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CHIPS Articles: DON CIO High Priority FY21 Initiatives Drive Competitive Advantage

DON CIO High Priority FY21 Initiatives Drive Competitive Advantage
By DON CIO, and DON Chief Technology Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Innovation Officer, and Chief Information Security Officer Directorates - January-March 2021
The Department of the Navy Information Superiority Vision (ISV) identifies three strategic objectives of Modernize, Innovate, and Defend, utilizing the strategic assets of DON Data and Workforce, as shown in Figure 1. In order to translate this vision into tangible action, the Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer (DON CIO) Aaron Weis has identified 18 specific initiatives for fiscal year 2021.

Building on the successes of the past year, Mr. Weis has identified five pivotal focus areas for decisive action in fiscal year 2021, and will craft policy, plans and efforts in the following areas, as illustrated in Figure 1 and described below.


COVID-19 and the rollout of Microsoft Teams in the form of the Defense Department’s Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) has not only transformed the way hundreds of thousands of DON employees work, it has also demonstrated that modern, commercial best practices can work for the Navy and Marine Corps. While CVR goes away in June 2021, the need for the workforce to conduct official business any time, from anywhere, and from any device does not.

FLANK SPEED is an all-out charge to permanently shift our enterprise collaboration and productivity services to an enduring cloud-based Microsoft 365 solution, that allows you to continue to work from your personal device, replaces your H: drive with 100x as much space on OneDrive, eliminates the need to archive your emails, and integrates full Microsoft Office 365 capability online – all with greatly enhanced information security and cyber defenses.

Building on the new DON Cloud Policy of 07 Dec 2020, the Single Service Microsoft 365 Cloud Tenancy per Service Policy of 01 Sep 2020, and the CDIO Digital Workplace vision, this will be the first of many steps the DON takes as an enterprise into a future based directly on leveraging cloud.

ICAM for Navy ERP

In order to prove to the public and Congress that the DON is a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars and military information, the DON needs to clearly demonstrate that the right people have access to the right information at the right time. Auditors have found that DON information systems cannot do so in an automated, repeatable, and reliable fashion time and time again. The answer is to implement a modern Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) solution, and no system can benefit more than one of the largest software applications in the world – Navy ERP.

ICAM opens the door to many benefits: a single digital identity for life that follows you across the DON (and is federated across the DoD), single sign-on to many applications, the ability to adopt zero trust principles (as discussed elsewhere in this issue of CHIPS to broaden access to applications and data from different locations and devices. At the same time, it provides assurance that you can only see what you should, based on your current roles, and that if you leave the DON then your access will end.

After successful completion of a prototype in FY20, in FY21, the Program Executive Office for Digital and Enterprise Services’ (PEO Digital) Naval Identity Services (NIS) will integrate a permanent ICAM solution for Navy ERP, while preparing to scale beyond to other prioritized applications and systems. DON also remains committed to its partnership with the Defense Information Systems Agency, staying aligned to DISA’s roadmap for Global Directory and other ICAM services.


Mr. Weis has said that if he could sum up the entire ISV in a single thought, it would be the ability to move information from anywhere to anywhere. (Securely, at the speed of the mission, and more.) As the DON executes the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy, the Chief of Naval Operations’ Navigation Plan, and the Commandant’s (CMC) Planning Guidance, a great transformation is coming to the network fabrics that connect both weapon systems in tactical theaters and the enterprise systems supporting the shore/garrison establishment.

The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Acquisition, Research & Development (ASN(RD&A)), VCNO, and ACMC have chartered Rear Adm. Doug Small (Commander, Naval Information Warfare Systems Command) as the Direct Report Program Manager (DRPM) for Project OVERMATCH, charging him to deliver the Naval Tactical Grid (NTG) which will realize the Naval Operational Architecture (NOA). And last year, DON CIO sponsored PEO Digital’s Team PLAID to go at Ludicrous Speed to deliver a new network architecture leveraging public-private partnerships in anticipation of the award of the Service Management, Integration, and Transition (SMIT) contract to modernize the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, (NMCI); OneNET and the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN).

These are not two divergent efforts, but rather one effort being attacked from two points of departure with the intent of connecting in a common end-state that can move information from anywhere to anywhere. Analogous to the transcontinental railroad, they will employ standard gauge and a common architecture so that when they reach (virtual) Promontory Summit and hammer in the (digital) golden spike, we have a unified network that is a strategic asset and eliminates the need for weapons programs and shore users to bring their own.

Data Availability

A key component of the CNO’s vision for Project OVERMATCH is development of a robust DON Enterprise Data Environment. The DON Chief Data Officer (CDO) and Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) have established Jupiter as the DON’s Enterprise Data Environment on NIPR and SIPR to ensure availability of trustworthy and understandable data for analysis and decision support at the speed of mission. Through Jupiter efforts, the DON is working to identify data needs to answer priority questions supporting warfighting, business, and readiness mission threads. The DON Data Catalog in Jupiter also forms a part of the DoD Federated Data Catalog initiative whereby all DoD data assets will be registered for visibility and understandability.

The CDO is developing a comprehensive SECNAV Instruction on Data Management that will encapsulate roles and responsibilities for the DON data workforce. The objective is to create a data-aware Naval Force that exploits data for decision-making across the mission space. The data workforce will ensure that data are securely accessed, monitored, and protected wherever they reside with a common understanding of data assets, standards, policies, guidance, classification, and release control requirements.

The DON continues to support the DoD Data Strategy through the DON Implementation Plan (I-Plan) that focuses on governance, workforce, readiness, tools and technology. The DON CIO is establishing Plans of Action and Milestones (POA&Ms) for each Information Domain to guide and monitor progress of priority activities via the DON Data Governance Boards (DGB). Furthermore, the DON has developed a Data Maturity Model and is building a metrics framework by which to track growth toward data maturity goals. The initial round of Data Maturity Assessments is now taking place across Information Domains.

To support DON data goals as part of the ISV, the CDO is working with Data Stewards across the DON. These collaborative efforts will serve to promote development of standards for metadata and data exchange to address definition and lineage of strategic enterprise-wide data assets, registration of all DON data assets in the DON Data Catalog, implementation of data workforce roles and responsibilities, and utilization of Jupiter to conduct analytic use cases for decision support.

IT Portfolio Management

Starting in FY21, the DON is putting its money where its mouth is with respect to IT portfolio management. Too often, IT consolidation decisions are made, but follow-on actions are not carried out, allowing functionally, technically, and financially obsolete/unwanted IT to perpetuate. Operation CATTLE DRIVE brings together the combined authorities of DON CIO, ASN for (Financial Management and Comptroller) (ASN(FM&C)), and the office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO) to disconnect systems from the network via a (Denial of Authority to Operate (DATO)), de-funding programs of record, and (for Defense Business Systems), refusing certification of funds, in order to compel adherence to strategic plans for portfolio rationalization.

This is not the creation of new processes or new authorities. The existing portfolio managers and governance forums who oversee collections of IT will continue to do their work. However, there will now be systematic reviews of those plans and enforcement mechanisms will be executed to ensure adherence to consolidation timelines. The first candidate to go through the process is the Financial Management Functional Area Manager (FM FAM), followed closely by the Logistics and Readiness (LOG) FAM.

DON CIO is bringing IT infrastructure into this process as well. Following through on the Naval IT Infrastructure Portfolio Review (IT IPR) Strategic Intent memo signed by ACMC, VCNO, ASN(RD&A), ASN(FM&C), and DON CIO, the DON’s enterprise, excepted, and legacy networks are being assessed so as to establish enhanced visibility and tighter control of networks themselves, what is on those networks, and what they cost. Following the example of the Marine Corps Information Environment Enterprise (MCIEE) Blueprint, this will inform the Deputy DON CIO Navy and Marine Corps (DDCIO-N/-MC) network modernization plans driving to the unified network of Team PLAID / Project OVERMATCH, which will be registered in accordance with Operation CATTLE DRIVE procedures.


These large-scale efforts require an all hands approach for the DON CIO, directorates and their teams, and the talented professionals across the DON IT Community.

Look for updates on these initiatives in future editions of CHIPS.

DON CIO FY21 Focus Areas. Pivot from laying the foundation in FY20 to delivering outcomes in FY21. DON CIO infographic.
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