The semiannual Department of the Navy Information Management/Information Technology Conference continues to be an important communications tool for the IT workforce and IT users, but communications are meant to be a two-way channel between department leadership and the workforce, said the DON Chief Information Officer team, which hosted the conference. At each session, speakers encouraged audience participation and were eager to hear what the DON workforce and industry partners had to say.
The DON IM/IT Conference was conveniently held at the same time and location as the Joint Warfighting Conference, cosponsored by U.S. Joint Forces Command, the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA International. Running from May 11 to 14, the DON IM/IT Conference offered sessions covering many topics, including enterprise architecture, electromagnetic spectrum, strategic sourcing, privacy, asset management, software buying, and DON critical infrastructure protection.
Tom Kidd, the DON director for strategic spectrum and wireless policy, conducted one of the most lively sessions with a number of subject matter experts speaking on naval telecommunications challenges and solutions. Kidd invited command telecommunications managers — as well as the average user — to comment on the department's draft telecommunications policy which is currently under revision.
The Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) session, led by retired Navy Capt. Bob Whitkop, executive director to the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations NGEN System Program Office, drew a large crowd consisting of industry partners and the naval workforce. While industry partners were impatient to gain more insight on the requirements for the network that will replace the historic Navy Marine Corps Intranet, the naval workforce was curious about the improvements NGEN will bring in collaboration tools, applications, bandwidth capacity and security.
Whitkop explained that many organizations, such as the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Communication Networks (OPNAV N6), Headquarters Marine Corps C4, the DON CIO, Naval Network Warfare Command and the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) are among others across the department, working to make NGEN a fully integrated enterprise-wide networking environment — a true extension of the warfighting domain.
The IM/IT workforce sessions are always well attended, but perhaps the DON IT Community Town Hall with DON CIO Rob Carey is the most popular. Mr. Carey is the DON IT Workforce Community Leader and he provided his perspective for enhancing warfighter effectiveness through the efforts of the IT workforce. He also provided an overview of IT workforce trends and remarked on the multigenerational nature of the workforce with baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials all working together.
One of the surprises in forecasting workforce trends is that baby boomers have not retired in the large numbers that were originally predicted by the Office of Personnel Management, Mr. Carey said. Still, recruiting a talented, diverse multicultural workforce and enhancing the skills of the current multigenerational workforce to meet the cybersecurity challenges and technologies of the future are ongoing initiatives within the DON, he said.
One of my favorite sessions is the Knowledge Management track always held on the first afternoon of the conference. Jim Knox, the DON KM leader, always has an enthusiastic slate of speakers. Presenters from Pacific Fleet; Commander, Second Fleet; Multi-National Force-Iraq; Naval Special Warfare Command; and the Virginia Department of Transportation, talked about the challenges and successes of institutionalizing KM in their organizations. They, along with Jim Knox, offered to assist any command or agency in starting a KM program.
The KM community of interest (COI) contains a plethora of information on how to begin and sustain KM practices in an organization.
The DON CIO team also hosted an exhibit at the Joint Warfighting Conference. At the exhibit booth, DON CIO staff provided information about department programs and some of the essential products created by the DON CIO, such as the Computer Network Defense Roadmap 2009, which is included as an insert in this issue, and the Workforce Competency and Career Planning toolkit.
There are so many opportunities for sharing information, networking with colleagues and participating in forums at a DON IM/IT Conference that you can't do it all — but you can try — at the next DON IM/IT Conference, to be held Feb. 1-4, 2010, at the San Diego Convention Center.
To request conference presentations and provide feedback for DON policies and future DON IM/IT Conferences, go to the DON CIO Web site: www.doncio.navy.mil.