Coffee & Conversation with Dr. Adele Merritt
December 7, 2023 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM
On Thursday, December 7, Dr. Adele Merritt, Intelligence Community Chief Information Officer, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), joined INSA Executive Vice President John Doyon for a virtual Coffee and Conversation.
Dr. Merritt kicked off the program by outlining four key areas she is focused on for the year ahead. She underscored the importance of "Architecture for the Future," focusing on the resilience and interoperability of intelligence community networks. This involves ensuring information availability under various conditions and prioritizing security measures, including the implementation of Zero Trust and the exploration of a multi-cloud environment.
Secondly, Dr. Merritt emphasized the critical aspect of cybersecurity. In response to the evolving threat landscape, she prioritizes securing networks against cyber-attacks, modernizing cyber defenses, and enhancing cyber intelligence capabilities. The third priority revolves around workforce development. Dr. Merritt recognizes that the potential of hardware, infrastructure, and software can be fully realized with a vibrant and diverse workforce. She underscored the importance of championing and nurturing a workforce capable of leveraging these technological capabilities for the benefit of the nation. Lastly, Dr. Merritt places great importance on empowering strong partnerships. This involves strengthening collaborations within the IC, international allies, five-eye partners, and contributors from industry and academia.
Dr. Merritt touched on other topics including the collaboration between the CIO and Chief Data Officer (CDO) communities, ensuring alignment between infrastructure-focused CIO initiatives and data management priorities. She emphasized the significance of industry partnerships, recognizing industry as a valuable collaborator for accelerating progress, providing expertise, and fostering innovation. She also spoke to the importance of expanding the talent pool beyond the Beltway, engaging with college campuses, and demystifying government work to attract diverse talents, particularly in the STEM fields.