The need for the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise is growing more urgent as wartime operations depend increasingly on data. (STAFF / AFP/Getty Images)
The Defense Department and the intelligence community have been working on a joint information-sharing framework designed to connect the most remote corners of military operations. Work on the Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) has been under way for nearly half a decade, and the massive undertaking – which aims to bridge disconnected DoD and intelligence community information, teams, tools and technologies – continues to evolve.
The need for DI2E is only growing in urgency as wartime operations increasingly hinge on data.
“One thing that’s happened…is over last 10 years, whether it’s space, airborne or now cyber, we’ve increased our intelligence production tremendously, by orders of magnitude,” James Martin, director of defense intelligence in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, said April 16 at the GEOINT conference in Tampa, Fla. “If you look at the American way of war, it used to be industrial-based. Since Desert Storm particularly, it’s turned into information-dominance type of warfare. So what we do…is a critical part of the American way of fighting wars.”
DI2E is growing in conjunction with other DOD and intelligence community (IC) information-sharing efforts – namely, the Pentagon’s Joint Information Environment and the IC’s ICITE. DI2E preceded those two efforts, now central in military and IC operations, so the officials behind it have had a hand in creating the networks that underpin JIE and ICITE.
The DI2E framework “is the key that will allow us to technically bridge between what ICITE does and what JIE does. And it’s a work in progress,” Martin said. “It’s composed of software services that will enable us to be interoperable…we’ve defined a set of 183 services that cover we do within defense intelligence.”
Martin emphasized that DI2E is not a competitor to JIE or ICITE, but their confluence also makes things complicated – that’s why it remains a “work in progress.” He said that the National Reconnaissance Organization has been hired to look at the systems’ various technical capabilities and conduct compatibility testing between JIE and ICITE.
“One of the big challenges is that those two entities are evolving as well. They’re not fixed in stone,” Martin said.
That means all the services and intelligence organizations are working to get their systems compatible. DoD and IC officials speaking at GEOINT, noting the hurdles ahead in migration and interoperability, questioned whether a 2018 deadline for that may be feasible.
“I know there is documentation and there is discussion about [full operational capability] dates…but I’ll tell you from [an Army] perspective, I don’t think we’re going to be ready in 2018,” said Patricia Guitard, deputy CIO and senior advisor in the Army Office of the G-2. “I think we’ll have made significant progress…some of the things we’re transitioning, we’re putting them on the runway and they’re ready to fly, but we haven’t put them in the air yet.”