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CHIPS Articles: Message from the DON CIO, July-September 2009

Message from the DON CIO, July-September 2009
By Robert J. Carey - July-September 2009
It is important for the Department of the Navy to think and act like an enterprise because of the potential to realize a number of important benefits including increased integration of our operating forces, improved interoperability, and consistent and improved information assurance. These benefits are in addition to cost savings, cost avoidance, and more effective use of the department's resources.

Many of the department's processes have traditionally revolved around individual programs and an environment where success is measured by a program's achievement of its acquisition milestones.

Program managers are responsible for delivering capabilities based on program-specific cost, schedule and performance requirements. Although well intended, decisions based on individual programs, without consideration of enterprise requirements, can lead to operational inefficiencies and degraded interoperability.

Thinking like an enterprise enables managers to more effectively address requirements, develop realistic concepts of operations, and create synergy and rigor in engineering, testing, integration, budgeting, acquisition strategy and contracting — which results in improved capability delivery, a more affordable investment strategy and improved partnering between government and industry providers and the end-user community.

A noteworthy example of "enterprise-think" is the Navy's Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program. It represents a fundamental change in the way the department acquires networks and network security capability for the fleet. The goal of CANES is to provide a common computing environment, core services and enhanced network security, which can be leveraged by the majority of afloat IT systems.

By migrating to an enterprise afloat network architecture with a single backbone and uniform security and services, the Navy will significantly reduce its afloat network footprint achieving overall cost reductions through elimination of redundant systems and processes, increase network security, and add cuttingedge functionality more quickly than it can today.

However, program managers do not have direct responsibility or influence over the numerous IT systems that could potentially make use of a common IT infrastructure and core services. Therefore, they do not always have the leverage to fully achieve enterprise goals, such as the long-term goals of the CANES program.

To fully embrace and realize an enterprise vision, program managers, users, operators, resource sponsors, and the acquisition, technical and chief information officer communities must focus on achieving potential benefits to be gained by thinking and acting like an enterprise.

This would include aligning requirements and concepts of operation, performing budgeting from an enterprise perspective, synchronizing acquisition plans, developing a robust architecture that incorporates associated systems and implementing a set of enterprise standards. Another key aspect of achieving this vision will be to leverage and expand on the existing decision-making forums and processes of the department, such as acquisition gate reviews and Clinger-Cohen Act confirmations, to ensure they also focus on the enterprise perspective.

A significant opportunity for CANES is to align with the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN). This alignment would facilitate improved interoperability between the department's primary ashore and afloat enterprise IT infrastructures, and would allow for CANES and NGEN to become the first concrete step toward achieving the DON's Naval Networking Environment vision and strategy.

The challenge of thinking and acting like an enterprise may seem daunting. However, I am confident that the department is up to this challenge and that we can work together towards achieving our common enterprise goals and objectives.

On a sad note, our Department of the Navy Principal Deputy CIO, John J. Lussier, passed away on June 17, 2009, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. One of John's many superb accomplishments included the DON Computer Network Defense Roadmap, which CHIPS had already planned to include as an insert to this issue. John was a consummate team player, whose drive to serve the Nation and the Navy and Marine Corps team was only exceeded by his devotion to his family. He is sorely missed by his DON colleagues.

Mr. Robert J. Carey
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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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