The Defense Department and Intelligence Community are closely coordinating during their IT consolidation efforts and aim to share policies and governance, said Office of the Director of National Intelligence CIO Al Tarasiuk. (Mike Morones)
On the face, the Defense Department’s Joint Information Environment and the intelligence community’s IC Information Technology Enterprise seem similar: Both are broad efforts to consolidate IT, improve information-sharing and achieve cost savings and efficiencies. While the two are related – and are being developed with close coordination between DoD and IC agencies – there are significant differences that separate JIE and ICITE.
What the two initiatives share are plans to collaborate across agencies and shared services that can be extended between the top secret networks of the IC, and the secret and unclassified networks of the military. Those shared services currently are being developed, with an initial meeting taking place in April between officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency and members of IC leadership, according to Office of the Director of National intelligence CIO.
Another common area is in the development of policies and oversight that eventually will manage the two efforts.
“There are differences in our approaches, but close relationships between the two – namely ensuring we jointly work to support mission operations,” Al Tarasiuk, ODNI CIO, said May 13 at the AFCEA JIE conference in Baltimore. “One area of strong convergence is in the area of governance.”
The different approaches are rooted in a number of distinctions between DoD and the IC – first and foremost, the sizes of the organizations involved. Another area of contrast is the stages for rolling out the two initiatives.
“While we strive for the same thing, our communities are very different entities. As a result our implementation of these strategies differ,” Tarasiuk said. “As an intelligence community our implementation focuses on IT infrastructure services for the [top secret/sensitive compartmented information] domain. For DoD, implementation of JIE focuses on the infrastructure as well, but at a much larger scale. The initiative is focused on network consolidation and data center optimization, for primarily the secret and unclassified domains.”
The significant differences between JIE and ICITE mean that despite the similarities and shared approaches that do exist, there is a clear need for two different models – it just isn’t feasible for both DoD and the IC to share a single approach, Tarasiuk noted.
“Where it’s important for us to interface and mature interoperability with standards, where we have the jointly managed things like the cross-domain activities – those are the important things to ensure the information flows,” Tarasiuk said. “We have to ensure that we have the same kinds of systems and standards. But you can imagine ... these are enormous efforts. It takes a lot of resources to manage these things. Trying to pull them together and trying to do it as one just doesn’t make sense; we’re two different communities. Our focuses on a day-to-day basis are different. To have either one of us directly tied at the hip ... would really bog us down.”