Intel community looks to EA to build up information sharing

The intelligence community'the collection of federal agencies that gather, analyze and disseminate intelligence'needs to adopt an enterprise architecture to break down the barriers that have long prevented its members from sharing information.

That's the position of Alan Wade, CIO of the CIA and the intelligence community. Wade said the loose affiliation of agencies in the community makes establishing a unified architecture an even greater challenge. He spoke late last month before an audience of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) professionals in Denver.

Despite the challenges, supporters say an IT blueprint would remove many traditional cultural barriers between agencies and use technology to foster information sharing.

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.

'You have to start with almost a federal view of this, and even that's not quite big enough,' Wade said in an interview, because even organizations outside the community, such as the Homeland Security Department and state and local law enforcement agencies, rely on the intelligence.

The intelligence community is still developing the architecture. The blueprint will be used to define and support all the purposes and missions for which the community needs to share information, including military intelligence. The Defense Department is working on its own plan, know as the ISR integration roadmap.

The Intelligence Community System for Information Sharing, or ICSIS, will be a major part of the enterprise architecture, Wade said. ICSIS is a multiphase project slated for completion by the end of fiscal 2009.

In addition, the intelligence community is identifying collaboration tools its members could use to work together, 'because we'll have to use the same products to get the same level of collaboration,' Wade said.

Military intelligence officials will work to integrate their ISR roadmap with the community's enterprise architecture. But the roadmap also looks to improve intelligence operations that are specific to the military.

Letitia Long, deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy, requirements and resources, said recent reports on intelligence failures prior to Sept. 11, 2001, indicated that the military has shortcomings in its ability to analyze data for intelligence, which 'let preconceived notions guide our conclusions.'

To fight terrorism, military planners need intelligence targeted toward obtaining early warning of future attacks, then disrupting them, Long said. To accomplish this, she said, the military is emphasizing two elements of the ISR environment'persistent surveillance and horizontal integration.

Horizontal integration describes gathering and disseminating information to warfighters and decision makers quickly enough for them to take action.

Persistent surveillance refers to carrying out a wide range of data collection activities'such as human intelligence and surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles or satellites'routinely enough to observe patterns of activity, and to see changes that could be significant, Long said.

These needs will affect DOD priorities. 'Space systems are key to global persistent surveillance,' Long said.

DOD is putting the finishing touches on the roadmap, which will detail the department's intelligence strategy through 2018. The plan will spell out changes in gathering, integrating and sharing data among the services, Long said. It will identify department funding goals, spell out what types of oversight are needed and define how ISR can enhance the department's capabilities.

DOD was supposed to submit the road map to Congress by Sept. 30, but the Pentagon has asked for a deadline extension. The department expects to complete the plan in the next couple of months, she said.

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