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DIA CIO Talks Securing, Sharing Intel ‘Data Layer’

DIA CIO Grant Schneider, Photo: dia.mil

Deputy Director of information management and CIO of the Defense Intelligence Agency Grant Schneider has strong feelings about the data layer —  the military-intelligence agency’s wealth of information and its ability to be both shared and secured.

In an extensive interview with Defense Systems, Schneider, who is also chairman of the Defense Department Intelligence Information System’s Executive Council, explained how consideration of DIA’s data layer is playing a role in everything from cloud computing to a post-WikiLeaks vigilance of data security.

DIA’s focus on cloud computing starts with the data layer, he said.

“We are developing the Intelligence Community data layer, which is really a way to take our existing databases and have them indexed in a common manner so that I don’t have to create a new copy of the database every time I have a new application that wants to run against it,” Schneider said, “which is what has happened in the past.”

The end goal is to consolidate datasets while still making them “authoritative and accessible via the cloud environment to whoever needs them,” he added.

As for WikiLeaks, Schneider said it comes down to being able to both secure and share the data.

“So we have got to have the proper controls, the proper understanding of what is in that data layer, who should have access, what are the business rules that govern access to the data and visibility into the data that’s there,” he said.

It’s clear — the data layer at DIA and across the Intelligence Community is a huge endeavor.

In fact, DIA is also working with sister intelligence agencies — the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office — to more closely align their respective IT architecture and infrastructure, known as the Quad, Schneider said.

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