CIA said to be planning new software acquisition strategy

The agency's top technology employee, Ira "Gus" Hunt said it'll now start acquiring software on a pay-as-you-go basis, rather than enter into licensing agreements.

The Central Intelligence Agency is changing how it buys software, according to a new report.

The agency's top technology decision-maker, Ira "Gus" Hunt, told software vendors yesterday that it's transitioning to a pay-as-you-go purchasing model, according to Reuters. Previously, the CIA entered into licensing agreements with vendors, like SAP and Oracle, to acquire new software.

The move might not make those companies too happy, since they currently have the CIA locked into deals that competitors can't encroach on. With its new policy, however, the CIA has the ability to get what it wants, when it wants, from whichever firm it wants. The move could save the agency money and according to Reuters, make it more agile as new platforms it could use are released.

Inevitably, concerns over the CIA's desire to change its acquisition policy might be raised. To lay down some fire before that happens, Hunt said yesterday that the CIA is not trying to harm vendors in any way, but they "really need to think differently about how we do these things." According to Reuters, Hunt also hinted at allowing vendors with security clearance to "peek under the covers" and see how the CIA is accounting for software.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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