The CIA has told IT suppliers that it wants to change the way it does business with them.
The organisation is fed up with paying for huge software and hardware products and wants to have companies install a meter instead.
According to Reuters, it wants companies to come up with “metered” pay-as-you-go systems that mean an agent has to stick a few coins in whenever the money runs out.
Ira “Gus” Hunt, the agency’s top technology officer, told an industry conference that the system is like Amazon, where the inventory is vast but the billing is per item.
He said that the old way of contracting for proprietary software inhibits flexibility, as the CIA can’t get new technology early. While even James Bond can get the biro that folds out into a car, the CIA is stuck with the exploding trousers and the underwear made out of jam because of some ancient technology supply contract.
Hunt said that this made it harder to keep up with “big data” at a time that such challenges are growing, especially while federal agencies are tightening their belts for deficit reduction.