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CIA CIO John Edwards Discusses IT Priority Areas with NVTC Board of Directors

John Edwards, Chief Information Officer at the CIA, addressed the NVTC Board of Directors on September 18 at PenFed Credit Union. His presentation outlined his office’s efforts to assure that the CIA’s IT infrastructure supports the agency’s mission by being secure, consistent and mobile.

Edwards shared that his number one priority is to keep the CIA’s network and information secure. Specifically, he highlighted the need for constant improvement to stay ahead of adversaries and a cybersecurity strategy where offense informs defense, which then informs offense in a continuous cycle. In order to ensure consistency across the agency and its many internal mission partners, Edwards has implemented a franchise model where mission partners operate their own IT infrastructure but must follow a mandatory and standard set of IT security standards and services.

NOVA Foundation Awards.
CIA CIO John Edwards

In addition to a focus on security and consistency, Edwards emphasized the importance of the cloud in serving the CIA’s mobile workforce and in allowing the CIA to be more agile in operating its IT infrastructure. Specifically, he shared that his goal to not “build what you can buy or buy what you can adopt.”

Finally, Edwards highlighted the CIA’s efforts to bring more young IT workers into its workforce, both directly and through its industry partners, through internships, referrals and a strategy to get young recruits through the clearance process before they graduate.

In closing, Edwards expressed his belief in the importance of building and expanding the CIA’s relationships with vendors, academia and other government agencies as partners.