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CHIPS Articles: Christopher J. Page, Command Information Officer, Office of Naval Intelligence

Christopher J. Page, Command Information Officer, Office of Naval Intelligence
By CHIPS Magazine - July-September 2015
Mr. Christopher Page began his present assignment, his first as a Senior Executive, as the Office of Naval Intelligence’s (ONI) Command Information Officer in August 2014. In that position, he spent his first nine months detailed to OPNAV as the Director, Assured Command and Control Division (N2/N6F1).

Now, he is responsible for the effective, secure, and efficient execution of Information Technology, Information Management, and Information Assurance operations by ONI for itself, the broader Naval Intelligence community, and that Information Dominance Corps community’s global network of naval, joint, interagency, international, and industrial shareholders.

Prior to rejoining ONI in a Defense Intelligence Senior Level capacity, Mr. Page served for more than 26 years as an active duty officer in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of captain.

Mr. Page responded to questions in late June.

Q:What mission does ONI perform, and how does it add value to the Naval Enterprise through the performance of that mission?

A: Our mission focuses on maritime intelligence, and I will explain what that is and why it matters.

Maritime intelligence is the product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of all available sources of information concerning foreign maritime nations, hostile or potentially hostile seagoing forces, and areas of actual or potential naval operations.

The Office of Naval Intelligence’s mission is to satisfy the maritime intelligence requirements of Navy, Department of Defense, and national decision-makers. Those leaders use ONI products and services to help themselves make better, threat-informed decisions about constructing, organizing, training, equipping, maintaining, and operating America’s naval forces around the world and around the clock. Warfighting advantages arise from those improved decisions. That’s our value proposition.

Through our value-added maritime intelligence, we deliver decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers. We add even more value by deploying our ONI personnel globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America's national security interests.

We are very proud to do these things for the Navy and the Nation. Here in Suitland, Maryland, and everywhere ONI operates, we have the very best people dedicated to accomplishing the mission.

Q: ONI undoubtedly depends on an information architecture to enable mission performance. Can you tell us about that architecture?

A: ONI’s enterprise architecture is the Office of Naval Intelligence Operationally Networked Enterprise, otherwise known as “ONI-ONE.” Oriented on the maritime intelligence mission, it exists to help the men and women of ONI work together and with their global network of mission partners to carry out the core functions of all-source collection, processing, integration, evaluation, analysis, interpretation, and administration with the proper physical and virtual safeguards.

By necessity, ONI-ONE operates across multiple national and international security domains; interoperates with the higher level architectures of the Department of Navy (DON) and Intelligence Community (IC); and integrates with the decision support systems employed by naval warfighters at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Q: You mentioned international partners, can you name them?

A: Yes, international partners are very important. We work closely with not only traditional allies but coalition teammates throughout the world, particularly in such important regions as the Far East, Middle East, and Europe. Maritime intelligence was, is, and always will be a team sport.

Q: As the ONI CIO, what is your vision for the future of ONI's information architecture, and what is your strategy for implementing that vision?

A: My vision is an ONI-ONE that is more secure, more cost-effective, and more responsive to the dynamic maritime intelligence requirements of our supported decision-makers.

My strategy for realizing that vision is five-fold: reducing ONI’s cyber-attack surface, thereby decreasing the risk of a devastating data loss; converging key components of ONI’s communications and computing infrastructures, thus generating a defensible and cost-effective technical foundation; using that foundation as the basis for provisioning the mission capabilities we choose to retain on premises because of cost, schedule, or performance; moving the remaining capabilities to the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) and Intelligence Community Information Technology (IT) Enterprise (IC ITE) service providers; and refocusing our IT Service Management (ITSM) policies and processes from systems to seats and services.

The strategy assumes that our architecture must evolve over time. Continuous evolution, enabled by a sound technical refresh cycle, will ensure that our mission-enabling systems, processes, and security posture remain dynamic, outpacing the threat and keeping pace with advances in intelligence tradecraft.

Our movement from a systems-centric model to a model based on managing seats and services is a particularly exciting part of the plan for achieving continuous, upward evolution. That movement requires us to change our way of thinking and our practices. We will leverage commercial best practices as we manage valued-added services, whether we provision them ourselves on premises or consume through other government agencies or commercial sources.

Commercial best practices, such as ones associated with the consumption and provisioning of cloud services, allow us to take advantage of ‘Big Data’ analytics. As you know, analyzing the large volume and variety of dynamic information that we take-in is like looking for needles in a haystack, to use a popular analogy. Big Data analytics will allow us to ‘find those needles’ as we overcome complexity, gain clarity, and use it as the basis for delivering timely, relevant, and meaningful maritime intelligence to the naval warfighter.

Cloud computing and Big Data analytics are important, but there is much more to the future architecture. For example, through the IC Desktop Environment (DTE), a key component of IC ITE, those who make use of ONI-ONE gain access to a very wide range of intelligence applications and collaborative tools, and they’ll do so while making effective use of the latest solutions for Identity and Access Management (IDAM) and Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC).

My vision for ONI-ONE aligns to IC ITE. Accordingly, it places a great deal of emphasis on being deliberate in deciding which capabilities we keep on premises and which ones we offload to IC ITE services providers in order to gain the cost, schedule, and performance benefits increasingly available to an IC that is embracing the spirit of ‘doing in common what is commonly done.’

Q: Is there innovation in your approach to evolving ONI’s architecture?

A: ONI-ONE must set and maintain conditions for innovation. Keep in mind that technical innovations are important, but they pale in comparison to the analytical innovations that we can and must foster. I am particularly interested in finding new methods for tackling some of our thorniest maritime intelligence problems. Gaining and maintaining access to new data sources, new analytics, new tools, and new partners will help our analysts and their mission partners innovate in profound ways.

Q: How does your strategy account for the need to join the rest of the DON in consolidating networks under the Next Generation Enterprise Network?

A: Migrating ONI-ONE’s unclassified and collateral networks to NGEN is a major component of our strategy for realizing the vision of a more secure, cost-effective, and responsive architecture. We are excited about the opportunity to join and reap the benefits of the Navy and Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) under the Government Owned/Contractor Operated (GO/CO) NGEN contract, thus bringing to an end more than a decade of operations in a legacy network status.

Our migration will begin in earnest in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET) portion will be done later in that FY 16. The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET) portion, Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), will be done before the end of FY 2018. A final portion, one oriented on a specialized Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Enclave, will take place soon thereafter.

Q: How does your strategy account for the need to join the rest of the IC in adopting the capabilities of the IC ITE?

A: Migrating ONI-ONE’s Special Compartmented Information (SCI) networks to IC ITE is another major component of our strategy for realizing the vision of a more secure, cost-effective, and responsive architecture. We are excited about the opportunity to join the other 16 IC elements in reaping the benefits of “doing in common what is commonly done” under the IC ITE construct.

Our migration to IC ITE, much like our migration to NGEN, begins in earnest in FY 2016 and extends through FY 2018. It involves, among other things, adopting the IC Desktop Environment (DTE), as well as consuming such services as IC Applications Mall (AML), IC Cloud, IC Identify Access and Authorization (IAA), and IC Information Transport Services (ITS).

Maneuvering into position as a consumer of IC services is a major evolution, one that will position us for sustained success as Navy’s gateway to the IC.

Q: What does success look like? How do you know if the strategy you've put in play is making a difference, particularly in term of your number one objective: improved mission performance?

A: Everything we do is about the mission: delivering timely, meaningful, and relevant maritime intelligence to the decision-makers who lead our Navy. Our progress measures and measures of effectiveness are designed to help us gauge how well our secure, converged, and aligned ONI ONE architecture is helping us perform that mission.

The progress measures track movement along the lines of operation leading to the desired reduction of the cyber-attack surface, convergence of the communications and computing infrastructure, rationalization of locally provisioned services, consumption of services from NGEN and IC ITE providers, and refocusing ITSM policies and processes.

The effectiveness measures focus on how that synchronized movement has allowed us to decrease the total cost of ownership, reduce the capability delivery timeline, and improve mission performance through those delivered capabilities.

Q: Where are you on the path to using IC ITE — are any services being used now?

A: We are making great progress on the path to IC ITE. One particularly important example of our progress centers on our employment of the aforementioned IT, or ‘Information Transport Services,’ component of IC ITE.

ONI has positioned Navy to be a major player in the arena of ITS, the modernized solution for transmitting, receiving, storing, and making effective use of organizational messages in all compartments and across all classification levels.

Each week, ONI is successfully handling millions of messages via ITS. It is doing so for itself, other shore commands, and an increasingly large number of battle force platforms, to include all SCI-capable ships equipped with the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES).

ITS is an IC ITE success story for ONI, the rest of Navy, and the IC.

Christopher J. Page, Command Information Officer, Office of Naval Intelligence
Christopher J. Page, Command Information Officer, Office of Naval Intelligence

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