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Aim High, Fly High
Published, August 10, 2009
In formation I recently attended the Cloud Computing Symposium at the National Defense University. And as I sat there, I wondered about information management/information technology in the Department of the Navy. Specifically, are we working to keep our IM/IT status quo (very basic evolutionary change) or reaching for what might be considered revolutionary advances?

Most of what we can do when we sit in front of our NMCI desktops (or other legacy networks) has remained essentially unchanged since the beginning of the NMCI deployment. Sure we have larger flat panel monitors and faster CPUs, more current operating systems and software, but its effectiveness has remained relatively unchanged. While we have world-class networks, we are constrained by the architecture we invested in, which makes it a challenge to move forward. As we look to the future, we should aim for high performance at the least possible cost. What do I mean by that?

Our future networks and management processes need to provide room for innovation as a fundamental element of the network. But that innovation must improve the efficiency, increase the security and decrease the cost of computing.

Are we working on reducing the cost of the network seats we procure to $1,000 per seat instead of the approximately $3,000 we pay annually? What drives the cost per seat? Legacy infrastructure, for one thing, is a huge part. Does the network connectivity model we use support revolutionary or evolutionary change?

I believe that some attributes of cloud computing offer the ability to significantly reduce the cost of computing infrastructures, while also improving services and security. The Department drafted the vision for the Naval Networking Environment 2016 a full eight years in advance of its target goals. Are we on a path to meet or exceed those goals? A significant reduction in the cost of our computing infrastructure could be achieved by the Green IT initiative the Department is undertaking.

We need to vet innovative ideas that are capable of demonstrating levels of improvement greater than we have seen in the past. In addition, as the Federal Government works to speed IT acquisition, we must be able to rapidly and effectively insert innovative IT solutions into our legacy networks. The cycle time for introduction of new technologies should not be similar to the ship building and maintenance cycles. Nor can it be every four to six months. Ultimately, we must have agile delivery of capabilities in a timely manner. Industry proven IT acquisition practices can be a model for the government.

What do you think?
Rob Carey
Tagged With: Tagged with: Blog, DONCIO, GreenIT, Infrastructure, Web20
The CIO in the Cyber Age
Published, July 20, 2009
On the network Last year, I wrote a blog on the evolving role of the Chief Information Officer. That post was a result of a conversation I and several CIOs had with Former Sen. William Cohen, author of the Clinger-Cohen Act or Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996 (CCA). I have given this topic some additional thought and would like to share.

The areas of information management (IM), information technology (IT) and information resources management (IRM) now seem to have been subsumed by the newer, more exciting term "cyber." We have cyberspace, cyber security and just plain cyber.

In May 2008, the Department of Defense published the following definition of cyberspace: "A global domain within the information environment consisting of the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers." This definition is almost identical to that which was developed by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Interestingly the CCA defines IT as: "Any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information." The term information technology includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services (including support services), and related resources.

Now I am not a grammarian, or a legal analyst, but I see a huge overlap in these two definitions. So what has changed? Is it just the terminology? Have an increasing number of those in executive leadership outside the IT world now recognized its importance? Is it because the threat to our networks has become more real and persistent? What is it?

I would offer that the CIO in any agency is a keystone in the world of IM/IT and IRM and, therefore, cyberspace. This is largely because of the CIO's experience with IM/IT and information assurance/information security, as well as the requirement of the CIO to manage the agency's IT investments. This will include the cyber budget as an entity within the IT budget.

The DoD definition evolved from hardware classifications, such as networks, computer systems and information technology infrastructures. It's interesting that the information itself -- the thing that requires protection -- is only referred to and not addressed more explicitly. The CCA definition of IM/IT, on the other hand, includes both hardware (information technology and related infrastructures) and information management. The new term Computer Network Operations is something that includes the security layer for both the network and the information (data), which is currently a function of the CIO team.

The Clinger-Cohen Act was introduced in 1996 -- a long 13 years ago in "IT" terms. The legislation created the CIO position accountable to the Federal agency head and responsible for the agency's IM/IT investments and their support as we design, build, operate and protect information solutions to gain and maintain the information advantage for the DON's personnel and mission. During the years, much has changed, yet much of the IM/IT landscape has remained constant. What has increased is our reliance on the network and information solutions to conduct our mission. What has also increased are the scope and magnitude of the threat to our networks and information. The CIO's responsibility to manage and oversee IT as defined in the law spans both national security systems and business systems. The term "cyberspace" is now in our lexicon, and I would offer that the role of the CIO is even more central to organizational success.

What do you think?
Rob Carey
Tagged With: Tagged with: Blog, CND, DONCIO, Governance, IA, Strategy
Time to Think
Published, June 30, 2009
 I recently attended the Current Strategy Forum hosted by the Naval War College in Newport, RI. The Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and Commandant of the Marine Corps all spoke along with many prominent scholars and authors. The discussion was about maritime strategy and its intersection with both national security and the world economy. I am always in awe when I am in the presence of such magnificent leaders. It truly is the time to sit, listen and learn.

During this conference, CNO Adm. Gary Roughead said senior leaders should take the time to think -- really think. Leaders are charged with developing strategies to solve issues on a large scale, he said, and need time to process information and weigh all available options. I was struck by this as I have heard former CNOs Vernon Clark and Michael Mullen make similar statements.

I have strongly advocated to my staff taking time to think. And it dawned on me, how much time during my normal week do I spend thinking about the future and how best to shape the Department's path to becoming more connected and more effective in delivering information? As I am thinking and strategizing about the future, what information do I need to inform my thoughts and decisions? And how do I normally access the information I need to make decisions and to strategize?

Then I thought about one of my first bosses in the Department. He believed that you had to be at your desk "doing something" in order to be productive. Imagine smoke coming from my pencil point as I feverishly worked some problem. Had I been sitting there thinking about next steps for my project, he might have seen me as daydreaming or goofing off. I imagine that had the Internet been widely available at that time, he would have viewed searching for information as unproductive web surfing. But walking the corridors of the tech library -- an inefficient exercise to say the least -- would not have been in his opinion.

Some experts say that managers should spend 30 percent to 40 percent and senior executives upwards of 60 percent to 70 percent of their time thinking through strategies. In fact, the more senior one becomes, the more important strategic thinking becomes.

I am constantly reminded by my staff just how busy my schedule is. But I did pause to reflect on how much time I spend thinking, and suffice it to say, it is not as much as I should.

The arrival of the Information Age has accelerated our ability to access information via the Internet and other digital resources, process it and take appropriate actions faster and more effectively than ever before. In fact, information overload is a real issue today that did not exist in the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s. The paradox of spending time thinking while considering vastly more information sometimes boggles the mind. As IT leaders in the Department, our value is founded in our ability to spend the right amount of time thinking and then putting strategies in motion to execute and ensure that mission outcomes are achieved.

So, are we spending too much time answering email and attending meetings? And does thinking get worked in to your day-to-day schedule? What do you think?
Rob Carey
Tagged With: Tagged with: Blog, DONCIO, Strategy
Web 2.0 in the DON
Published, June 9, 2009
 Last month, we held our East Coast DON IM/IT Conference in Virginia Beach. With more than 850 attendees, this was our most highly attended East Coast conference yet. And once again, our Workforce Town Hall was packed to capacity with a lively audience full of great questions.

Several of the questions that came up during the town hall were about the use of Web 2.0 and social networking tools. As I am a passionate believer in open communication and collaboration, I am heartened to see that there is a strong desire to use these tools as part of our way of doing business within the Department. I was also happy to learn that Secretary Ray Mabus is also very interested in how these tools can further the business of the Department.

In fact, many commands have begun using Web 2.0 and social media tools. SPAWAR, for one, has invested a great deal of energy into the development of an internal social networking application. They have also created an internal network of blogs they call "Blog Planet." Additionally, the Office of General Counsel has developed "OGC Online," a collaborative forum for the DON legal community to share information, network and provide a repository for collective knowledge. These tools were an investment to provide a communication platform for the staff to use to collaborate and accelerate the delivery of results.

The DON leadership is also using Web 2.0 tools to share information with the Fleet and the rest of the DON community. Admiral Robert Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, has a Facebook page, a blog and a podcast. Admiral James Stavridis, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, also has a Facebook page. In addition, visitors to the web site, as well as visitors to this site, will notice that both have RSS feeds, which bring content to users as it is posted.

I have asked my team to look into what is available within the Department that the DON CIO may be able to leverage to better interact with the DON community. I would be interested to hear from you about the Web 2.0/social networking/collaboration tools you are using and for what purposes.

Another question asked during the Workforce Town Hall in Virginia Beach, was in relation to guidance on the use of Web 2.0 tools and social media. While I signed out a memo last fall encouraging the use of Web 2.0 tools, additional guidance will be forthcoming.

We in the DON CIO, in cooperation with our Federal CIO partners, are working on guidance that will further outline the safe and effective use of social media. We recognize that there are security implications that come with these new technologies, and as with anything else, we will need to manage the balance between security and access to information.

What do you think?
Rob Carey
Tagged With: Tagged with: Blog, DONCIO, InfoQuality, InfoSharing, Web20
About the CIO Blog
The CIO blog is a forum for the Department of the Navy CIO to discuss matters related to information management and information technology and how they impact the Department.
Comment Policy
August  2009
Aim High, Fly High
July  2009
The CIO in the Cyber Age
June  2009
Time to Think
Web 2.0 in the DON
May  2009
For Transparency You Must Have Trust
April  2009
In the Clouds?
March  2009
Achievements We Can All Be Proud Of
What Keeps Me Up at Night
February  2009
Embracing Social Networking Tools
January  2009
The Next Set of Challenges
Enterprise Thinking
December  2008
Portals Made Easy
November  2008
Trust: The Most Important Thing
October  2008
Transition Season
Everyone Is a Cyber Warrior
September  2008
The Privacy Dilemma
August  2008
The Technology Train - Industry Innovation
The Impact of Information Sharing Part II
July  2008
Supporting Telecommuting Through IT
Enterprise Architecture is Essential to Mission Effectiveness
June  2008
Are We Ready for the Information Age?
May  2008
The Evolving Role of the CIO
Staying Connected: Wireless Tools of the Trade
April  2008
The Impact of Information Sharing
March  2008
Balancing Access with Security
Continuous Learning is Key to Success
February  2008
KM in Practice
The Net Generation
First CIO Blogger, Really?
January  2008
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