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CHIPS Articles: A Message from the DON CIO

A Message from the DON CIO
Posturing the Navy for the Future
By Tom Hicks - October-December 2014
We are making progress in our efforts to transcend the organizational constructs, processes and technologies of the past. A recent example is the DON information management study, introduced in my last column. With Mr. Halvorsen’s departure to become Acting DoD Chief Information Officer (CIO), I was appointed Acting DON CIO to oversee this study and make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy on the future direction of three Secretariat organizations (Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, Management (DUSN M); DON Assistant for Administration (DON AA); and DON CIO).

The study to examine the current state of information management and information technology throughout the DON produced valuable insight and recommendations to improve process and organizational efficiency. We are now using that data within collaborative working groups to shape the road ahead. This is a challenging yet energizing effort that will result in a strong, cohesive, yet flexible organization within the Secretariat. One focus of this effort will be to create a more effective information environment with increased access to data and improved information sharing, and to empower the workforce with the tools and skills for 21st century challenges. Proposed changes will take time to complete, and until directed otherwise, relationships and authorities will remain the same.

One example of the DON’s progress in transcending constructs of the past is the completion on October 1 of the transition of NMCI seats from the Continuity of Services Contract to the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract. This transition is a significant achievement in the evolution and delivery of the Navy and Marine Corps’ enterprise network. It has provided the DON with increased operational and cost insight that will guide investment decisions. The acquisition approach to NGEN leveraged competition to save more than $1.3 billion over the next five years. Additionally, the transition team shaved 90 days off the transition timeline, allowing the DON to begin realizing $20 million per month savings three months ahead of schedule. Enhancements that will continue to be delivered through the transition include: increased cybersecurity, eradication of Windows XP from the NMCI environment, and the introduction of iOS and Android options for mobile cellular users.

There has been considerable interest across the DON to enhance our existing mobile technology capabilities, and promising solutions are close to fruition. During fiscal year 2015, we expect to provide the option of using iOS and Android devices to currently approved mobile cellular device users. This is the result of several successful pilots to test alternative mobile cellular devices and from the Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA) certification of iOS and Android devices for use on NMCI/NGEN. Upcoming guidance as part of a broader announcement will provide additional information on new mobile technology options.

These are all important initiatives that are moving us in the right direction. It is imperative that we continue to pursue such progress as we strive to posture the DON for the future.

Thomas W. Hicks, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Chief Management Officer, Acting Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer
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