Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: Halvorsen: DoD and Industry Cultures Must Change, Trust is Key

Halvorsen: DoD and Industry Cultures Must Change, Trust is Key
By DISA News - April 21, 2016
Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen said the greatest challenge currently facing DoD’s information technology community, and our industry partners, is culture.

“Technology is really the easy part,” he said at the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association’s Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in the District of Columbia April 21. “I am convinced you will get the technology piece right, but what concerns me is can we get to the culture change needed to [keep our advantages in the cyber domain]?”

Halvorsen told audience members that one of the reasons the Allies won World War II is because the partnerships between industry and government were strong.

“It was not uncommon for people that had been in industry one day to be in DoD the very next day,” he said.

DoD is trying to recreate some of those synergies through programs such as the Information Technology Exchange Program, which gives the department and participating private-industry organizations the opportunity to share best practices and enhance employee and organizational capabilities through personnel assignments that can last from three months to a year.

“That partnership, where we understand what industry is doing, and industry understands better DoD and other parts of the government, is a win for all of us,” he said.

Halvorsen also spoke about the Department’s relationship with Silicon Valley.

“Silicon Valley is not [just] a physical place; it’s a state of mind. There is a cultural climate that fosters innovation,” he said. “We all have to get that culture.”

In the cyber world, we feel the need for agility and innovation more than ever, said Halvorsen, acknowledging that the larger an organization is, the harder it seems to achieve those ends.

“The pace of change in cyber is what makes it different than any other warfare we’ve had in the past. Whatever we put out today is not what we’re going to use tomorrow.”

He called upon industry to work together to provide “best of breed” solution sets.

“There is not one company out there in any business area that has to do with DoD that has all of the answers. That is particularly true in cyber and double particularly true, if there is such a thing, in terms of cyber security.”

Resistance to this level of collaboration is a cultural issue in a capitalist market, Halvorsen acknowledged, but reminded industry partners that they are beneficiaries of the stability of marketplace DoD protects.

The DoD CIO said he is committed to revising the certification and accreditation process industry capabilities and solutions must go through before being used within the department.

“Today we try to certify and accredit individual products, individual software, individual everything,” he said. “That can’t sustain.”

The current process costs too much and takes too long, said Halvorsen. A team of government and industry experts will soon meet to work on revising it.

“What I think might happen is we say to industry ‘if you can demonstrate the following features in your product, we might certify it.’”

Halvorsen invited industry partners to participate in the dialogue on this topic, and suggested that part of the dialogue will involve letting DoD look at products and ask questions about the technology.

“We won’t share that info with others,” he promised, citing the need for trust to be a significant part of the culture change.

“In fact, if I was going to have a watch word for today, it would be trust,” Halvorsen said.

Related CHIPS Articles
Related DON CIO News
Related DON CIO Policy

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer