Interview: Daniel E. Porter

CIO's priority is IT readiness

Daniel E. Porter became the Navy's chief information officer in September last year after serving as the assistant deputy chief of naval operations for logistics. Porter oversees information technology standards development for the service.

Porter made the commitment to remain Navy CIO at least until January to oversee the service's year 2000 readiness efforts and bring stability to Navy IT. There had been three Navy CIOs during the 12- month period before Porter took the post.

He spoke with GCN about the Navy's year 2000 readiness and information assurance efforts, and how it's moving away from specifying particular products.

PORTER: Right now, I'm spending more of my time on public-key infrastructure, smart-card and information assurance projects. Year 2000 readiness remains a high priority, but we're down to six mission-critical systems and are starting to breathe easier.

We've flipped our paradigm on how we're planning on using smart cards. Before, we wanted to buy smart cards and put a lot of information on them, including X-ray imagery, and dental and medical records. But we found that no matter how much memory you'd have, the memory wouldn't be enough [because of future requirements].

We're testing Web applications, with key information stored on a smart card, such as name, Social Security number and a digital certificate. The smart card will be used for building access and as an ID card. At least four commands will have pilot tests, and the Navy Department chief information officer received $30 million this year from Congress for PKI initiatives.

Much of the data will be stored in databases, with card readers stored on the networks also, which is where the [technical] innovation will occur. The smart card will get you on the database to access information.

Who's In Charge

Daniel E. Porter

Chief Information Officer for the Navy

Alex Bennet

Deputy CIO for Enterprise Integration

Ron Turner

Deputy CIO for Infrastructure, Systems
and Technology

David M. Wennergren

Deputy CIO for Y2K and Information

Dale Uhler

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy

for Command, Control, Communications,

Computers and Intelligence, Electronic

Warfare and Space Programs

Joe Cipriano

Program Executive Officer for Information

Rear Adm. John A. Gauss

Commander of Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command

Rear Adm. Richard Mayo

Director of Space, Information Warfare,
Command and Control

Brig. Gen. Robert Shea

Marine Corps CIO and Deputy Chief of
Staff for Command, Control,
Communications, Computers and

Debra Filippi

Marine Corps Deputy CIO and Deputy
Assistant Chief of Staff for Command,
Control, Communications, Computers
and Intelligence


(in millions, fiscal 1998)

Lockheed Martin Corp.......$955.0
Raytheon Co.......$396.6
Boeing Co.......$195.0
Marconi North America......$180.6
McDonnell Douglas Corp.......$151.6
Draper Charles Stark
Laboratory Inc.
Northrup Grumman Corp.......$133.0
Litton PRC......$122.2
Science Applications
International Corp.
Allied-Signal Inc.......$103.0

Sources for this
GCN Snapshot included
Input of Vienna, Va., and the Navy

Petty Officer 3rd Class Lance Pofahl, a photographer's mate on the USS Nimitz, scans negatives into his Apple Macintosh Quadra 950, which runs Mac OS 7.5 and Adobe Photoshop 5.0. He transmits images to Navy headquarters for posting on the service's Web site, at The amount of time it took to send back images from the Persian Gulf was cut from 10 days during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 to 10 minutes during Operation Southern Watch. Because Mac OS isn't included in the Navy's Information Technology for the 21st Century specifications, sailors have to receive exemptions to buy new systems, said Lt. Greg Kuntz, imagery systems photo officer on the USS Nimitz.

I'm planning to be at home [on New Year's Eve], and I'm inviting my nearest friends, including Dave Wennergren and Ron Turner [two of his three deputy CIOs]. Dave and I might have to leave to go to a command center at the Pentagon.

We've set up a secure Web site so that some executives can have the option of a secure visit to the center [during the rollover]. We are using smart cards with a virtual private network to the server. They can access the same decision supports that we will be using at the command center.

Some people are satisfied with that level of involvement, while some want to physically be there [at the command center]. I'm not sure if I want to come flying out of home to see a world map with green dots [for year 2000-ready systems]. What would I do at work? We spent a lot of effort to ensure there would not be problems. At individual commands, operations people will need to be on duty.

There never was a serious consideration of a central Navy Y2K center. The Marine Corps and Navy have [year-round] command centers, and [year 2000 readiness reports] is another screen on top of that.

For standards guidance, we're moving away from specifying certain products [unlike Information Technology for the 21st Century, which set Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Office 97 as standards]. It's much better to have language that talks about performance and outcomes, not products.

If we specify outcome and performance, we encourage better [vendor] competition, which can lead to lower costs. If you look at the request for information for [Navy Marine Corps Intranet], it doesn't say [that we want to buy a] 'PC.'' This is what we have been saying to the vendors: Here's what we're thinking'what do you think? We're thoughtfully considering what industry has told us, as we prepare the request for proposals.

Major programs

Navy'Marine Corps Intranet'Scheduled for award in June, NMCI will be a single-award $2 billion contract through which the Navy will outsource its desktop PC and network management with the goal of rolling out a secure, global intranet for about 500,000 users.

Information Technology for the 21st Century'The Navy is modernizing its fleets with asynchronous transfer mode LANs on ships and ashore. The LANs will be capable of Fast Ethernet transmission rates of at least 100 Mbps.

Voice Video and Data Program'Under the Navy's $2.9 billion VIVID contract, Lucent Technologies Inc. of Murray Hill, N.J., and GTE Government Systems Corp. of Needham, Mass., supply telecommunications hardware, software and services worldwide.

Super-Minicomputer 2'Litton PRC offers Hewlett-Packard Co. minicomputers, servers, Unix workstations, peripherals, software and systems services under this $2.5 billion governmentwide acquisition contract.

PC LAN+'Electronic Data Systems Corp. holds this $575 million contract with local area and enterprise network products, featuring integration, training and engineering services. EDS will provide services through 2001.

Information Technology Support Services'Navy organizations can buy global ADP and telecommunications support services from seven companies through this five-year $250 million contract.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected