A Roadmap for Innovation – from Center or the Edge?

Fact:   In marking its five-year anniversary earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security released a fact sheet touting the department’s accomplishments in that time, including “establish[ing] the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) to provide a 24-hour watch, warning, and response operations center, which in 2007 issued over 200 actionable alerts on cyber security vulnerabilities or incidents. US-CERT developed the EINSTEIN intrusion detection program, which collects, analyzes, and shares computer security information across the federal civilian government. EINSTEIN is currently deployed at 15 federal agencies, including DHS, and plans are in place to expand the program to all federal departments and agencies.”

Analysis:  I’m not going to write, in this post at least, about US-CERT and EINSTEIN in particular. I will point out that some writers have been skeptical of “Big DHS” progress on cyber security up to now, and the anniversary was an occasion for much cynical commentary. 

cnet-news.jpgCharles Cooper in his popular Coop’s Corner blog on CNet wrote that “when it comes to network security, DHS appears to be more of a wet noodle than even its sharpest critics assumed… Talk with security consultants and former government officials involved with DHS and you come away wondering what these folks do all day.”

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G-Cubed: Gadget Guru Gourley

Fact: According to a press release announcing his joining the corporate Advisory Board for startup Triumfant, longtime intelligence-community technologist Bob Gourley “is a strong advocate for user-focused software and his contributions to the Google Gadget community have placed him on Google’s list of the top 200 gadget programmers in the world.”

 Analysis: Bob Gourley and I served roughly coterminous periods at the Defense Intelligence Agency (I got there a year before him and left only a month after), and it’s fair to say we became partners in crime (bucking rules and The Man), partners in innovation (helping DIA’s CIO to overturn and modernize some seriously deficient infrastructure and apps), and partners in some boozy misadventures entirely unrelated to our work.

Bob is a brilliant technologist – I recommend his blog over on the blogroll – and as the Triumfant press release correctly states, he was a winner of InfoWorld’s Top 25 CTO award this past year – a mark of great pride for DIA, which had never won that award, so much so that DIA Director Gen. Maples re-recognized him for the honor in a special ceremony at the Agency.

 But I have to address this “Google fetish” he has (and he’s not the only one). Let’s tell some truth here….

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