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CHIPS Articles: NAVSEA, SPAWAR Recognized with GCN Award

NAVSEA, SPAWAR Recognized with GCN Award
Innovative Navy IT projects among government winners
By Sharon Anderson - August 21, 2014
Government Computer News recognized 10 government IT projects with top honors in the 2014 GCN Awards for IT achievement. The judges this year picked a special project, "the relocation of Naval Sea Systems Command offices in the aftermath of the 2013 Navy Yard shootings, in a tribute to those who lost their lives and in recognition of their NAVSEA colleagues who picked up the pieces after the tragedy," GCN reported. GCN announced the winners Aug. 18.

According to GCN, projects were judged based "on the impact of the program on the agency or public, the innovation in the project technology plan and the quality of leadership in the team that carried the projects to fruition."

The winning projects and their teams will be featured in the October issue of GCN and honored at GCN’s annual awards gala dinner and reception at the Ritz Carlton, Tyson’s Corner on Oct. 14, GCN announced.

Terry Halvorsen, Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense, was one of the judges among a mix of government and industry executives.

GCN provided a description of the SPAWAR and NAVSEA winning IT projects:

Commercial Cloud PAO under DOD Security Model
Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command

In 2011, the Under Secretary of the Navy directed the department to cut its IT budget by 25 percent over the next five years. SPAWAR’ commercial integration team (CSI) addressed the mandate by enabling Navy to move low-impact information systems and functions to commercial cloud service providers.

The effort would prove instrumental to the Navy’s cost-cutting drive and its ambitious plan to cut maintenance costs by closing 150 data centers. It would also be a challenge: The Navy has hundreds of thousands of personnel depending on the security and reliability of its IT systems, sometimes in life and death situations.

In carrying out the cloud initiative, the SPAWAR CSI team had to create security protocols, architect an enterprise environment and determine the most effective paths for acquisition. Cloud service providers could provide the building blocks of a solution, but risks had to be mitigated through engineering and by DOD personnel in order to comply with accreditation protocols. To do this the CSI team coordinated closely with Amazon Web Services to create a cloud environment that set up a secure roadmap for hosting DOD information in a commercial cloud environment and established the SPAWAR CSI team as a trailblazer in DOD’s path to secure cloud computing.

Navy Yard Headquarters Relocation
Naval Sea Systems Command

On the morning of Sept. 16, 2013, tragedy struck the Navy Yard, home of the Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Washington, D.C., headquarters. As a gunman entered Building 197, employees scrambled to get to safety, leaving laptops, cell phones and other personal belongings behind. The government and contracting communities took a terrible blow that day, losing 12 employees. In the wake of the tragedy, NAVSEA was faced with a difficult balance: to be mindful of the need to heal, while restarting operations and providing 2,500 employees with a new work environment.

NAVSEA’s goal was to get all employees back online before Dec. 25, 2013, during which time they needed to replace mobile devices lost or left behind; pull 185 miles of new cable in rewiring its new facility at Buzzard’s Point; and setting up security compliance and system management for accessing the command’s existing networks. With the team’s constant attention to the project, they met their goal and had sufficient infrastructure in place to allow the NAVSEA staff to get back to work only a month after the incident, a case study of focus, honor and leadership.

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