Intel CIO shop hosts online forum

In a striking departure from the hush-hush culture of intelligence community IT, the CIO's office for the Director of National Intelligence is running an open online forum about certification and accreditation issues, as well as other technology matters.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Dale Meyerrose, CIO of the national intelligence office, has called for a makeover of security in the broad swath of agencies that his boss, director of national intelligence John Negroponte, oversees.

The review of security issues such as certification and accreditation is being coordinated with Pentagon CIO John Grimes, a longtime Meyerrose colleague.

A leading independent analyst and frequent critic of intelligence community practices said the open forum holds out the promise of breaking down barriers between the clandestine agencies and the broader IT world.

The overall project, the Re-vitalizing Certification and Accreditation initiative, began June 7 with a kickoff event.

Part of the online activity is a limited public forum, including a blog that appears to offer partial summaries of information that participants contribute.

The project is due to conclude this fall after consideration of various issues by specialists grouped in 'war rooms' and on tiger teams. The project will conclude after an executive review of the results this fall.

The rules for participation in the online discussion specifically state that it is not limited to U.S. citizens.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Intelligence Resource Program at the Federation of American Scientists, has studied intelligence community matters in this country and abroad for more than 15 years. He called the open forum 'most intriguing.'

'It will be interesting to see if it bears fruit,' Aftergood said. 'In order to succeed, it will have to overcome some prejudices within the intelligence community and outside.'

Aftergood noted that some members of the intelligence community doubt that outsiders have the knowledge and capability to contribute to the discussion of DNI issues, while on the outside 'there is skepticism of the utility of participating in an intelligence community activity,' he said.

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