Intelligence

ICITE shifts to reference architecture

tech evolution (everything possible/Shutterstock.com) 

The Intelligence Community has learned a few things since it first sought a unified desktop environment, and it is pivoting to a reference architecture for enterprise capabilities by 2020.

La'Naia Jones, the IC's deputy CIO, said during the Professional Services Council's TechTrends conference Sept. 11, that moving to the cloud alone wasn't enough to keep pace with growing data loads and individual agency needs.

"Even as we started to adapt and use cloud computing, the need to evolve and increase in data," she said, was "more than we could keep pace with. We knew we had to change continuously."

The desktop environment initiative, which started in 2013, was originally intended to provide a common desktop for the entire IC. But with the second iteration of the cloud infrastructure push, the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE), surfaced challenges with the approach.

"It wasn't as easy to create a common desktop for everyone and to share everything across the community," Jones said. One challenge was agency-specific visions, applications and tools that weren't common throughout the IC.

A common reference architecture, however, addresses the need for a unified platform while giving users  "some flexibility to leverage some of the technologies that make sense for them," Jones said.

"With the second version of ICITE, because we have the challenges of implementing the common desktop and getting us to where we are now, we wanted to continue moving forward to provide interoperability in a collaborative future as well as stay focused on mission," she said. "We were still leveraging the foundations of [Amazon] C2S and GovCloud, but we were mindful that the operators, collectors and analyst leads and their tools weren't common throughout the community."

Jones said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is working with agencies on plans to implement the reference architecture by May 2020.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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