The intelligence community’s project to collapse its 17 sprawling networks and unique desktop screens into one common desktop with common apps has plenty of doubters inside the community. They’re the people Director of National Intelligence James Clapper means when he refers to passive resistance, a joke he made in April and again this week at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance summit in Washington, D.C.
“We’re well past the euphoria of what a great idea this is, and now we’re into the passive aggressive resistance phase,” he said.
For the most part, those who doubt the feasibility of the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise, or ICITE, have been whispering about the project’s undefined resources – it’s not a program of record with a budget line item – and the challenge of coming up with one top secret/secure compartmented information network that will let everyone do their unique jobs effectively.
A month after NGA and DIA rolled out the early baseline version of ICITE, the community is about to receive the first official feedback from the test group of 2,500 ICITE users at those agencies. That’ll happen next week when the chief information officers from all 17 intel agencies gather to hear a report from NGA and DIA about the canvassing of these early adopters.
“The session next week is to get feedback on the performance,” said
Al Tarasiuk, the intelligence community’s chief information officer.
Don’t expect headlines – barring a leak. Tarasiuk told me he doesn’t plan to make the feedback public.
If things go well, plans call for rolling out ICITE across the community. To build support, the community has begun shifting its justification of ICITE from a money saving tool (although they still say it’ll do that – eventually) to a strategy for securing information against rogue insiders.
“If we had it installed and fully operational today might have detected Snowden a lot earlier than we did,” Clapper told the INSA audience. “You can label the data and then assure yourselves of the bonafides of the people with whom you’re going to share,” he said.