[ISN] Security agency’s CIO outlines transformation plans

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Mar 29 2002 - 00:43:46 PST

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    By Joshua Dean 
    March 27, 2002 
    The National Security Agency is working to transform its information
    technology business practices as the war on terrorism progresses, a
    senior agency official told technology vendors Wednesday.
    NSA CIO Richard Turner outlined the agency's transformation goals at a
    breakfast meeting sponsored by FSI, a McLean, Va.-based IT market
    research and consulting firm. Turner has been NSA's CIO for eight
    months. Previously, he was CIO at the Federal Trade Commission and
    The war on terrorism has complicated one of the agency's missions: to
    protect all classified and sensitive information stored in or sent
    through federal government systems, Turner said. NSA is reevaluating
    the way it does business in light of the Bush administration’s focus
    on information sharing, he said. The agency is now working with
    agencies whose IT systems are not secure enough to handle NSA's
    classified information.
    "Information sharing is a work in progress," Turner said.
    Since Sept. 11, NSA offices around the world have been working 24
    hours a day, seven days a week. While the around-the-clock schedule
    has strained NSA's IT workforce, the staff is so dedicated, Turner
    sometimes can't get workers to go home, he told the group.
    "I became a wartime CIO very quickly," he said.
    Even though NSA's mission is very different from that of other federal
    agencies, its IT challenges are surprisingly similar, Turner said. In
    his short tenure as CIO, Turner has focused on bringing strong IT
    management practices to NSA and on building a capital planning and IT
    investment review process at the agency. Once projects have been
    vetted under this process they will be monitored under new performance
    measures, he said.
    NSA has also committed to outsourcing its IT infrastructure. The
    agency awarded Project Groundbreaker - an IT outsourcing contract
    worth between $2 billion and $5 billion - to a contracting team led by
    Computer Sciences Corp. in July 2001. Turner said NSA is also spending
    more than before on IT and plans to increase its dependence on
    commercial, off-the-shelf hardware and software - a major shift for an
    agency that usually builds its own IT systems.
    Turner has also created a new program office within his organization
    to focus on contingency planning, business continuity and disaster
    recovery. He hired a senior executive away from NASA who "lives and
    breathes" business continuity to head the office.
    For security reasons, NSA doesn't advertise its contracts in the
    federal government's normal procurement circles. Turner encouraged
    small businesses in particular to take advantage of procurement
    orientation sessions held every two weeks at NSA headquarters in Ft.  
    Meade, Md. "There are a lot of good ideas out there we need to know
    about," he said.
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