The Central Intelligence Agency wants to make it easier to communicate with industry — so it’s upgrading to email.

Speaking Oct. 2 at the VMware Public Sector Innovation Summit in Arlington, Virginia, CIA chief information officer Juliane Gallina said that the CIA was looking to replace its fax machines with email in a program called “Gray Magic.”

“It’s a new network; it’s secure and it’s designed specifically to allow industry partners to have their own secure, direct communications in collaboration with government to help us facilitate acquisitions and procurement," Gallina said.

Gallina said that she is “hoping” that the new system will help better the “quality and the content of our communications with industry."

“We’re really dedicated to making it work,” Gallina said.

The program is currently in beta testing with some industry partners. This is one step that the CIA is making to “lubricate” conversation with industry, Gallina said.

“If you do work with the CIA, you ought to have already applied for an account with Gray Magic,” Gallina said.

The CIA declined to provide further details on the program. Gallina’s speech largely focused on CIA’s efforts to better engage with industry. She said that since she joined the CIA in April of this year, she’s had over 70 engagements with industry. Gallina is no stranger to industry, as she spent nearly a decade at IBM.

“I value those [conversations] and ... I’m encouraging members of my staff and others to partner with you and really listen,” Gallina said.

The CIA is also recompeting “almost all of our major IT contracts,” in the next two years, Gallina said. The CIA is also expanding its commercial cloud capabilities to a multivendor, multicloud environment, after choosing Amazon Web Services to build a $600 million cloud for the agency in 2013.

Gallina said the CIA was looking “to allow industry to teach us and show us how solutions can be provided without having government people always being right in the middle."

Andrew Eversden covers all things defense technology for C4ISRNET. He previously reported on federal IT and cybersecurity for Federal Times and Fifth Domain, and worked as a congressional reporting fellow for the Texas Tribune. He was also a Washington intern for the Durango Herald. Andrew is a graduate of American University.

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