Published: Tuesday, 05 October 2021 23:55
John Beieler, science and technology director in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, talked about work to declassify agency priorities at the GEOINT 2021 Symposium. Credit: USGIF
ST LOUIS – The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is preparing unclassified documents to share its science and technology priorities with industry and academia, John Beieler, ODNI science and technology director, said Oct. 5 at the GEOINT 2021 Symposium here.
ODNI began creating the documents by asking U.S. government national intelligence managers about needs within their regions or functional areas that were going unmet. ODNI then compared the 100s of “capability gaps” identified with the budget to “see where resources don’t match the priorities,” Beieler said.
Next, ODNI evaluated the various needs based on the likelihood an organization would need to employ a certain tool or capability and the impact on the mission if the tool or capability was not available.
“That gives us a list of what’s important,” Beieler said. “We’ll be able to concentrate our spending and our resources on those true priority areas.”
Currently, ODNI priorities are listed in documents “created at a pretty high level of classification,” Beieler said. ODNI is now working to create unclassified versions of the documents to share with “industry partners and academia, and others with technology expertise who can help us in our mission.”
The documents are the “Intelligence Community Science and Technology Strategic Plan,” the “Intelligence Community Science and Technology Investment Landscape” and the “Intelligence Community Science and Technology Investment Framework.”
Obviously some detail will be lost in the process of creating an unclassified list of science and technology priorities, Beieler said, “but the goal … is to communicate to as wide an audience as possible what our needs are.”
At the same time, ODNI is looking for more flexibility in its work with commercial and academic partners.
ODNI is seeking the authority to establish Commercial Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements, which do not have to comply with extensive Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).
“Obviously FAR-based contracts are the bread and butter of the contracting world, but how do we do things like CRADAs and OTAs to better enable us to move agilely?” Beieler asked. Agility may not be a term many people associate with ODNI, “but we’re trying, I promise,” he added.
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