Monday, April 28, 2014

Interoperability Clearinghouse Launches "Agile Cloud" Collaboration

Last Wednesday, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret) John T. Brennan, Interoperability Clearinghouse (ICH) Executive Director, kicked off the Agile Cloud collaboration. This industry-wide effort is targeted at developing an open and inclusive cloud service brokerage environment capable of rapidly provisioning innovative technologies to the US Government on a fee for service basis. This cloud services environment will favor existing commercial services over custom development, will incorporate industry standards and will enforce a consistent implementation environment. Additional key characteristics will include:
  • Interoperable technologies;
  • A consistent acquisition model;
  • Standard technical assessment framework; and a
  • Standardized service level management model.
A key difference between this and other government focused cloud computing efforts is that the Agile Cloud environment will be funded and implemented by industry.

The kick-off event's keynote speaker was Polly Schaffer, Industry Innovation Advocate for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). Emphasizing the dramatic departure from "business as usual" this model represents, she restated quotes she made at last week's GEOINT Symposium:

Polly Shaffer addresses GEOINT 2013* Symposium
“We need to communicate NGA’s vision, needs, challenges and opportunities. “To increase transparency, we need to expose more about NGA to prospective partners in an unclassified environment. Connecting with prospective partners will help the agency learn their capabilities, interest areas and ideas." 

"The clearance process is another area that needs to be streamlined to make cleared people available on-demand. The agency must also look beyond the traditional ways of contracting services for innovative ways to compensate partners for their services. We’re talking about pay-per-use and pay-per-impact on mission." 

"The new compensation model will seek to implement agile ways to contract with partners, so that getting a contract could be a simple as clicking a link. We will develop and implement processes and high-performance technical solutions that allow globally distributed virtual teams to be formed on-demand, based on topics, people’s registered skills and security classifications. NGA with its customers and partners will co-create capabilities, content, products and services in an online common environment that builds on our collaboration efforts."

"The target for implementing these changes is 2017. The era of the [request for proposal] and traditional acquisition is waning. We have to craft a new national defense economic model based on a dis-aggregated supply side.”

Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager,
Information Sharing Environment
Pamela Wise-Martinez, Senior Enterprise Architect, PM-Information Sharing Environment, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, also made a presentation at the event. Her remarks focused on how artifacts and guidance from "Project Interoperability" could be leveraged to make the envisioned Agile Cloud a reality. The goal of Project Interoperability is to help government and non-government organizations identify a baseline of terms, tools, and techniques to connect networks and systems. They represent an architecture-agnostic approach that promises to normalize the way information sharing technology is developed. This project is managed by Kshemendra Paul, Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (ISE), which is the national office charged with advancing responsible information sharing in support of counterterrorism and homeland security. ISE works with federal, state, local, and tribal government partners, and with the private sector.

This event was the first of three scheduled organizational meetings. The next event is scheduled for May 21, 2014. ICH invites all interested parties to follow this industry collaboration by joining the Agile Cloud Working Group on LinkedIn. Additional information can also be requested via email to

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