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IT Infrastructure

IC looks to stand up a new enterprise IT program office

The intelligence community wants to stand up a new, full-time program executive office to help develop new IT capabilities.

John Sherman, the CIO for the intelligence community, announced at the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System (DODIIS) Worldwide Conference on in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 20, that the IC was considering the new program office with full-time, in-person access to subject matter experts.

The program executive office is expected to enhance interoperability with the foreign allied partners community and serve as a continuation to the virtual program stood up in 2018. Moreover, the office would have representatives from allied nations "in a full-time, face-to-face environment," Sophia Elberti, chief IC CIO spokesperson said via email

The announcement comes after the CIA unveiled plans for a multibillion-dollar cloud buy and the IC recently released an overall cloud strategy. With that out, Sherman said the IC is now working on a data strategy

Sherman said the IC recently completed its cybersecurity implementation plan, which focuses on knowing, managing and sharing the state of the enterprise.

"Using a new approach that we call the cybersecurity performance evaluation model, we started just this last month to receive our first tranche of [critical infrastructure protection]-related asset inventory data into our IC security coordination center," Sherman said.

Earlier this year the IC CIO began requiring each of its 17 members to take comprehensive inventory of its "edge, backroom and so-called shadow IT that is resident in just about every organization."

The Defense Intelligence Agency is taking that strategy a bit further and overhauling the defense intelligence community’s top secret communications system now that its workload has increased.

The DIA runs the top secret network Joint Worldwide Intel Communications System (JWICS), on top of the Defense Information Systems Agency's DOD Information Network.

Jean Schaffer, the DIA’s cyber and enterprise operations chief, said that while JWICS is already hardened due to being a top secret network, DIA needs to raise its security posture to better protect it from insider threats as more people are added to the network.

Part of the overhaul, which includes revisiting the architecture and design, means transitioning  from a network protection model to a data protection model to understand the “on and off ramps for JWICS” and defining domain edges and data pathways, Schaffer said at DODIIS.

Schaffer also said DIA is looking to employ two-factor authentication on JWICS, a function already available on the non-classified internet protocol router (NIPRNET) network.

Schaffer said DIA’s digital transformation was less about “fixing something that’s broken and more about changing our mindsets.”

For cyber, this means developing a baseline of normal behavior so that anomalous actions activate an alert. It also includes configuring tools to pick up the alerts that feeds into a central source where cybersecurity analysts respond.

Editor's note: This article was updated Aug. 26 with a statement from the intelligence community's CIO office to provide more details on the cloud program office. This article first appeared on FCW, a partner site to Defense Systems. 

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.

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