Pentagon CIO’s Tech Revamp: 4 Priorities

Now ready to shift from strategy setting to implementation, Takai outlined her top four priorities:

• No. 1 is supporting the front-line warrior, including providing technology–much of it communications infrastructure, and tools–for training, base operations, and the battlefield. Increasingly, the military is moving from proprietary systems to commercial products in these areas, Takai says.

• No. 2 is managing the DOD’s huge IT budget. Given the rollercoaster approval process and the prospect that next fiscal year’s budget is subject to cuts, this requires her constant attention. The DOD is already looking at $450 billion in budget reductions over the next 10 years, and that could grow to $1 trillion if the Congressional “super committee” (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) can’t reach agreement on government-wide budget cuts.

DOD’s fiscal year 2012 IT budget stands at $38.4 billion. It’s too early to say whether it will go up or down in fiscal 2013, but there’s no question that the Pentagon will have to increase spending in areas such as cybersecurity. Takai and the CIOs of the military branches will have to squeeze costs elsewhere.

• No. 3 is the need for new technologies, including commercial mobile devices. The Pentagon has 50 mobile pilot programs underway, ranging from iPhones for training to iPads for Defense brass. The Army is even looking into the feasibility of providing all soldiers with smartphones. Assuring secure access to unclassified and classified networks is the big challenge, Takai says.

• Which leads us to Takai’s fourth, and overarching, priority: IT security. Earlier this year, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn announced that the military would treat cyberspace as an “operational domain”, akin to land, sea, air, and space. That’s a huge change, and explains why former Defense Secretary Robert Gates weighed in on the DOD CIO’s job description before he retired in June. “He wanted to make sure that the role of the CIO was very well defined in our relationship with Cyber Command,” the Defense unit that coordinates DOD network defenses, Takai says.

via InformationWeek Government, full article here.