The cover story of this issue of CHIPS addresses a technology that holds the promise of becoming a key enabler of information interoperability – Extensible Markup Language, or XML. As we advance in the pursuit of our goals of Web enablement, the use of authoritative data sources, and information portals, XML will be a key component of our overall enterprise architecture and information technology strategy. The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) is committed to leading the Department in fully exploiting XML as an enabling technology to achieve interoperability in support of maritime information superiority.
In both the public and private sectors, organizations have struggled for years to improve data sharing. Within the Department of Defense, efforts to standardize data have achieved varying levels of success. The ability to exchange data seamlessly, however, is a prerequisite to network-centric operations. To achieve our network-centric goals, the Department of the Navy must be proactive in addressing data exchange challenges. XML provides an alternative to previous data exchange techniques that have fallen short in achieving interoperability objectives. Although no single technology can solve interoperability problems, XML is an additional tool that DON developers and data architects can employ to achieve our goals.
In August of 2001 the DON CIO hosted the first meeting of the DON XML Work Group. Since that time approximately 60 representatives of 30 Navy and Marine Corps Commands have regularly convened to establish key components of an overarching DON XML strategy. Through the dedication and professionalism of these individuals, the DON has emerged as a leader in exploiting the growing capabilities of XML.
Prior to my tenure as the DON CIO, while serving in the capacity of DON Acquisition Reform Executive, one of my responsibilities was to lead the Department in the elimination of unique government-developed standards. The changing landscape of information technology demands that the government participate more actively in Voluntary Consensus Standards bodies. All of the current Internet standards, including XML, have been developed by such bodies. To shape our destiny, we must actively engage with these groups to ensure that DON requirements are met. The DON CIO recently joined one of these bodies - the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). With this membership DON personnel can participate in technical committees that are setting the standards for XML data exchange.
I encourage you to consider how you could participate in these efforts and contribute to achieving DON network-centric goals.