The Making of the CIO
"The Power of Team: The Making of a CIO," a seminal book written by the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) staff in 2002, is used throughout information technology (IT) classrooms across the services, and still remains relevant to the changing world of the CIO. Some fundamental points of the book are that CIO organizations need to stay on the leading edge of change, manage through change, and innovate so initiatives stay aligned to the changing technical environment. A dynamic staff, flexible and energetic, is best to tackle and accomplish the tasks associated with adapting to the ever evolving information environment.
By organizational standards, it was only a short time ago that the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 mandated the establishment of federal CIOs, and thus, the DON CIO. Later, the Secretary of the Navy established the two servicelevel DON Deputy CIOs, (Navy and Marine Corps). Several other laws (see the CIO responsibilities box) brought about the requirement to establish clear accountability for information resources management, and service subordinate command information officers (IOs) were created. During the last decade, command IO staffs have worked zealously to become established, grow, and finally, thrive.
The Evolving Role of the Command IO
As organizations continue to define and institute the appropriate workforce structure, they improve in mission effectiveness. It is an ongoing process to understand the organization’s value and seek improvements. The fourth quarter of the calendar year is always a good time for the CIO organization to pause and "take stock" of its accomplishments. Through review of "The Power of Team" (available via the DON CIO website) the command IO can see how the individual organization compares to those standards set back in 2002. In addition to a thorough retrospect, a healthy organization will also envision the future, review its successes and challenges, define its requirements to grow in the future, and look forward to change.
Command IOs have a responsibility to organize, expand and adjust their workforce to meet today's information environment. Because of the DON's increasing dependence on IT and command, control, communications, computers, combat systems and intelligence (C5I), the command IO position is even more relevant today than it was five or six years ago. In today's environment, command IOs may be involved in everything from information systems policy-making to advising on technical aspects of warfighting and mission planning, providing social networking rules, securing the Global Information Grid, protecting personally identifiable data and preparing IT budgets.
The interest in metrics related to the services' ability to provide efficient and cost-effective support to the warfighter has never been greater than it is now. From the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) to the White House's mandate for transparency in government, the services are on the verge of moving from monthly reporting to continuous monitoring.
Vivek Kundra, the first White House appointed CIO, has pledged to increase oversight on all agency IT investments. The Department of Defense (DoD) will not be exempt from this new review process. Service command IOs and their staffs are challenged by the need to adjudicate and balance command funding requirements for information sharing, user friendly tools and information assurance initiatives. Additionally, with the Secretary of Defense's direction to move the DoD toward a more efficient, effective and cost conscious way of doing business, service command IOs may be required to address these topics in a more resource-constrained environment.
Given the changing funding environment, service command IOs must take stock of their c