Monday, October 17, 2011

DNI: Double Digit IC Budget Cuts and NSA: We Are Moving to the Cloud

SAN ANTONIO, October 17, 2011
Speaking at the GEOINT 2011 Conference in San Antonio today, Director of National Security James Clapper said that "we will all have to give at the office - cuts in double digit numbers with a B" for billion, will be needed. Spending on the NIP (National Intelligence Program) and MIP (Military Intelligence Program) in 2010 totaled $80 billion.

"We have been luxuriously funded over the last ten years under supplemental funding. We used contractors to rapidly expand the workforce. We were not as disciplined as we might have been and now we have to be. If contractors failed to come to work tomorrow intelligence would stop. I hate to say it to this group, but we are going to have to reduce our contractor profile."

On how the IC intends to do budget cuts on the inside - Clapper was emphatic "there will be no salami slicing". Clapper will try to protect "our people more rationally than last time. We will continue to hire, unlike what we did in the 90s". In line with this Clapper noted that the NIP and MIP have been completely transparent to one another to prevent unintended consequences - particularly when it comes to sharing funding. The DNI didn't comment on efforts to unify the budget under his control.

Clapper, together with General Alexander the Director or the NSA and USCYBERCOM, were both very enthusiastic about "the cloud" as a pathway to efficiencies. "I have asked the NSA to move as much as they can to the cloud by the end of this year" Gen Alexander said today.

Mr Clapper speculates that up to 50% of the budget savings he outlined can come from IT rationalization and the adoption of the cloud. The Director of NSA Gen Alexander assured the conference of the many advantages of cloud computing. Syncing security products across the enterprise makes a lot of sense, but centralization of databases carries risk. Despite this, offensive cyber ops personnel told Gen Alexander that the cloud offered the best security compared to current practices where intrusions have gone undetected in the system "for up to 9 months", Alexander said.

He noted that services in support of warfighters like the real time regional gateway are enabled by the cloud. In his opinion, the cloud is the best way to ensure protection of mobile platforms like ships and aircraft.

"In Vietnam we were asked to take a grease pencil and 2 corporals. Things have changed." Clapper said of the proposed changes.

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