Rear Adm. Richard J. Mauldin established Commander Task Force Navy Marine Corps Intranet (CTF NMCI) in October 2000 to act as the single command to oversee NMCI operations and security. CTF NMCI will be pivotal to managing the network that supports web-enabled warfighting operations and business processes in the Navy. Specifically, CTF NMCI will define NMCI tactics, techniques and procedures; implement NMCI policy decisions involving network service and restoration priorities; make key decisions on other NMCI-wide operational issues; and act as a catalyst for network innovation.
"Winners...must learn to relish change with the same enthusiasm and energy that we have resisted in the past. "-- Tom Peters
Why We Need Standards
As I was avoiding a game of bumper cars while exiting a single-lane off ramp in Naples, Italy, a "Cinquecento" [vehicle] about the size of a lawn mower barreled towards my car in the wrong direction. Of course, I was furious at his nonchalance, but my fellow Italian drivers seemed oblivious. The beehive of Italian drivers and swarms of mopeds on the "Tangenziale" and all of the highway's tributaries seemed to operate with chaos as the standard. Somehow, they had all quickly adapted to an unwritten norm-the Italian rules of the road-and traffic flowed steadily, albeit on any piece of ground, tarmac or cement that could accommodate a vehicle. Still, the potential for a dazzling array of accidents remained about as likely as the Italians enforcing rules of the road.
I would not presume to say that navigation of our NMCI "highway" is as chaotic as in Naples, but without our own rules of the road, there could be parallels indeed. Our own conglomeration of IT "streets and highways" will soon transform into a truly global information infrastructure, as the NMCI ashore architecture is progressively integrated into the Information Technology for the 21st Century (IT-21) and Marine Corps Tactical Network (MCTN) architectures. We need to create rules to oversee the management of our network, in order to minimize the risk for our own highway "accidents".
First, we need a set of standards to operate our intranet highway. Secondly, like drivers, we need to understand the "rules of the road." For a widely diverse and multi-discipline organization, such as the Department of the Navy (DON), this could be like herding cats.
The Navy is anticipating powerful payoffs of reduced costs, shortened cycle times and enhanced IT service for our warfighting and business customers. The DON must be positioned to get the most value from these digital investments. The NMCI will bring enterprise-level issues that span the very essence of how we conduct business and support warfighting. Information sharing on these new "roads" will allow greater knowledge. As importantly, new information sharing patterns and processes emerge, so will organizational and cultural changes inherent in a "digital democracy."
How we establish the "traffic rules" -- the structured relationships and processes within this electronic landscape -- will directly bear upon the success we have in managing change and achieving enterprise objectives and goals. First, let's look at how another world-class organization in industry managed its transition, to make fast-paced decisions to acquire new IT services and define their value expectations.
In 1993, Steve Ward, Vice President of Business Transformation and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at IBM, was facing an $8 billion loss. He decided making decisions faster, writing software faster, and completing projects faster needed to be a high priority for senior management. Getting "Big Blue's" worldwide, 100,000 employees moving faster required a group of change agents that could push projects forward at blazing speed. Mr. Ward understood that he needed to compress the length of time between an idea or decision and the