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CHIPS Articles: Virtual Wargamers Needed to Solve DON’s Data Dilemma

Virtual Wargamers Needed to Solve DON’s Data Dilemma
Join the discussion April 6-17
By Philip Lee and Robert P. Kozloski - January-March 2015
“The very technologies that can empower us to do great good can also be used to undermine us and do great harm,” President Barrack Obama said recently. This statement captures the essence of the information-age dilemma facing all federal organizations – how to effectively share data for maximum benefit, while at the same time protecting data from nefarious cyber activity.

The Department of the Navy (DON) collects more data each day than the total amount stored in the Library of Congress, yet it does not have an effective strategy to share this information internally nor with the public, thus preventing it from maximizing on recent open-data and innovation trends. The DON possesses vast amounts of non-mission related data such as demographic, medical, energy, education, public safety, and financial data which other organizations are sharing with the public to promote innovation, transparency, and crowd-sourced problem solving but the DON has yet to overcome cultural and procedural hurdles.

Information management in the DON is still widely based on industrial-age practices of siloing information and sharing it only on a “need-to-know” basis because many fear sharing data increases the risk of cyber exploitation or attack. Developing a balanced policy that promotes the “need-to-share” data as the default position, while protecting critical personal or national security information, is at the heart of the DON’s data dilemma.

“We must fundamentally rethink how we value information in the DON,” said Dr. Maura Sullivan, Chief of Strategy and Innovation. “As the rate of change in the global environment accelerates and the landscape of potential threats increases in complexity, the DON must adapt.”

The Office of Strategy & Innovation, Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (Management), together with the Naval Postgraduate School, is seeking new ideas and perspectives to tackle these complex challenges. We invite a broad audience of experts to participate in Data Dilemma: Share vs Silo MMOWGLI (Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet) from April 6-17, 2015.

MMOWGLI events provide an exciting new venue to leverage the competition of bold ideas and the collaboration between unlikely participants that often yields unexpected actionable outcomes. The natural tension surrounding sharing versus siloing data provides an excellent topic for this event and pits data sharing advocates against traditionalists focused on siloing data to reduce risk. The best ideas developed through the newest wargame, Data Dilemma MMOWGLI, will influence Secretary of the Navy innovation goals and eventually the DON data strategy.

"We're hoping for an extremely diverse set of players including experts from academia, industry, military, government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and global citizens to compete in this MMOWGLI," said Sullivan.

Interested players can view the Data Dilemma: Share vs Silo MMOWGLI video and pre-register online at For additional information, contact Mr. Philip Lee at

Philip Lee and Robert P. Kozloski work in the Office of Strategy and Innovation, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (Management).

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