Intelligence community adopting EA

Intelligence community adopting EA

DENVER'Building an enterprise architecture for the collection of agencies that make up the intelligence community is a challenge, but success is a fundamental requirement to changing how intelligence is gathered, shared and analyzed, according to a key CIA official.

Alan Wade, CIO of the CIA as well as the intelligence community, said the loose affiliation of agencies in the community makes establishing a unified architecture an even greater challenge. Wade spoke before an audience of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance professionals in Denver.

The community comprises three distinct elements: agencies within the Defense Department, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency; those that are part of larger departments, such as State and Energy; and one standalone agency, the CIA.

'Those are the interoperability problems we start with, but not end with,' he said.

Enterprise architects also face a serious challenge in accommodating the needs of intelligence users. 'The needs of the homeland security community are different than the warfighter, and [those] are different from national decision makers,' Wade said.

Because of that variety of information needs, the intelligence community has to be prepared to provide information in forms that each audience can use. For instance, policy makers want thoroughly analyzed data that has been boiled down to a finished product.

'At the other extreme is actionable intelligence,' Wade said, raw data delivered to the person who will act on it as soon as possible.

The Intelligence Community System for Information Sharing, or ICSIS, is one way the enterprise architecture is being implemented, he said. Phase II of the project, which would establish an initial operating capability, is targeted for completion next year. Phase III would be carried out in 2006-2008, with the final phase, full capability, in place by the end of 2009.

'But just having a place where the intelligence community can talk to itself isn't enough,' he said. 'We need to share confidential information with non-intelligence-community [agencies],' such as law enforcement, whether at the federal, state or local level. There is a pilot program under way in the Terrorist Threat Integration Center to build a single intelligence 'product' that will strip out information concerning sources and methods, Wade said.

In addition, the intelligence community is working on defining collaboration tools, 'because we'll have to use the same products to get the same level of collaboration,' Wade said. 'We need to be able to chat [through instant messages] across the security domains.'


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