One thing the agency will do to address resistance will be to base contract competitions on performance, not head count, "where it's to [a service provider's] benefit to do the work with fewer bodies and make more profit for their company," said Singer.
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra is encouraging agencies to adopt cloud computing, and he recently opened an online apps store that enables federal agencies to buy cloud-based services from Google, Salesforce.com and other vendors. That's something the CIA will not do; its data will remain within the agency's firewalls, said Singer.
Government market research firm Input has revised its forecast for federal cloud-related spending upward; it now expects the government's cloud expenditures to grow from $363 million this year to $1.2 billion by 2014. "I think this is probably a conservative estimate, considering the push from the administration," said Deniece Peterson, an analyst at Reston, Va.-based Input.
Obstacles to the adoption of cloud computing, including concerns about security and loss of data control, may slow momentum, but "I think we'll see broader adoption and higher spending after the administration makes progress in some of the pilot programs it has planned," said Peterson.
Singer said the CIA's IT department was moving in the direction of cloud computing, even if it wasn't using that term, when it widely deployed virtualization technology. Abstracting the operating system and software from the hardware "is the foundation of the cloud," Singer said. "We were headed to an enterprise cloud all along."