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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Thursday, August 24, 2006

DNI Brings Private Firms Into Intelligence-Sharing Effort

Intelligence Online: Sponsoring the annual Intelink conference for the first time, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is paying top priority to intelligence sharing.

New communication tools, fresh “customers,” and a simplified computer architecture for the intelligence community were highlighted at a gathering in Denver between Aug. 21-24 entitled: “The DNI’s Information Sharing Conference & Technology Exposition- Intelink and Beyond: Dare to Share.”

No less than 136 exhibitors presented their information management solutions on the sidelines of the main event. Computer giants like Cisco, Nortel, HP and Oracle rubbed shoulders with far smaller companies, some of which indeed offered information sharing solutions (see graph below).

The main innovations were: secure solutions for circulating between different levels of classification (Trusted Computer Solutions, Open Text Corp); anonymous access to information (Anonymizer, Tumbleweed); and communicating directly by voice or instant messages (Insors, Jabber).

Several speakers underlined the increasing use of direct communications between personnel in the field, analysts and final users, which was supplanting “an approach in which experts independently write and post documents hoping they will meet the needs of a vaguely defined set of consumers.”

At present, information-sharing technology exists on the shelf. But John Grimes, the head of information systems at the Pentagon,” acknowledged that the technologies posed problems but not, he declared, as much as “cultural barriers,” that still remain the leading obstacle to communication between U.S. intelligence agencies.

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