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Archive for July 22nd, 2009

DorobekInsider: Intel on the gov 2.0 front lines – and a new report assessing A-Space

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Editor’s note: This item is re-posted from earlier this week. Unfortunately, for some reason, the item has just disappeared. Federal News Radio’s tech team is working on it, but… it is one of my favorite posts — so I am just re-posting it.

When the history of government 2.0 is written, the intelligence community will get several chapters. In fact, I’m finishing up a pre-publish copy Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee‘s wonderful book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges (set for November release – although there is an active effort to move up the publication date). Anyway, in McAfee’s book, Intellipedia ends up being one of his four enterprise 2.0 case studies — right up there with a case from Google.

First off, a definition for people who don’t know what Intellipedia — or even a wiki — is. Wikis are Web sites designed for collaboration where groups can come together to collect and edit data. Of course, the best known wiki is the enormously successful Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that taps into the wisdom of crowds. Intellipedia started out as a Wikipedia-like wiki for the intelligence community. And Intellipedia has evolved into a suite of Web. 20 tools for the intelligence community — the Intellipedia wiki, which uses the free, Wikimedia software; a photo sharing tool akin to Flickr; a social bookmarking tool akin to Delicious (my Delicious bookmarks)… and on and on…

In so many ways, this remarkable suite of tools has been at the cutting edge of the transformation of how government uses information. Not only is Intellipedia significantly ahead of most government agencies — therefore they are often requested for speaking posts — but I would argue that the intelligence community is well ahead of many private sector organizations.

And one cannot discount the challenges facing the intelligence community. One just has to go back and read the 9/11 Commission’s final report as a reminder, as McAfee recounts in his book: The 9/11 Commission’s “conclusions can be summarized using two phrases that became popular during the investigations: even though the system was blinking red before 9/11, no one could connect the dots.” (If you either have never read the 9/11 Commission’s report or it has been awhile, it is a remarkable piece of work — almost chilling… and a surprisingly readable narative of what happened. And owners of the Amazon Kindle, you can get it for only 99-cents.)

The goal was to create tools that enable dot connecting — that make data visable and more usable. The goal is share data — and, by extension, knowledge — across the traditional and very well established boundaries in the intelligence community.

In Intellipedia team has recently posted a video that describes what this is all about much better then I could.

So out of the mistakes of 9/11… and out of the 9/11 Commission report… developed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is supposed to bring the myriad of intelligence organizations.

There were undoubetedly the organizational and systemic changes, but what also started happening was — to put it simply — stuff. Among the stuff were these tools — and they developed both with some top-down help, but they also evolved organically.

As I mentioned, Intellipedia is way ahead of just about everybody else. So they are fascinating to watch develop because they are facing issues that most organizations will face in the coming years.

Last year, GCN’s Joab Jackson wrote a much discussed story provocatively titled Intellipedia suffers midlife crisis. And Intellipedia is at an interesting place at its evolution. (When the GCN story can out, I thought the headline was preposterous — after all, these tools have been around for a few years. My sense is the baby is barely walking. Yet the headline was more provocative then accurate — but it ended up spurring a very good discussion around standardization. The question at the heart of the argument is: Should these tools eventually be required use within organisations?)

One of the tools is A-Space. The more formal definition of A-Space is “a common collaborative workspace for all analysts from the USIC. That is accessible from common workstations and provides unprecedented access to interagency databases, a capability to search classified and unclassified sources simultaneously, web-based messaging, and collaboration tools.” Think of it more as a Facebook for the intel community. (Read more about A-Space in FCWInformation Week… even CNN… and a post from Lewis Shepherd, who was chief of the innovation directorate of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and is now with Microsoft.

It is a fascinating way of trying to share information.

The Defense Intelligence Agency recently commissioned a study assessing A-Space. The study, conducted by Nancy Dixon, a knowledge management expert, has recently been completed and the report is fascinating. Dixon blogs the conclusions and links to the full report [PDF]. I have also posted it below.

In short, A-Space shows real promise.

I’ll just provide bullet items of her conclusions, because you can read more detail about them for yourself in her report, but… I will quote the top one:

  • A-Space Creates a Collaborative Culture that Serves as a Model for Collaboration

The most significant feature of A-Space is the open, collaborative, and appreciative culture that is developing. Through the on-line interaction, counterparts in agencies are coming to know each other as valued colleagues. The willingness to help others on A-Space is evident everywhere. The informality of the language and the friendly banter create the feel of a comfortable conversation among peers. There is a growing sense of trust that makes it acceptable to offer to one’s thinking even when it is not completely formed. As A-Space numbers grow, it has the potential to make the interagency collaboration that is so needed, a reality. It is this culture of trust along with the functionality of A-Space and the classification level, which supports the analytic benefits that are accruing through analysts’ interaction on A-Space, and could be a model of collaboration for any occupational skill in any venue.

The others:

  • A-Space Classification Level Provides Access to Long Obscured Documents
  • A-Space Functionality Promotes Networking Across Organizational Boundaries
  • A-Space Enhances Users Situational Awareness
  • A-Space Allows Users to Augment their Ability to Interpret Information
  • Analysts use A-Space to Test Ideas and Theories Early in the Knowledge Creation
  • Process

Also be sure to read the challenges… and the recommendations. It is a fascinating study.

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:41 PM

DorobekInsider: 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and hires Corrin as DOD reporter

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The 1105 Government Information Group has hired a new reporter to cover the Defense Department and has promoted David Rapp, who was hired originally as the 1105 GovInfo editorial director. Rapp has been promoted to 1105 Government Information Group vice president of content.

First Rapp:

Insiders tell me that the title matches the role that Rapp is playing, which has a much wider scope as content increasingly isn’t just a print product anymore. Rapp is reorganizing the newsroom around content first — and secondarly on where that content goes, whether it be print or Web or even events. The new title puts Rapp on par with 1105’s VP of events and the still being sought VP of sales (group publisher).

And welcome to 1105 GovInfo’s new DOD reporter, Amber Corrin. Corrin most recently was at editor of the newsletter group of Hart Energy Publishing, according to her LinkedIn profile… before that, she was at AFCEA’s SIGNAL magazine. She started at 1105 on Monday.

I found this bio from when she was Signal:

Amber Corrin
Assistant Editor
Amber Corrin is SIGNAL’s assistant editor. Corrin is responsible for the production of SIGNAL Connections and writes the International Events and Chapter items. For SIGNAL Magazine, she compiles and edits the Chapter News, Progressions and International Calendar columns. She also covers AFCEA events.

Corrin has covered international affairs, foreign policy and consumer health for United Press International; she previously freelanced for the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail, including ground reporting of the first post-Hurricane Katrina Mardi Gras and 9th Ward clean-up efforts in New Orleans. A graduate of West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, she helmed one of the nation’s premier college newspapers and has won awards for her editorial writing and for young veteran coverage.

[EDITOR’s CAVIAT: I write a column for Signal magazine, and, of course, I used to work for 1105 GovInfo. Take all of that for what it’s worth.]

Congratulations to both.

I hear there were other changes within the organization, but I haven’t been able to nail those down.

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:28 AM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: Identity management — the liner notes

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I am moderating a panel this morning on identity management — it is a custom event that 1105 Government Information Group is putting on for Juniper Networks titled Why Network Security Demands Trusted Identity Management. And, as you can see on the agenda, before my panel, they have two great speakers — Tom Donahue, the director of cyber policy for the national security staff, and Dale Meyerrose, Vice President and General Manager for Harris Corporation and the former CIO for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. [Up until my panel starts, I am taking notes — and posting them with the caveat that these are my raw notes. You can read them here.]

And then there is my panel, which focuses more on the issues of where the rubber meet the road — how do you make this happen.

Session 3 — Discussion Panel 10:25 – 11:40am Implementing Identity Management: Keys to Security and Success Moderator: Chris Dorobek , Co-Anchor, The Daily Debrief, Federal News Radio Panelists:

  • Mary Dixon, Director, Defense Manpower Data Center, Defense Department
  • Stephen Duncan, Director, The Center for Identity Management and Information Assurance, Office of Integrated Technology Services, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration
  • Steve Hanna, Distinguished Engineer, Juniper Networks

What Attendees Will Learn:

  • Trends across government to strengthen converged credentials for employees and contractors
  • What makes an identity management program successful and secure
  • How government organizations are deploying trusted identity management initiatives
  • How agencies can improve existing identity management programs
  • Lessons learned from seasoned professionals from the public and private sectors
  • Common mistakes to avoid and opportunities to maximize proven technologies
  • How agencies are moving ahead to deliver secure, reliable physical and logical access to government information assets and facilities
  • What’s next for identity management and why it is critical to broader national security goals

On Tuesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to Bob Dix, Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. Dixformerly served as the Dix served as the Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Information Policy. Hear our conversation here. What is fascinating is how identity management issues really have changed and evolved. It has moved beyond the almost tedious but important question of who has given out how many HSPD-12 cards to the much more interesting question of what do you do with those cards — and how do you secure the identity information behind those cards. In our prep call, Dixon told me that as identity management becomes one of the critical ways of ensuring the security of the network, suddently the databases that contain all that information about identity become critically important. After all, if you take out that information, you cripple everyting else. (Anybody else see the movie Eagle Eye where the computer essentially erases Shia LaBeouf identity.) As always, when I speak, I sometimes make reference to conversations I have had on Federal News Radio 1500 AM, so… if you want that information, here are the liner notes… and I may add to this after the presentation depending on what we talk about.

A lot of this is being spurred by the Obama administration’s cyber-security review, which was issued earlier this year. You can find all sorts of resources about the Obama cyber-review in the DorobekInsider reader: Obama administration cyber-security policy review.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Google’s chief Internet evangalist Vint Cerf, the man widely referred to as the father of the Internet, as part of Federal News Radio’s Meet the Innovator series. He told me that in some important ways, the Internet is still incomplete — and one important part is the lack of identity management. You can hear part one of my conversation with Cerf… and part two. And I’ll add to this post if there are other links that people reference today.

UPDATE: Juniper’s Steve Hanna mentioned Trusted Network Connect, which, according to Wikipedia:

Trusted Network Connect is an open architecture for Network Access Control, promulgated by the Trusted Network Connect Work Group (TNC-WG) of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). It aims at enabling network operators to provide endpoint integrity at every network connection, thus enabling interoperability among multi-vendor network endpoints. The U.S. Army has planned to use this technology to enhance the security of its computer networks.

The link recommended by Juniper’s Hanna is this one: a white paper that provides an overview of Trusted Network Connect [PDF]. Find more on Trusted Computing Group’s developers page, including a link to the PDF of the Federated Trusted Network Connect (TNC) Version 1.0

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:22 AM

Posted in Events, security, Technology