Navy sets up central office to manage use of IT funds

Capt. Chris Christopher, a project director for the Navy's program executive office for IT, expects the new office will improve portfolio management.

The Navy is finally creating a central office'five years in the making'to control how IT funds are allocated across the department.

The Office of the Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for IT will take control of the IT budget on Oct. 1 and manage the resources and requirements for such programs as the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet and the Outside the Continental United States Navy Enterprise Network in the Far East (One-Net), said Mark Mohler, assistant deputy director, ACNO-IT.

It will operate as a component of the Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Va. and initially will be staffed by 80 people.

'We're going to bring discipline to the management of the enterprise,' said Mohler, who spoke recently during a panel discussion at the Department of the Navy Enterprise IT Industry Symposium in New Orleans. 'We're in charge of managing the Navy's portions that make up investments in IT infrastructure and enterprise services.'

Mohler said some of the key areas the new organization will focus on include:

  • Asset management and consolidation to get a full registration of servers and networks in the Navy inventory

  • Alignment of business and warfighting IT systems

  • Enterprise licenses

  • IT performance metrics

  • IT human capital strategy.

'We're going to be agile, and we're going to return the investment. We're going to build a road map,' Mohler added.

The Navy's Program Executive Office for IT will provide IT asset management support to ACNO-IT, said Capt. Chris Christopher, a project director for PEO IT, and that starts with one tool the Navy began using this year to get a better picture of its IT assets.

'We are in charge of being the resource sponsor for the entire IT portfolio,' Christopher said, emphasizing the importance of knowing what the portfolio consists of.

Last September, the Navy signed a contract with BDNA Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., for software to scan service networks to identify items, such as device type and manufacturing information.

The application, which is used on Navy unclassified, non-tactical networks, servers, and applications located on NMCI and all legacy networks, lets Navy commanders see all IT assets on their bases.

'We have not done as well as we hoped with software asset management,' said Margaret Myers, principal director of the Defense Department's deputy CIO at another recent conference. 'We have no good way to keep track of licenses, but the way the Navy is doing it could be, in the long run, the answer for all of DOD.'

A recent scan found that the Navy had thousands of Microsoft NT systems that were not being maintained anymore, Christopher said.

'The tool supports governance processes, monitors security compliance and supports technical standards,' Christopher said.

Walker White, vice president of technology at BDNA, said the Navy has used BDNA software across the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet portal to create visibility into the IT environment.

Visibility of the Navy's IT asset inventory will help support server consolidation, application and database portfolio management, and legacy network registration and reduction, Christopher said.

'When NMCI comes up for a recompete, you'll be able to present a lot of detailed information on the environment,' White told the audience at the Navy Symposium. That information will give the Navy 'better footing for negotiating a deal,' he added.

Myers said the payoff could be huge for DOD in terms of finding licenses that were paid for but are going unused.

It also lets officials know how many enterprise licenses they have of a product, rather than take a contractor's word, Christopher added.

'We can do enterprise licenses based on the actual usage of the product. Too many times, organizations go to a software vendor that tells an organization what the usage is,' he said.

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