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CHIPS Articles: DON CIO Applies Information Superiority Vision to Advance Department’s Business Operations Plan FY 2021-2023

DON CIO Applies Information Superiority Vision to Advance Department’s Business Operations Plan FY 2021-2023
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’s BOP for Fiscal Years 2021-2023 was issued in November amid many changing challenges impacting the DON’s ability to achieve its mission to man, train, and equip Navy and Marine Corps forces for global operations. This is the third BOP the Department has issued since 2018 and it continues to serve as the integrated plan that aligns the DON to the National Defense Strategy (NDS).

The new BOP builds on the successes of the past two years and provides a steady course for the DON to deliver on Strategic Objectives aligned with the NDS (See Figure 1.)

The Secretary of the Navy designated the Under Secretary of the Navy as his Chief Management Officer (CMO) to effectively and efficiently manage the DON’s business operations. The BOP is designed to guide actions which will deliver optimized business operations as well as warfighting readiness.

Mr. Aaron Weis, as the DON Chief Information Officer and Principal Staff Assistant to SECNAV for information management, digital, data and cyber strategy, leads many of the BOP’s objectives. Due to the vulnerabilities revealed in the department’s cyber posture, discovered in the SECNAV Cybersecurity Readiness Review, the DON CIO, and the four directorates under DON CIO direction are working to transform the DON’s digital environment.

Why does the Department need a plan?

The BOP FY 2021-2023 provides coordination through measurable objectives and initiatives for the Navy and Marine Corps team to use as a unity of effort function. The BOP is an agile guiding tool allowing objectives and timelines to evolve as the external environment and capabilities of both partners and adversaries change.

The Business Operations Plan enables the DON to:

  • Improve support operations to enhance combat effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Coordinate our activities as one team, and rapidly find intersections of common purpose.
  • Focus on our key public and private sector stakeholders across the broader institution.
  • Marshal scarce resources exactly where and when they are required.
  • Maintain budgetary and program coherence while remaining attentive to disruption.
  • Capitalize upon our differences by sharing diverse approaches to our challenges.
  • Take advantage of key best practices as well as mistakes – as a united Department of the Navy.

The FY 2021-2023 DON BOP links the Department’s strategic vision and operations, and promotes continuous learning, evolution, and growth as one Naval team to deliver combat ready Naval forces. Such guidance is intended to inspire operational and management leaders to act, to take risks, and to be decisive.

The ultimate objective is to reform business operations enterprise-wide to generate lasting, institutionalized resources to support strategic reinvestment in warfighting lethality.

Significant Changes

Several factors led to significant modifications in the new BOP, which are tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and, most importantly, the DON Information Superiority Vision (ISV), issued by the DON CIO in February 2020. The new BOP has been updated with focus areas and initiatives that align to the ISV strategic objectives to Modernize the DON infrastructure, Innovate and deploy new capabilities, and Defend DON information, leveraging department Data and the Workforce as strategic assets.

Under the Modernize strategic objective, the DON successfully deployed Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) collaboration tools and Microsoft 365 due to the need for telework expansion caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These new digital ways of working enabled personnel to take advantage of capabilities not normally available within the Department of Defense IT environment. These tools introduced a new set of standards and expectations for how personnel communicate and interact across the DON. The COVID-19 telework experience reaffirms that the ISV is aligned with the Department’s top priorities. Further, these new tools not only increased productivity, but morale as well, as personnel sought inventive ways to work together from disparate remote locations.

Driving Competitive Advantage — Build Information Superiority to Win the Naval Fight

The DON BOP outlines 40 focus areas and 199 initiatives and empowers initiative owners to achieve greater performance, efficiency and affordability in manpower readiness, combat systems, acquisition, cybersecurity/IT support and business operations.

For example, the DON CIO, along with partner organizations, such as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare (OPNAV N2N6) and Deputy Commandant for Information (DCI), is leading ISV improvement efforts including policy development and action plans for Data Centers and Cloud Services; Enterprise Networks, Spectrum Dependent Systems; Cybersecurity Readiness; and Data optimization.

Many of these action items have been successfully completed, or are in process, such as the issuance of Navy’s Cloud Policy and establishment of Navy Cloud Brokers to facilitate roll out of an enterprise-wide cloud environment.

The DON is leveraging emerging technologies that deliver capabilities that will transform enterprise networks. The DON CIO revised an outdated DON Cloud Policy by aligning it to DoD guidance and addressing technology, procurement, cloud operations, and cyber defense.

Notably, the DON CIO has begun to review and assess the Naval IT Infrastructure Portfolio to recommend changes in the near-term and inform POM-23 decisions that are designed to modernize enterprise networks and service transport.

In 2021, the DON CIO will issue a Naval Identity Services Transition Plan to establish a roadmap for adoption of an enterprise approach to digital identity to optimize identity and access controls. The following summarizes BOP initiatives aligned to the Information Superiority Vision.

Modernize, Innovate

The DON CIO is charged with (a) Refining the Program of Actions and Milestones (POA&M) and developing Naval Governance for Deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Capabilities that increase efficiency and lethality; (b) Publishing a strategy for Consolidation of IT Portfolios (IT Infrastructure) to increase efficiencies while reducing redundancies or outdated technologies; and (c) Establishing 5G test beds, promoting and accelerating the deployment of commercial 5G networks, and institutionalizing DON-wide governance of 5G into DON enterprise IT and tactical environments.

The DON is developing and fielding spectrum-dependent systems (SDS) that are more agile, efficient, and resilient to meet mission requirements and accommodate increasing sharing initiatives such as 5G and beyond.

Because the DON’s IT infrastructure condition, configuration, technical sufficiency, and capacity does not effectively or efficiently support current or future naval operations, the DON CIO, and partner organizations, are tasked with developing and implementing a sustainable path to infrastructure modernization.

Network enterprise modernization efforts under DON CIO execution include:

  • Develop Navy and Marine Corps implementation plans, in coordination with DoD CIO, that supports DoD CIO IPv6 strategy.
  • Establish Innovation Service Centers Around Emerging Technologies.
  • Implement Industry Cutting-Edge Electronic Collaboration and Productivity Services Across the Communications Spectrum.

In these efforts the DON CIO will be working in close coordination with the DC I and OPNAV N2N6.


Because the DON networks remain a prime target for disruption and attacks, continuous evolution of defensive capabilities remains a critical challenge. The DON must continuously integrate defensive measures into processes and technologies to develop its enterprise network into a warfighting platform with robust workforce defense. One of the goals is to increase the DON’s ability to deter, detect, defeat, and recover from cyber-attacks.

The DON is enhancing its cybersecurity posture and processes to ensure optimization, alignment of authority, and accountability and responsibility in the cyber domain that incorporates best practices from both government and industry. (See BOP pages 23-24.) The DON aims to mitigate risks to operations by modernizing digital forensic and advanced cyber tools.

To strengthen cyber readiness, the DON CIO will:

  • Develop “Cyber General Orders” to identify specific threat-recognition and mitigation actions to secure operational readiness at the enterprise level.
  • Implement the Risk Management Framework across the DON.
  • Establish Identity, Credentialing, and Access Management (ICAM) governance and a roadmap.

The DON CIO is developing a POA&M for the establishment of a common, data-informed cyber risk readiness dashboard that SECNAV and DON senior leaders will use to improve decision making. To drive active network monitoring, the DON CIO is deploying an Autonomous Network Defense Program Pilot at the Naval Postgraduate School to support the DoD CIO Digital Modernization Strategy.

Build Enterprise Data Quality, Standards, Integration, and Investment

To increase readiness, optimize warfighting, and achieve information superiority, the DON must fundamentally revolutionize its approach, management, and its organizational culture to treat data as a strategic asset and essential components of the operational warfighting and business environment. The DON will create a unified vision around data management by establishing a standards-based, common data operating environment throughout the warfighting and business enterprises and govern the data environment as a single entity.

The DON is supporting the development of the DoD Data Strategy and will create a DON Implementation Plan that focuses on governance, workforce, readiness, and tools/technology. In 2021, the DON CIO will establish standardized specifications for strategic information exchanges.

In April 2020, the DON launched Jupiter, the DON Enterprise Data Environment. Jupiter achieved initial operating capability providing the Secretariat, Navy, and Marine Corps with a secure, state of practice data management and analytics environment capable of ingesting, storing, processing, and exploiting Naval data across all echelons. (See BOP page 20.) This is a critical leap forward for making data a strategic Naval asset directly contributing to readiness, force planning, and warfighting. The release of Jupiter also represents a watershed moment of collaboration between the DON and OSD, as the Jupiter platform is based on the Advana analytics platform.

Work is continuing, the DON CIO is establishing a DON data maturity model and metrics framework as well guidance on metadata standards. In tandem, the DON CIO is overseeing establishment of a SIPR instance of the DON Enterprise Data Environment.

To ensure data asset visibility and availability, the DON will publish an inventory of all DON strategic data assets in the DON Data Catalog and develop a DON master data management strategy addressing capture, cleaning, integration, and shared use of enterprise master and reference data elements to promote interoperability. (See BOP pages 40-41 for more information.)


The DON is working to ensure that the Navy and Marine Corps team is mission-ready to engage at anytime and anywhere by recruiting, growing, and retaining a modern digital-age workforce capable of expertly operating, maintaining, and defending enterprise networks and tactical systems. Protecting DON systems and secrets from adversaries is a critical objective. Instilling good cyber hygiene as a core capability of every member of the DON workforce and fostering an innovative workforce to position the Department at the forefront of new fields and technologies are essential.

To advance these goals, the DON CIO will:

  • Publish General Orders for Cyber Sentry to lay the foundation and define the set of rules and guidelines to follow when engaging cyber threats.
  • Respond to National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (sections 1652 and 1653).
  • Complete a review and update of the Cyberspace Workforce Management Directive, Instruction, and Manual (DoD 8140 series).

FY20 DON CIO Completed Actions

Optimized DON’s information infrastructure – networks, transport, end-user hardware, spectrum and more

The Business Operations Plan provides an update on all initiatives which were due in FY 2020. Since that time, there have been 79 completed initiatives, 8 removed initiatives, and 42 initiatives that had their due dates extended. All of these updates are described in the new BOP (beginning on page 59).

The DON CIO team enhanced IT and cybersecurity capabilities in the following focus areas:

  1. Data Centers and Cloud Services
      • Developed a Navy implementation plan to align with and adopt DoD CIO’s Enterprise Collaboration and Productivity Services (ECAPS) Defense Enterprise Office Solution - Q3 FY20.
      • Developed inventory of cloud-ready systems with associated migration plans and timelines - Q4 FY20.
  2. Enterprise Networks
        • Implemented guidance and assessed policy effectiveness to ensure that spectrum-dependent systems are certified to full operational capability, enabling operational flexibility to share with commercial systems and operate in multiple frequency brands - Q1 FY20.
        • Established guidance/policy to streamline commercial broadband 5G/small cell deployment on Navy and Marine Corps property, leveraging the DON’s streamlined process for large cell deployment which reduced the overall deployment time from 5+ years to less than one year - Q2 FY20.
        • Developed and promulgated updated DON guidance that depicts acceptable use practices for DON IT - Q3 FY20.
        • Established guidance and defined roles and responsibilities to improve DON awareness and implementation of the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations (ITU RR), an international treaty governing the global use of the radio-frequency spectrum - Q4 FY20.
        • Assessed effectiveness of 8 August 2019 policy memo (“Reducing Electromagnetic Spectrum Fratricide”) directing all spectrum-dependent systems (SDS) to complete risk evaluation and management steps to reduce the recurrence of electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) fratricide (inadvertent self, friendly, or neutral electromagnetic interference caused by SDS) - Q4 FY20.
        • Implemented guidance and instituted governance structure to provide oversight and guidance in the development and implementation of Electromagnetic Battle Space strategy, policy, and doctrine - Q4 FY20.
  3. Cybersecurity Readiness

    Feedback Encouraged

    The Business Operations Plan FY 2021-2023 will be assessed, modified as needed, and reported to DON stakeholders and personnel semiannually. The cooperation and willingness to transform processes and usher in a DON IT/cyber transformation is required of all Department personnel.

    Your feedback regarding BOP focus areas, challenges and successes is welcome!

    Please access the BOP FY 2021-2023 at

Figure 1. DON Information Superiority Vision Strategic Objectives and Assets aligned to SECNAV Strategic Priority – Capabilities – Elevate Information Management. DON CIO graphic
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nicole Pam Penwarden, a communications specialist with Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team, Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, sets up a satellite communication antenna for a humanitarian assistance exercise during Realistic Urban Training at Atlantic Airfield, N.C., Oct. 10, 2020. Photo by Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Mark E. Morrow Jr.
Inside the Landing Force Operations Center (LFOC), a Marine from Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) performs a functions check on the communications equipment Oct. 29, 2020. MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life cycle phases. (Photo by Amy Forsythe, MCTSSA Public Affairs Officer)
Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit conduct a class on ViaSat satellites during a communications exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Dec. 9, 2020. The purpose of the exercise is to familiarize 11th MEU Marines with communication equipment in preparation for upcoming pre-deployment training exercises. Photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Jaxson Fryar
Sailors participating in the testing of emerging technologies at Trident Warrior 2020 (TW20). Trident Warrior is an annual, large-scale, at-sea experiment that puts emerging technologies into the hands of the warfighter for evaluation in an operational environment, allowing the Navy and its partners to gain valuable insights and incorporate real-world fleet feedback early in the research, development and acquisition process. Photo by Aaron Lebsack / Naval Information Warfare Systems Command
Graphic highlighting watch floor of the U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy graphic by Oliver Elijah Wood/Released)
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