The Success and Enduring Value of the Information Superiority Vision

By Aaron Weis - Published, February 5, 2021

Aaron WeisIt was one year ago that we published the Department of the Navy's Information Superiority Vision (ISV) which detailed the challenges that we, as a Navy and Marine Corps, faced and the vision that was required to achieve Information Superiority. In the past year I have enjoyed taking every opportunity I can to promote the ISV and share with you its objectives.

The ISV is based on three premises: (1) The DON network, as a warfighting platform, must securely deliver the right information at the right time; (2) The DON must modernize the network to provide properly credentialed Sailors and Marines access to information to fight from anywhere; and (3) The DON must develop a transformative workforce ready to achieve Information Superiority.

The vision document also charts our way forward and details how we will get there by organizing around the themes of Modernize, Innovate and Defend. The vision provides the direction that will help us develop and deliver the capabilities enabling the DON to work more effectively, efficiently and securely at the speed of mission.

Further reinforcing the ISV’s role in the DON's mission, the December 2020 Tri-Service Maritime Strategy and the CNO’s January 2021 Navigation Plan highlighted the need to modernize the future naval force, build better capacity and deliver a more ready and connected fleet to maintain credible deterrence and preserve our advantage at sea. Both publications note that the information environment, cyber domain and electromagnetic spectrum are as important as the ocean, coastal, littoral and space environments to generate decisive Integrated All-Domain Naval Power. The new DON CIO seal, which was first revealed at the East Coast DON IT Conference last November, embraces our mission and underscores for all of us that "Information Superiority is Combat Power."

As a community we have achieved a great deal in a relatively short period of time. The team making the ISV happen is a large and diverse one that is spread throughout the DON, and each one of us has a part to play. For example, every day our Sailors, Marines, civilians and industry partners help us deliver the vision in defending our networks by practicing good cyber hygiene.

In this edition we will read about some of the key accomplishments made in the past year. The “DON CIO Year in Review” article provides an overview of the initiatives we have completed or are currently in progress. One obvious example is how the COVID-19 pandemic led to the rapid introduction of the Microsoft Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) and Office 365 tools into our work environment. This was a significant achievement that we can all be proud of and one that modernized our network and changed the way we work for the better.

Toward the end of the year we launched Operation CATTLE DRIVE which will accelerate the modernization and transformation of the DON’s IT capabilities by identifying and removing unwanted, obsolete, unproductive, insecure, and un-auditable IT systems and applications.

We invested in innovative technologies and established a number of experiments to explore how to leverage and govern the transformative and high-speed effects of 5G. Enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, were also very much a focus as we made progress in drafting a framework that will set out the priorities for these technologies that are critical to our national security.

Among the many other informative articles in this edition, you will learn how to reduce the impact of spectrum-related obstructions, read about our journey toward establishing a Zero Trust Architecture and a new approach to learning from the Marine Corps’ Information Development Institute (IDI).

In the next year we can look forward to a number of major ISV initiatives delivering cloud services, optimizing identity and access, modernizing our networks and transport, enabling visibility and availability, and consolidating our IT portfolios. A brief description of these major initiatives can be found in the “DON CIO High Priority FY2021 Initiatives” article.

Work is underway on all of these initiatives and as they develop we will provide more information on the DON CIO website and publish articles throughout the year on the CHIPS website – which continues to grow in popularity. In 2020, the website attracted over more than 6 million visits to the website with the top five articles attracting over 6,000 views each.

2021 promises to be a year where we hope we can return to some semblance of normality. We must build on the advances we made with the ISV in the past year under extremely difficult conditions and must not lose sight of the challenges that still lie ahead.

This column also coincides with the change in President and Administration. As the new Administration adjusts priorities, the ISV will continue to resonate with its themes of Modernize, Innovate and Defend. The ISV was developed to be enduring; our north star that will guide us to realizing our vision to build Information Superiority to win the Naval fight.

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