DON Makes Progress With Budget Cuts; Savings Initiative Continues

By Enterprise IT Communications - Published, December 7, 2012

The Department of the Navy has made significant progress in adjusting to its smaller budget, but much work remains. The $100 million in savings achieved so far is just a start to the $2 billion cut to the DON’s IT budget, said Terry Halvorsen, the DON Chief Information Officer.

"We have to put in place a business IT operating system that's going to cost the money we have left [after the $2 billion already taken from the budget] or it will end up coming out of mission money and we certainly don't want that to happen," Halvorsen said during a DON CIO media roundtable held at the Pentagon recently. During the hourlong session, Halvorsen outlined the department's priorities and achievements to date and took a series of questions from reporters.

The savings span several DON initiatives. For example, the Department established the DON Enterprise Wireless Contracts in January 2011 with the intent of streamlining the department's cellular purchasing habits. These contracts enable the DON to pool its cellular purchasing requirements to drive down costs and gain greater transparency into purchasing spending. Savings to date, Halvorsen said, amount to $30 million.

Another initiative that is saving money is the Enterprise Licensing Agreement, which provides better spending visibility and keeps costs down by using software licenses that apply to the entire department rather than purchasing multiple licenses for various commands. Already, the department has seen about $35 million saved, which is " … right about where we thought it would be," Halvorsen said.

The Navy is also saving money on printing costs, either by eliminating the need for printing or by employing multifunctional devices (MFD) that combine print, fax, copy, and scan functions, rather than stand-alone printers. Halvorsen estimated the department would realize $200-$250 million in savings over the next five years.

Not all savings initiatives are this simple, however. Halvorsen noted that a potentially huge cost-cutter, data center consolidation, is a complex issue and involves more than simply closing a data facility. The Navy has moved "about 100 systems," into consolidation, Halvorsen said, but only "one or two" centers – of about 140-165 across the Navy and Marine Corps – have been closed to date. While this may seem like slow progress, Halvorsen noted that as system consolidation takes place, the DON will be positioned to close several centers quickly.

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