Meyerrose, Grimes lead by example on sharing

Old friends bringing Intel agency, DOD closer on IT functions

The budget request ODNI is developing 'tells a story of collectiveness and where interdependencies are.' Dale Meyerrose, ODNI CIO

Rick Steele

The friendship between Dale Meyerrose and John Grimes is well known in the military and intelligence communities.

Meyerrose, a retired Air Force major general and former CIO of the U.S. Northern Command, spent more than 30 years in the military, where he got to know Defense Department CIO Grimes. Grimes, who's been DOD CIO since November 2005, has worked with the department as both a government contractor and a federal employee since 1990.

This long-time relationship is part of the trust that is bringing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Defense Department closer together under the federal intelligence umbrella.

Meyerrose, who started as ODNI CIO in August 2005, and Grimes meet regularly to discuss issues and concerns. Grimes called his relationship with Meyerrose one of 'collaborative working.'

Leap of faith

And from those meetings, the intelligence community is stepping into the mainstream of technology. From a joint IP Version 6 strategy to updated and improved IT security policies to sharing information more readily and easily, ODNI is taking a leap of faith that hasn't been seen before, particularly with DOD.

'The relationship between ODNI and DOD is maturing nicely,' said James Carafano, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. 'While personal relationships help a great deal, the structure of things is how we got where we are.'

Carafano was referring to DOD's decision to name a deputy undersecretary for intelligence'currently Stephen Cambone'after Sept. 11, 2001. This official, Carafano said, is responsible for all DOD intelligence activities, and coordinates them with ODNI.

In addition to the closer structure of the two organizations, ODNI's fiscal 2008 budget request also will represent the new way of looking at intelligence.

Meyerrose, speaking recently at the Government Electronics and IT Association conference in Falls Church, Va., said the budget they are putting together 'tells a story of collectiveness and where interdependencies are.'

Beyond its work with DOD, Meyerrose said ODNI is doing joint ventures with law enforcement and the Homeland Security and State departments.

This collectiveness extends further into ODNI as well. Mary Margaret Graham, the deputy director of national intelligence for collection, said at the recent Executive Leadership Conference sponsored by the American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, that ODNI is developing an analytic resource catalog listing all analysts, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses and their areas of expertise.

She said more than 18,000 analysts are listed and 'for the first time, we know where they are, what they are doing and where to find them when we need to search.'

Graham said the ODNI is working with DOD on an intelligence community cross-domain management office.

'The theory behind a lot of what we are doing is to try to do things once for the U.S. government,' Graham said. 'So this marriage of Gen. Dale Meyerrose with John Grimes in developing this cross-domain management office is really the key.'

Meyerrose said recently that the office would end all but about 24 of 1,000 filters between classified systems and databases (GCN.com, GCN.com/712).

Graham said sharing intelligence data within the federal government and among allies at the secret level has improved over the last 18 months. And collaborating on and sharing that kind of data, instead of owning it, is important to ODNI's success.

Building trust

'We have to build our intelligence support system, or IT systems, so they can share with each to enable collaboration that we need,' Graham said. 'Building the greater trust is what this whole business in the first 18 months has been all about'breaking down those stovepipes so when we have a problem like North Korea, or fill-in-the-blank, we can bring to bear the entire community instead of one agency at a time providing their expertise.'

The idea of sharing data was a central aspect of joint instructions, which ODNI director John Negroponte and outgoing Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld earlier this summer signed off on, that 'provide for broad information and intelligence sharing on combined military operations' with America's closest allies, Grimes said.

Security policies

Grimes and Meyerrose also are reviewing the suggestions from multiple sets of teams looking at cybersecurity policy.

Meyerrose, Grimes and Ron Ross, a senior computer scientist and information security researcher for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will review the suggestions and release two or three security standards publicly before the end of December.

Meyerrose's office then will issue four or five more during the first quarter of 2007 and then release the more complicated standards by the summer, he said.

'We haven't yet seen the formal recommendations from the certification and accreditation revitalization effort, but certainly the most change will result from the actions we will take to reduce redundant activity, unnecessary documentation, and shorten the overall process,' Grimes said. 'Another major change will be to establish a common process and set of standards for DOD, the intelligence community and, to the extent possible, the rest of the federal government.'

Carafano said one of the main reasons the intelligence community and DOD are seeing progress is because ODNI does best when it is a coordination or advisory role. When ODNI officials have to share resources, or are in charge of a function, the relationship is much more difficult, he said.

'When they have a dog in the fight, such as the Information Sharing Environment, they are much less successful,' Carafano said.

Still, Meyerrose and Grimes expect the sense of urgency to work more closely together to remain high. This includes DOD modifying its contracts, specifically its net-centric enterprise contracts, so ODNI can use them more easily.

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