DIA director Lt. Gen. Flynn says the ICITE pilot showed they will need be able to do small-tech kinds of things on the larger framework. (Gannett Government Media Corp)
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he’s helping to oversee some of the intelligence community’s biggest transformations as agencies seek to capitalize on the best technologies and information-sharing capabilities. One of the foremost efforts is ICITE, the intelligence community’s burgeoning shared IT environment that aims to improve how agencies share mission-critical data among themselves and with partners.
Flynn recently sat down with C4ISRNet & Networks Senior Writer Amber Corrin at the GEOINT conference in Tampa, Fla., to discuss ICITE progress.
C4ISRNet: Let’s talk about ICITE, the intelligence community’s burgeoning shared IT environment. Tell us about where you currently are with that.
Lt. Gen. Flynn: Last time we talked, last summer, we were right in the beginning of a significant pilot of about 2,500 users between DIA and the [National Geospatial Intelligence Agency]. For about a six-month period of time we looked at the impacts of moving to a common desktop, under a common framework with new applications. So we really learned along those six months. We studied the guinea pigs, the people on those systems, and it really paid off. It showed us that we need to be able to adapt applications to the system, and to our acquisition system, faster. We need to be able to do the small-tech kinds of things and put them onto the big framework of ICITE.
Get a full, in-person update on ICITE at the C4ISR & Networks Conference, May 5 & 6. Brig. Gen. Mark Quantock of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Gary Wang, Director Intelligence Systems & Architectures (IS&A), DUSD Intelligence Strategy, Programs & Resources (ISP&R) will lead the panel discussion.
C4ISRNet: Can you give us a basic overview of what ICITE is and where you’re headed?
Lt. Gen. Flynn: If you think about a physical neighborhood where people live, ICITE is going to build out the roads, the water pipes, the electricity, the telephone poles, the sewage system – all the things you typically find in a neighborhood that are the common access kinds of capabilities that people want when they move into a neighborhood.
So the next big step is we all have these houses that we live in. DIA lives in an all-source house. NGA lives in the geospatial house. NSA lives in the [signals intelligence] house. The CIA lives in the all-source national intelligence and [human intelligence] house. So all those houses have different needs, but we all want to have a refrigerator that looks a certain way; that’s one app. We all want a TV that looks a certain way; that’s another. If the house is the desktop, what are the common things we like equally together? We all like a particular application that does database management, or one that does threat financing, or one that does geospatial foundational intelligence. Rather than each buying those applications separately, what we do is say, NGA this fits your portfolio, you invest in that, and we’ll invest in these things. And then we look at how each other are investing, and that’s where the real cost savings are going to be. Before, we were all buying data and paying for data in different parts of the world – and paying for the same data multiple times over. And we can’t afford to do that. The next big step is what do we all need in our houses that we can basically share?
C4ISRNET: What are some of your goals for ICITE?
Lt. Gen. Flynn: The big goal for ICITE is integration of the intelligence community. I think it’s far more access to far more capabilities and information by what I would call common users – analysts, for example. An improved information-sharing environment should increase our information-sharing, not decrease it.
I would also add one other goal. That would be to secure a higher degree of security ICITE should give us – and we’re already seeing this, to a degree, in the piloting we’re doing – a much higher degree of security, because we tag the individual, we tag the data, so we know what people are doing that are in our system and we’re the measuring performance of our people. So the increased security ICITE affords, because we’re operating in a cloud environment where we can better understand what people are doing, actually gives us a lot more confidence and lets us sleep easier at night. If there’s an insider threat they’re going to try to find a way, but it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder.