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We’ve seen the U.S. Government CIO publicize his plan to Do More with Less Through Strategic Investment and now the White House has published the Federal Information Technology Shared Services Strategy (May 2, 2012).  

Its main points are:

  • Need to Innovate with Less - the large fiscal deficit drives this necessity but really the IT consolidation that is occurring throughout the U.S. Government is something that should have been done from the beginning.  Quantities of Scale are not a new discovery and the ability for the USG to combine together to provide a single service provided for the entirety of the organization is now paramount.  The disappointing aspect of this document is that is bounds itself to only the Executive Branch of the USG.  The requirement to “Deliver solutions faster, for less money, and with fewer resources” is a significant challenge.  One that will only be accomplished through this quantity of scale solution.
  • While I would agree that “Federal Agency CIOs are well positioned to work with other agency executives and provide leadership for the Shared-First effort by using a cross-organizational perspective to identify opportunities for the consolidation of redundant mission, support, and commodity IT services at all levels,” I don’t believe they are empowered sufficiently enough to accomplish what is being required of them.  One must remember that the USG has only had two CIO’s.  This entity within the Government sector is an exceptionally junior member that has only recently been able to sit at the table with the well established executives within our Government.  There is significant differences from organization to organization with respect to how the CIO is positioned and how empowered the individual is within the organization.  This all equates to their overall effectiveness.  I think this aspect represents the largest portion of risk to this initiative.
  • A new requirement for Chief Operating Officers (COOs) is hidden within the generation of a thing called PortfolioStat.
  • What is a PortfolioStat?A PortfolioStat session is a face-to-face, evidence-based review of an agency’s IT portfolio that includes examining cost, schedule and performance data on commodity IT investments, and identifying potential duplications or investments that do not appear to be well aligned to agency missions or business functions, with an eye toward consolidating or eliminating those investments to free up agency funds for innovation and other requirements (Glad we cleared that up - Effective oversight, check).
  • The document then goes on to identify the Managing Partner, Customer, and Supplier for the Shared IT services.  I’m fairly sure we could have figured this out on our own.  Should have just cut to the chase and formed a new Government “Pick your favorite major IT company” like a Government or Government Microsoft, etc.  At least with a solution like this we could focus the quantities of scale dollars on IT experts vice having a bounty of average IT individuals.
  • Critical Success Factors - Executive Support (won’t happen without it), Cultural Change (change in Gov’t = slow), Business Process Reengineering (see previous comment about change), Technology Enablement (hmm might have heard this before), Resource Realignment (see change comment), Adoption Strategy (more change), Continuous Improvement (isn’t this institutionalized yet?).
  • Commodity IT - one great thing thus far.  But since it wasn’t defined how will we know what it is?  And the reference doesn’t make it much better (OMB M-11-29).  So we know what Commodity IT maybe is but the USG definitely does not know how to deal with it or properly acquire it and this challenge only becomes more difficult as you approach the leading edge of innovation.
  • The remainder of the document focuses on implementation, timelines, Policy and Governance details.

Remember all of this supports the initial USG 25-Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management. Although I jest a bit with this review, the document is a good continuum of effort and push by the Federal CIO.  As noted Mr. Steven VanRoekel is only the second in the USG CIO position and there are large hurdles to vault before we can get the full USG into the advanced IT realm.

[via The White House]

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We’ve reviewed Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.  Admiral Greenert has posted his Navigation Plan for Fiscal Years (FY) 2013-2017.  Key items in the Information Dominance Corps realm within his Sailing Directions are:


  • Fully exploit cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum as warfighting domains with upgrades to Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment and the SLQ-32 surface electronic warfare system, and continued development of the Next-Generation Jammer for airborne electronic warfare.
  • Defend our computer networks, sustain information assurance, develop network operations technology, as well as educate the next generation of cyber operators at the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, and Naval War College.

OPERATE FORWARD - While no individual bullet point sites a specific task for the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) the major move to push more ships & forces forward, increase their Operational Tempo, and rotate crews at the edge are major changes.  Thus the IDC importance is built within every bullet point listed.  These changes make the Network and Communication mission sets of the IDC more significant.  It also challenges network availability & integrity while stressing satellite and terrestrial communication pathways with higher traffic loads and most likely a more congested spectrum loading.


  • Improve the “wholeness” of the Aegis Weapons System through data link and software upgrades while adding the Shipboard Self Defense System to more non-Aegis ships, such as amphibious assault ships.
  • Sustain Fleet Synthetic Training to provide a wider range of complex and demanding simulations than possible in the field, while conserving operating expenses where appropriate.


Make sure to review the CNO’s 2012 update in his CNO’s Postion Report for 2012!

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Defense Systems has a decent summary of the major military programs affect by the recent FY13 budget submission.  Titled “Winners and losers in the fiscal 2013 budget” it highlights the following for each service:

Navy/Marine Corps:

  • Small Tactical Unmanned System (UAV) will receive $32 million in FY13, and $300 million in FY13-FY17.
  • Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the service will instead procure a larger Fire Scout based on a larger Bell Helicopter air frame.
  • Medium-Range Maritime Unmanned Aerial System was terminated based on the Fire Scout changes.


  • Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) will receive $900 million in FY13, and $6.1 billion from FY13 through FY17. FY13 includes purchase of net-centric warfare IP modems and low-rate initial production (LRIP) to support testing.
  • Modification of Stryker vehicles to incorporate command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems to facilitate mission command-on-the-move.

Air Force:

  • Cyber capabilities take precedence for U.S. Cyber Command is $3.4 billion in FY13, and  $18 billion from FY13 through FY17.
  • Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites (fully funded part of $8B FY13 and $40.1B through FY17).
  • Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for surveillance (fully funded part of $8B FY13 and $40.1B through FY17).
  • Operationally Responsive Space program will be restructured to provide “more responsive and timely space capabilities to the warfighter.” Included in $8B FY13 and $40.1B through FY17.
  • (3) NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) systems $200M in FY13.  Based on Global Hawk Block 40.
  • Global Hawk Block 30 is cancelled as previously discussed in the initial Defense Budget Priorities post. Will continue to use U-2 through FY25.  Reducing $800 million in expenditures for fiscal 2013, and $2.5 billion from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017.
  • Reduce MQ-9 Reaper armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) purchase by 24.  But the funding will still be expended for ground stations.
  • Predator will be utilized for a longer period then initially planned to fence funding for the Army’s Gray Eagle.

The hardest part about all of these changes is the adjustment.  The Defense Industrial Base must flex in order to ensure those programs that are designated to provide capability longer must be examined to ensure fatigue and extended failure does not adversely limit their mission up time ability.  Likewise those entities with program that were cut will immediately request reassessment and ultimately reduce their workforce or reorganize and retask. This is not an easy task but it is the contractor’s role.  The intention when utilizing contractors is for this very purpose.  The entities within the Government and Military will also require retasking which is much harder to effectively achieve.

This reexamination is not much different then when I strive to get more and more effective dollar out of my diesel VW Jetta.  At 150,000 miles there is maintenance to be done but there is no need to purchase a new vehicle when the current one is providing all the capabilities required.  The difference is the human element and that should always be handled with care.

In the end there are no “Winners” or “Losers” but the goal is better efficiency and effectiveness.  If this is achieved at least you can look a taxpayer in the eye with confidence you maximized every dollar they provided.

[via Defense Systems]


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