be more policy oriented. The combination, he said, can slow things down when trying to physically connect IT systems.

"It's all about the data," Meiners said to FCW in a short interview after his presentation. Policies directing how data is handled are more complicated than interconnecting two systems, he explained.

Meiners said in his presentation that acquisition agility is one of the ODNI's six key cross-cutting agency initiatives, including agile workforce; "augmented intelligence using machines"; cybersecurity; modern data management and infrastructure; and private-sector partnerships.

The acquisition agility push, he said, has been driven by all agencies under ODNI. Meiners said acquisition agility isn't necessarily acquisition reform, but it aims at smoothing out inefficient processes.

"We're looking to find out what acquisition agility means," he said, with input from industry.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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