Top Secret America's weekly roundup
Here are a few tidbits we came across this week that piqued our interest.
* Intelligent Software Solutions of Colorado Springs, Colo. won a $25 million task order from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to do software work. The 12-month deal is part of a $500 million contract that Intelligent Software won last year. The company said in a press release that the program involves "the use of ISS' WebTAS-TK, or Web Enabled Temporal Analysis System Tool Kit," which allows people to "process, analyze, and visualize large amounts of intelligence data from many disparate sources, in multiple form factors."
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More power for National Reconnaissance Office
Changes are in the works for one of the most secretive spy agencies in the U.S. government: the National Reconnaissance Office.
The agency's director, Bruce Carlson, a retired Air Force general who took on his new role last year, gave an update on his office's plans and laid out some details this week at the annual Air and Space Conference, just outside Washington. The NRO builds and operates the country's classified spy satellites and is one of the bigger players in Top Secret America.Continue reading this post »
IC ranked top place to work
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ranked as one of the top 10 Best Places to Work in the U.S. government, according to a recent independent analysis.
The rankings were based on federal workers' job satisfaction and commitment and were put together by the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) and American University's Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation (ISPPI). The secret agency ranked tenth overall among 32 large organizations, each of which employs more than 2,000 people. For ODNI, it is the second consecutive year it has landed in the top 10 list.
"The fact that the IC [Intelligence Community] placed in the top ten for two consecutive years reflects a work force understanding of the critical role they fill and the importance of our national security mission," said Army Lt. Gen. John F. Kimmons, director of the intelligence staff for the ODNI, in an agency press release.
Among the other top 10 places to work in the federal government were a few players in Top Secret America, such as the U.S. Justice Department and the State Department. Other top places included the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Government Accountability Office, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Social Security Administration.
Government keeps national security secrets hush, hush
The number of workers and companies involved in the world of Top Secret America is quite large. An estimated 854,000 Americans have top-secret clearances and nearly 2,000 companies do secret work for 46 government agencies.
A new report from Openthegovernment.org, a coalition of public interest organizations, says that even though the U.S. government is declassifying more materials than in the past, secrets abound. And it says the government is struggling to keep up with the volume of information post 9/11 that it has to review to decide whether to classify or declassify materials.
Deals, tidbits of the week in Top Secret America
Defense mergers on rise
The Pentagon may be planning cutbacks on its outsourcing of work to contractors, but that's not stopped some larger defense contractors from buying up smaller firms that sell specialty services and equipment to the U.S. government's defense and spy agencies.
In recent weeks, major companies have collectively spent about $1 billion buying firms that specialize in such areas as intelligence analysis, cyber security, unmanned drones, infrared sensors and radio frequency technology -- all areas that are expected to be spared from the Defense Department's budget cuts and consolidation efforts. The buyers and sellers are players in Top Secret America.Continue reading this post »
GAO access to intel in dispute
There's a showdown expected this fall between the White House and Congress as to just how much access the Government Accountability Office will receive to do oversight investigations of the country's most secretive intelligence agencies.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the record saying she supports giving GAO, an independently created arm of Congress, more access to investigate the agencies. A measure to do that in the Senate intelligence committee didn't make it through. And then there's the White House. It has threatened to veto a bill that would give GAO more power.Continue reading this post »
Defense IT contracts could get the snip, as Obama administration cuts budgets
With mounting pressure to deal with the country's record $1.5 trillion deficit, the Obama administration is on the prowl for cuts, and defense contractors are bracing - including some of the biggest players in Top Secret America.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, billions of dollars have been spent to support national security efforts, including those in Top Secret America. But there's a push by the administration to look more closely at the spending and the value that the government is getting for its money. This comes on top of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' proposal to cut 10 percent of the funding for work contractors do for intelligence agencies.Continue reading this post »
Tale of the Tomahawk
Remember Tomahawk? The low-flying missile launched from Navy cruisers, destroyers and submarines that was one of those new precision weapons of the first Gulf War and the main tool of counter-terrorism in the 1990's?
Nineteen years after its debut, the now little-used missile is still being manufactured, and that's good news for two Top Secret America contractors.Continue reading this post »
Shh, a roundup of things we've heard ...
Here's a roundup of tidbits of news and deals by government and contractor players in Top Secret America that we've recently heard.
We picked these because either (a) there are mega bucks involved that will make your head spin; or (b) they make you say, hmm, that's an interesting, gee whiz technology.