Defense brass explain IT spending to Hill

DISA director Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege touts the Teleport Program's better connectivity.

Henrik G. DeGyor

IT leaders acknowledge the need for better planning, but say DOD's new enterprise architecture will keep IT projects on track

The Defense Department's fiscal 2004 IT budget of $28 billion is too big to waste on poorly planned programs, a congressman told several Defense and military CIOs last month at a hearing of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

'This is a critical issue for DOD because its past investments have met with only limited success,' said Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.), chairman of the subcommittee.

At the root of DOD's IT failures, Saxton said, is its lack of an enterprise architecture to guide investments. Enterprise architectures promote interoperability and limit duplication, he said.

The department is currently developing an enterprise architecture that will encompass seven areas: accounting; collection, accounts receivable and cash management; financial and management reporting; human capital management; logistics; procurement, payables, acquisition and disbursement; and strategic planning and budgeting, officials said.

Brig. Gen. John R. Thomas, deputy CIO of the Marine Corps and director of command, control, communications and computers, agreed that IT systems and programs must be planned better.

Got a GIG

Defense CIO John Stenbit told lawmakers the Net-Centric Enterprise Service initiative will integrate a common set of information services over the Global Information Grid'and further reduce the amount of resources warfighters need.

NCES, expected to start next year, will shorten decision cycles, Stenbit said, by 'providing near-real-time connectivity and computing power to get the right information, at the right time, to meet operational, tactical and mission support needs.'

Other Defense leaders told legislators of their individual service efforts to improve systems and programs in the seven areas.

Navy Rear Adm. Nancy Brown, vice director for C4 for the Joint Staff, said the Deployable Joint Command and Control program is a mobile command post that will support the operations of a Standing Joint Force Headquarters at each regional combatant command by 2005.

DJC2 will provide both the infrastructure at the command post and command and control information systems for the Standing Joint Force. That will unify warfighters from various services, Brown added.

'The U.S. Central Command is already employing a variation of the DJC2 concept to support operations in the Persian Gulf, and the first DJC2 suite is scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2005,' Brown said.

Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, told the subcommittee that the DOD Teleport Program gives deployed military units increased connectivity through the terrestrial Defense Information System Network's fiber-optic infrastructure.

More flexibility, capacity

When fully deployed, Teleport will communicate across various radio frequencies to enhance interoperability and provide greater flexibility and surge capacity, Raduege said. DISA accelerated deployment of the first phase of Teleport to support the Central Command, which is coordinating the war in Iraq.

The Office of the Secretary of Defense recently approved an accelerated fielding of key portions of the second phase.

The Army is upgrading its bases and installations to ensure they can take advantage of the Defensewide Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion project, according to the service's CIO, Lt. Gen. Peter M. Cuviello.

The Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program is an ongoing process to improve the infrastructure and connectivity of the bases, he said.

The Air Force is hoping Congress signs off on $6.5 billion for IT systems and programs for fiscal 2004, Air Force CIO John Gilligan told the panel.

'We have plans in fiscal year 2004 to field a set of knowledge libraries to facilitate enterprise information sharing,' Gilligan said. 'Our ultimate goal, for the Air Force Portal and GCCS [Global Combat Support System'Air Force] is to provide our people with personalized, role-based access to information on the network that they can depend on ... whether at home or deployed.'

Navy CIO David Wennergren touted the service's success during Operation Iraqi Freedom in tying together the command and control structure of Navy, Coast Guard and allied and coalition ships to the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange Systems, known as Centrixs.

The systems gave the Navy better situational awareness and logistical support, and increased information sharing, Wennergren said.

'Access to e-mail and battle group Web sites is essential and Centrixs allows us to configure ship networks, and conforms to DOD and NATO architecture and standards,' Wennergren said.

'In the past year, we have equipped all deploying warships, including two high-endurance Coast Guard cutters, with Centrixs capability and provided the architecture to our allies to enable them to fit out their ships,' he said.

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