ODNI CIO now driving integration of new IT architecture, tools

Thursday - 9/26/2013, 6:11am EDT

Ask the CIO - Sept. 26, 2013

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The intelligence community's major technology program wasn't moving as quickly as officials thought it should. So, the chief information officer of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence made an unusual decision to change the oversight of the program.

Al Tarasiuk, ODNI's CIO, brought the systems integration role into his office and away from the intelligence community agencies who are leading the efforts to implement different parts of the intelligence community IT Enterprise (ICITE) program.

"What we discovered was that it's very hard for these agencies to worry about provisioning these services for us and at the same time integrating with their other service provider partners to ensure the services all work together," Tarasiuk said during a recent media roundtable update on the ICITE program. "We discovered that piece of it wasn't being done. We asked them to do it. We probably should've asked ourselves to do it for them. What happened here is we ended up doing it. We've now taken on the systems integration role to ensure that these services comes together. That was kind of a bump in the road that delayed us a little bit." ICITE met its first round of milestones in August.

"We declared the milestone, which we called the initial baseline, which involves the deployment of the first substantiation of the IC desktop to a few thousand Defense Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency users," he said. "They are the providers of the desktop. They are developing the single desktop to the community. They determined earlier on they would be first ones to deploy the new desktop tool. We also stood up the first substantiation of the IC cloud with both storage, data hosting and virtual hosting capabilities. The applications mall went online as well with a number of applications registered in the mall that folks across the community could use."

Tarasiuk said while the standardized desktop, which includes email and collaboration software, is available to only those few thousand users, the cloud infrastructure and the apps store are available to all IC employees with a top secret, sensitive compartmented information (TS-SCI) clearance.

ICITE is not a big project, but rather several small ones with the goal of standardizing the IT infrastructure for all 17 intelligence agencies at the TS-SCI level.

Tarasiuk said his office is taking over the systems integrator role by using both internal staff and contractors.

"It was fairly easy to determine as part of our oversight role we would have the oversight of the integration as well," he said. "We, just in fact, are going through a contract transition where we have gotten better alignment of skills to what we need to do in ICITE."

Now that the systems integrator role is solved, Tarasiuk said ODNI has big plans for ICITE in the coming years.

"We will continue scaling once we are sure the resilience is there for production," he said. "Agencies will start transition above just compute and data and storage, and the business model, so all the things around how do you run this thing, how do you manage it, how do you finance it, we will do a lot more work there. Those are three or four big things we are going to do in this next year."

Tarasiuk said ODNI expects to have most of the IC using the ICITE capabilities by fiscal 2018.

"The timeline is that we plan on six month to a year incrementals. So we are looking at 2014 and what we will do in 2014. We know what our vision is and what we are trying to achieve," he said. "I still think if we continue at the pace we are going at now, the 2018 timeframe is a year that we will have a pretty substantial number of users mostly on the IC desktop and on the cloud infrastructure."

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