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NRO aligns network operations with shared IT strategy

Dec. 17, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
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The National Reconnaissance Office is implementing a five-year strategy aimed at standardizing network operations across the intelligence community.

The strategy, known as the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE), includes capabilities for common desktop software, such as standard email, collaboration tools and video conferencing for all IC employees.

It also offers an IC cloud for secure storage, data and application hosting and an applications mall. The mall will be a central repository for agency-specific apps or those that can be reused within the IC.

In its unclassified congressional budget justification document, NRO said one of its projects will include the initial deployment of the next-generation cloud computing architecture (Central Park), which is the NRO’s instance of the ICITE cloud.

The heavily redacted document is dated April 2013, but it was released publicly only this month by the Federation of American Scientists, which obtained it through a Freedom of Information Act request.

NRO resources also will be used to ensure IT products and services enable key ICITE goals and objectives, with a specific focus on a community-wide IT asset registry and repository that allows IC agencies to reuse capabilities, such as software services.

This registry and repository capability will be critical in building out the ICITE application mall and store.

Under ICITE, the Defense Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency deployed the first iteration of the IC desktop in August. That service will be scaled up to support the entire IC, providing standard email services and messaging and collaboration tools for employees to communicate across agencies.

NRO said one of its sub-projects provides integration of NRO applications onto the ICITE desktop environment. In aligning with ICITE priorities, the agency will continue migrating to a unified platform that supports unclassified, secret/collateral, and Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information environments, including collaboration tool upgrades, virtual desktop client deployment and standardization of user profiles, according to the budget justification.

NRO also is beefing up its network security, including:

■ A phased implementation of the the NRO Continuous Monitoring Program to monitor critical security requirements across all NRO systems.

■ Transition to a formal assessment and authorization tool for ensuring federal systems are secure and can process federal data. The tool is expected to further enable reciprocity for systems and common services across the IC and Defense Department.

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