DOD focuses on knowledge management but can't pin it down

DOD focuses on knowledge management but can't pin it down

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

Defense Department officials are looking for ways to use knowledge management.

Although the Army, the Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) are using the term to describe a number of proj-ects, a common definition of knowledge management is elusive.

'There are so many definitions of knowledge management out there, it's a marketer's dream,' said Ron Turner, the Navy's deputy chief information officer for infrastructure, systems and technology.

DOD officials agree that the Internet and corporate intranets provide a wealth of information that needs to be sifted and evaluated. Whether a user is a deployed warfighter or working in the garrisoned military, it is easy for the user to become overwhelmed by an onslaught of information, they said.

OSD's pilot, A-Net, will help officials 'transfer information sharing and coordination to help them collaborate better,' said Marvin J. Langston, former DOD deputy CIO.

A-Net consolidates data on administration and policy issues at OSD. In operation since late last year, it has about 500 registered users, said Army Lt. Col. Mike Dorohovich, chief knowledge officer for the assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I).

A template-based system, A-Net requires Non-Classified IP Router Network registration. It has a four-tiered dissemination structure: C3I; deputy secretary of Defense; directors; and programs, projects and initiatives.

Army headquarters officials in November rolled out Army Knowledge Online, a project that lets flag officers and Senior Executive Service officials distribute information through the Secret IP Router Network using notebook PCs, said Miriam Browning, the Army's director of information management.

At the Air Force, the Materiel Command's CIO Support Working Group is defining requirements for directory services for the command's Enterprise Intranet, which will help officials retrieve and store information, said Debra Haley, the command's CIO at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

One DOD command reports a positive experience with knowledge management. The Joint Forces Command's Knowledge Today, a SIPRnet program deployed in 1995, has changed the culture in the command and cost just $440,000, Dorohovich said. The program has Lotus Domino and Notes Release 5 for development platforms.

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