Rob Carey, the Deputy CIO for the Department of Defense and Al Tarasuik, the CIO for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) discussed a fundamentally transformational effort: creating a single IT architecture for the intelligence community (IC). The reason? Removing "stovepipes of innovation" … those wonderful islands of information that right now can't exist in the current budgetary climate.
In a question and answer session at the GEOINT symposium Carey and Tarasuik discussed the Joint Information Environment (JIE) to forever change the heterogeneous IT architecture that currently exists. "We are the product of 25 years of innovation of excellence," said Carey. "[It's time to] move to a centralized enterprise approach.
Tarasuik said that the new architecture does not build a lot of new technology. "The technology we will use is already in use in our agencies. It's about consolidation of data centers ... using the cloud but bringing it together for the community instead of in stove pipes," he said. "The biggest challenge is convincing our overseers is that this fast pace makes sense (i.e. Congress). The big challenge for them is integrating all the components and standing up the infrastructure much of which already has parts in place. Scaling will occur once the initial implementation is in place.
How do you turn the "stove pipes of innovation" into an enterprise architecture that must serve an organization as large as the federal defense bureaucracy? Tarasuik said, "We have no choice, we need to move in this direction. The budget impetus has caused this to move forward. None of agencies has enough money to handle the requirements on their own. The volume and intensity of data coming in is tremendous; no one agency will be able to handle this on their own. Lots of moving pieces but things have to turn off so that things converge."