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CHIPS Articles: Message from the DON CIO, July-September 2010

Message from the DON CIO, July-September 2010
By Robert J. Carey - July-September 2010
As I sit down to write my last CIO column for this great magazine, I cannot help but reflect on the last four years. So much change has occurred! We have truly become a net-dependent organization operating at net-speed! I joined the office of the DON CIO in March 2000 when my mentor, Dan Porter, brought me on board to work on e-business. Since then, I have been involved in several of the department's technological advances, from the acceleration of using the network to support the DON's mission to rolling out the Common Access Cards and moving many transactions to Web-based applications, to the development and deployment of the Naval Networking Environment (NNE) 2016 vision.

In June 2003, then DON CIO, Dave Wennergren, selected me to be his deputy, which expanded my role in the organization. I managed the office’s broad portfolio of work and helped integrate the Navy and Marine Corps networks and move to enterprise solutions where appropriate.

In November 2006, while on active duty as a Navy Reservist in Iraq, Secretary Winter selected me to be the DON CIO. Being at the tip of the spear helped me gain a greater appreciation for the needs of warfighters, how IT/cyber supports their mission, and how our work supports those brave men and women. Although my time as the CIO has flown by rapidly, it has provided many lessons.

In parting, I'd like to share a few thoughts with you.

Speed to Decision. One of the first things I learned in theater, is that things move at a faster pace and decisions are made quickly out of necessity. Inside the Beltway, things move a bit slower. Current cyber threats outpace our acquisition cycle, and while the DoD 5000 grants a great deal of latitude for taking appropriate risks, we must improve upon our speed to deliver solutions more quickly.

Culture. The proud traditions of the Navy and Marine Corps are scripted in both regulation and policy, as well as unwritten processes. As we continue to move forward into the cyber age, we must recognize that changes are as much about managing and respecting the culture as the technology.

Web 2.0. While we have moved many of our processes to the network, we're only scratching the surface of the power of the Web. I believe that social networking and collaboration will fundamentally reshape how work gets done over time.

Cybersecurity. We must constantly manage the balance between collaboration and sharing information with the need to be secure. To do this, we need a cybersecurity investment model that will allow us to measure the effectiveness of our investments while ensuring that we are able to access information from wherever and whenever needed.

Lastly, the department is working hard to define decision making processes and accountability. Whether you call it governance or unity of command, we must be able to react to threats and opportunities far more agilely than we have in the past.

In the time I have been in the DON CIO, I've been fortunate enough to see many accomplishments that have resulted from the hard work of the DON IM/IT community, including the following.

Enterprise Networks. We have actively used networks to conduct our business and have moved toward network consolidation and acting like an enterprise. As we close the NMCI chapter and move toward NGEN/NNE 2016, we can become more effective and efficient through centralization while delivering the defendable security needed.

Enterprise Buying. Using the DoD CIO Enterprise Software Initiative, we have accomplished a great deal of consolidation across the department, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in savings.

Enterprise Architecture. In 2009, we released the first actionable and practical EA for the DON, which ensures the department's IT and National Security System (NSS) investments are aligned with and focused on achieving departmental goals and objectives. The DON EA also assists program managers in the development of their individual solution architectures.

Security. We have steadily raised the security bar through the successful deployment of CAC-based PKI, enabling cryptographic logon to DON networks.

Workforce. Through IT and IA training, certifications and core competencies, we have equipped our workforce for current and future challenges.

Proactive CCA. We have ensured the alignment of processes for reviewing IT/ NSS investments for compliance with the requirements of the Clinger-Cohen Act and the DON acquisition gate review.

KM across the DON. We have moved from knowledge management as a concept to implementing KM. We have established KM positions on carrier strike group staffs, deployed the command KM course, and captured "retrospects" to educate units flowing into theater.

Critical Infrastructure Protection. We rolled out a program and self-assessment tool to allow individual bases to determine where they should invest energy to ensure operation of their facility in support of warfighter requirements.

I have enjoyed my entire tenure at DON CIO in each of my three roles. My time as the CIO has taught me many things that I will carry with me as I embark on my new adventure. My goals and objectives will remain unchanged: to securely deliver information where needed in the most efficient and effective way possible. I have been privileged and honored to work with a talented team — both within and outside of the DON CIO. As I move on to my new position, as director of strategy and policy, for U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, I look forward to continuing to support the warfighter — just from a different perspective.

Mr. Robert J. Carey
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