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CHIPS Articles: DON CIO Discusses New Information Superiority Vision

DON CIO Discusses New Information Superiority Vision
By Aaron Weis - January-March 2020
The Department of the Navy is at a critical time in its history. As a Department, we lack mastery of our Information Environment and depend on outdated processes and antiquated network structures that fail to deliver a modern user experience. The Cybersecurity Readiness Review highlighted the need for strong cybersecurity and the risks to the Department if we do not forge a path that organizes around information as a strategic asset and warfighting capability.

With a restructured DON CIO we are ready to tackle these challenges. The first steps were empowering the CIO as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, establishing close working relationships with our Navy and Marine Corps three-stars who are dual-hatted as DON deputy CIOs, and hiring experts in critical information technology-related areas and additional staff. These experts (the DON Chief Technology Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Information Officer, and Chief Information Security Information Officer) have been onboard since October, have gotten their feet wet, and are digging in to effect change.

For the current issue of CHIPS magazine, these four leaders and I were interviewed by the editor Sharon Anderson, who is great at asking the probing questions that get to the essence of why we’re here. Through these interviews you will get to know a little about us and understand our priorities, our plans and what we see as challenges.

Another step in tackling the DON’s IT challenges is the development of the DON CIO Information Superiority Vision, which was released Feb19. This document starts by describing the challenging aspects of our current situation which hinder our force. Then it lays out our vision for information superiority, which is based on these 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. Finally, the vision document delineates our way forward — how we will get there by organizing around the themes of Modernize, Innovate and Defend.

While we have been working on the vision document, we’ve also been effecting some quick wins. I mention a couple of them in my interview. We have also gotten out to meet some of the community. A highlight for me was my visit last week to the USS EISENHOWER. It was impressive to see our Sailors at work, and see how everyone worked together to accomplish the mission. I posted a photo and video of that visit to my LinkedIn page.

The theme, Modernize, Innovate and Defend is also the theme of this year’s DON IT Conferences in San Diego in March and Norfolk in May. We restructured the conferences, moving from all tactical sessions to a combination of the tactical and strategic. Therefore, there will be sessions of interest to everyone from IT workers and program managers to the Echelon II Command Information Officers and Commanding Officers.

I look forward to sharing our Information Superiority Vision with you, continuing to get out and meet you to better understand the work you do and your challenges, and seeing some of you at the DON IT conferences.

DON Special Assistant for Information Management & CIO
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CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

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