Reshaping the DON's Approach to Buying and Managing IT Resources

By Floyd Groce and Karen M. Davis - Published, August 15, 2011

As all personnel within the Department of Defense and across the federal government are well aware, this is an era of increased budget scrutiny. However, with this scrutiny comes a new opportunity to assess and advance how DoD operates and to improve efficiency across a wide variety of business units and operations. As a significant budget item, the massive information technology infrastructure is no exception and offers a number of areas for improvement, while not compromising product and service quality.

Since December 2010, the Department of the Navy is reevaluating how it approaches IT initiatives and working to centralize and consolidate efforts where it makes sense. These efforts are being made while ensuring operational integrity, maintaining sufficient levels of defense-in-depth and fail-over capabilities, and supporting DoD IT Enterprise Strategy and Roadmap consolidation and efficiency initiatives. These efforts are also designed to recognize and address the costs and risks associated with proposed changes, and will be based on solid business case analyses.

DON IT Integrated Product Teams

In a memo dated Dec. 20, 2010, "DON Information Technology/Cyberspace Efficiency Initiatives and Realignment Tasking," the DON Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen announced the establishment of a new department IT policy and governance board, the Information Enterprise Governance Board (IGB), as well as eight new integrated product teams (IPTs) designed to reshape the way the DON approaches its information management (IM), IT/cyberspace and information resources management (IRM) initiatives. The IPTs formed under this initiative are:

• Data Center Consolidation;
• Application Rationalization;
• Enterprise Software Licensing/Hardware and Software Commodity Purchases/IT Services;
• Navy and Marine Corps Portal Environment;
• Near-, Mid- and Long-Term Initiatives;
• Current and Planned IT Acquisition Programs;
• DON Telecommunications Environment; and
• IT/Cyberspace Workforce and Training.

Through the chartering of the DON IGB, the DON established a single, senior management policy and governance forum to decide on IM, IT/cyberspace and IRM matters. Moreover, the DON is now leveraging existing resources and functional processes used by the Navy and Marine Corps to enable improved collaboration and resolve these challenges more rapidly. The newly created IPTs benefitted greatly from the formation of this streamlined approval process, providing a focused, mission-oriented team that is empowered to operate across the more traditional intra-DON organizational structures.

"Be Enterprise, Be Effective, and Be Efficient"

In a follow-on memo dated May 5, 2011, "DON IM/IT/ Cyberspace Campaign Plan," Halvorsen expands the plan by outlining the DON IM, IT/cyberspace and IRM priorities for the next 24 months, based on the following concepts:

• An enterprise approach;
• Centralized and consolidated efforts;
• Maximized security;
• Protected personally identifiable information; and
• Effective and cost-efficient implementation.

He also laid out his vision for the DON IM/IT/Cyberspace Campaign Plan for FY2011-2013 under the theme: "Be Enterprise, Be Effective, and Be Efficient." This memo provides a framework built on four goals:

Goal 1: Sustain an operationally effective, integrated, secure, and efficient IM/IT/cyberspace and IRM capability.

Goal 2: Ensure protection of sensitive information, including personally identifiable information, and timely access to trusted authoritative information to enable effective decision making and mission support.

Goal 3: Attract, develop and retain a highly competent IM/IT/cyberspace and IRM Total Force.

Goal 4: Ensure all IM/IT/cyberspace and IRM investments are effective, efficient, planned, aligned and acquired to support DON enterprise strategies.

IPT-3 Overview & Key Actions

The Enterprise Software Licensing/Hardware and Software Commodity Purchases/IT Services IPT (identified as IPT-3) is tasked with improving the DON's IT/cyberspace investment decisions by assessing and procuring enterprise solutions. This initiative, which supports Goal 4 of the Campaign Plan, is predicated on the idea that by consolidating and centralizing the acquisition of IT hardware, software and services, the DON will lower its investment in IT infrastructure over time. Each IPT has a designated lead to integrate the various tasks the team is assigned. The IPT-3 lead is assigned to the Marine Corps, and is under the guidance of lead integrator Karen M. Davis, Marine Corps Systems Command, director of Product Group 10 (Information Systems and Infrastructure).

IPT-3 is comprised of a distributed team of subject matter experts from across the DON's acquisition, business and financial management, and CIO communities. Specific licensing efforts undertaken within the DON will join SMEs from across the DON to create multifunction teams to support establishment and management of each enterprise software license. The IPT will align with DoD efficiency efforts and with the DoD Enterprise Software Initiative ( program, which is leading the higher level software and hardware strategies for use by DoD components. The DoD ESI is tasked with establishing and managing enterprise commercial off-the-shelf IT agreements, assets and policies for the purpose of lowering total cost of ownership across the DoD, Coast Guard and intelligence communities. The ESI's mission extends across the entire commercial IT life cycle leveraging the DoD's combined buying power with commercial software publishers, hardware vendors and service providers.

IPT-3's initial efforts include focus on consolidation of multiple software contracts across the DON into enterprise-wide contract vehicles or enterprise software licenses to improve buying power. This enables lower volume pricing, secure and more favorable terms and conditions, improved IT asset visibility, and faster time to delivery of commercial software through streamlined processes. IPT-3 delivers regular status reports to the IGB on its current and emerging efforts and raises any issues that need to be addressed by the board.

IPT-3 developed a unified software investment management process for the DON based on recommendations from Navy and Marine Corps leaders in financial management and incorporates solutions and processes that proved to be beneficial for other budget and investment areas. DON budget guidance will now incorporate data requirements of this new process, which will improve visibility into current budget planning and execution, as well as future budgets.

While developing the new processes, the IPT also began work to establish enterprise software licenses. This includes collecting DON requirements, meeting with industry, and identifying products commonly used within the department. The product research includes focus on the software publishers for which there is sizable spending within the DON and tackling the licensing of products that are widely deployed — but may not represent the higher level of spending. Through the work of IPT-3, the DON's IT asset management capabilities will be greatly enhanced through more robust software assurance and maintenance, less costly and more timely access to future upgrades, maximized volume price discounts and optimized licensing terms.


By forming the new IPTs, as well as the Information Enterprise Governance Board, the DON is reshaping how it acquires and manages its software, hardware and IT support services. These initiatives are nothing short of transformational in their scope, and will be instrumental in maintaining an efficient and innovative organization for years to come.

Floyd Groce is director of enterprise commercial IT strategy in the office of the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer. Karen M. Davis is the Marine Corps Systems Command director for Product Group 10 (Information Systems and Infrastructure).

TAGS: Cybersecurity, Efficiencies, ESI, Strategy, Telecommunications

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