Workforce changes needed to make IC more agile, report says

A new congressional report wants the intelligence community to reform its personnel practices as well as take a few cues from the Defense Department to speed innovation.

Surveillance eye against binary code background. By enzozo. Shutterstock ID 340300073
 

Lawmakers want the intelligence community to reform its personnel practices while challenging long-held norms, such as the near-absolute need for a security clearance and resistance to open intelligence sharing, according to a new congressional report.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence's Subcommittee on Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research released a report Oct. 6 recommending new employees waiting for a clearance be put in positions where they don't require one for the meantime, and evaluate any barriers to that approach.

But reconsidering whether a security clearance was truly necessary is the bigger challenge raised, especially to improve science and technology developments, even as overall wait times for clearances are dropping.

Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah), the subcommittee chair and ranking member who led the report, wrote that "a top secret clearance is not necessary for all IC personnel to perform their job responsibilities, and for [science and technology research and development] in particular, much work can be completed without even a secret-level security clearance."

Forgoing the clearance requirement could lead to more "open source intelligence work" which would allow technologists and scientists to better collaborate with academia and private industry," the lawmakers argue. As a result, the report recommends the IC give open source intelligence programs "the appropriate attention and resourcing" in tandem with artificial intelligence and machine learning efforts.

On the talent development side, the report pushed for social policy reform, namely the immigration process to improve the IC's STEM talent pool. The report called foreign-born talent an "untapped resource" that has been stymied by an "onerous, bureaucratic, and backlogged immigration system." Reform, the lawmakers wrote, would "facilitate access to highly-skilled scientists and engineers."

The report zoomed in on several workforce challenges in the IC, including retention challenges, suggesting all intelligence community elements offer federal student loan relief and "consistent standards for federal student loan repayment eligibility" to help keep tech talent.

Lawmakers also pointed out the underutilization of existing hiring authorities for technical talent but is holding off on legislative action for now. Instead the recommendation is for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to do a study to "determine whether existing authorities fail to fulfill the IC's need for highly skilled [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] talent, and whether a companion authority" is needed.

The subcommittee also recommended the IC create a "technology fellowship program similar to the Presidential Management Fellowship oriented towards recent STEM graduates," according to the report.

Other recommendations included emulating some of the Defense Department's ongoing efforts, such as the Air Force's software factory model with Kessel Run and creating an intelligence focused innovation board.

The report also suggested the IC replicate the success with the Air Force's famed Kessel Run software factory that "shifted DOD information technology security processes to more closely align with industry best practices" and initially saved the service millions of dollars per week for a $2.2 million initial investment.

"Those IC elements that struggle with software development are encouraged to seek out partnerships with the private sector to absorb best practices," the report states. "While Kessel Run's model may not be a perfect match, IC elements should seek to adopt the best practices of DevSecOps in appropriate ways."

NEXT STORY: Post-election shutdown risk looms

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.