Army deputy CIO/G6 Michael Krieger

2014 GCN AWARDS

Krieger molds the defense IT enterprise

It’s often true that, as the saying goes, the times draw the best out of a person. But it’s also the case that sometimes the right person and his talents happen to fit the needs of the times perfectly.

Mike Krieger, deputy chief information officer/G-6 for the Army, served 25 years in the service in operational roles in command and control and tactical communications. As a government senior executive, he also had several stints as acting Army CIO/G-6 and in the Defense Department’s Office of the CIO.

However, one of his greatest successes is the recent integration of enterprise email throughout the Army. From a slew of Microsoft Exchange servers run by different organizations – and sometimes by separate installations – the Army now has just one email service for its 1.5 million users run out of the Defense Information Systems Agency’s cloud.

Begun in 2009, the year after Krieger became deputy CIO, the four-year process was “terribly difficult,” he said.

“It was the first time in the Army that we’d tried to drive IT across active Army, reserves, National Guard, the Corps of Engineers and MedCom [Medical Command],” he said. “The resistance was tremendous.”

But beyond the cost savings, network efficiencies and vastly improved communications the new email system has produced, Krieger sees the success of the program as a model for getting other necessary IT jobs done.

Organizations across the Army are now comfortable drawing services from the enterprise compared to 2009-2010 when they still provided their own services to users. “That was a huge cultural change,” Krieger said.

Another other major change he’s witnessed is a shift in the belief that network capabilities need to be “very tip-of-the-spear,” to a recognition that there are things that can be better done from the enterprise. The change has enabled a much faster modernization within the Army than was previously possible.

“Success breeds success, and now people want to come forward and say what they want to do next,” Krieger said. “So the pace of change in the Army has picked up with the success of email, and I think you’ll see other programs, such as unified capabilities, go faster because we’ve removed those fears about it working or not.”

Dave Wennergren, former Navy CIO and now senior vice president at the Professional Services Council, said Krieger’s ability to build coalitions, married to a keen intellect and strong will, has produced IT progress in the military overall.

Krieger was a champion for the DOD’s Net Centric Data Strategy, said Wennergren, still the foundational document on the need to expose data and make it available “to be consumed by unanticipated users in ways that were never dreamed possible.”

“Mike got that strategy done and then guided the actual manifestation of it through communities of interest with his personality and sheer force of will,” Wennergren said. “He recognized that, in the 21st century, success will come in getting the right information to the right person at the right time, and I think that vision is a hugely central theme to the mission of the DOD.”

Krieger is set to retire from the Army at the end of October, though he’s quick to say it won’t be a real retirement. After taking time to sit back and relax a little, the man Wennergren said “has technology in his blood” expects to move on and do something he has passion for. “Something that maybe I can get someone to pay me for along the way,” he said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Tue, Oct 28, 2014

Mike Krieger was extremely successful at pushing the success of AKO and DKO to the DoD level (as Mike Bomba puts it - tying Enterprise Identity to the hiring process and automatic provisioning of identity and Army enterprise services). He has shut down the orginal Army enterprise email that connected the past and present Army and their family members (AKO) and in the process gained the Army an external email service provider. He was successful in pushing all Army email IT investment costs to DISA. And while it has worked great for the Army, the costs are prohibitive for the other services. Other than token support, the rest of DoD is not buying it. No one can afford it, especially in light of the upcoming budgets. I predict DISA surrenders email back to the services in the next 1-4 years. Mike Krieger has blazed the trail in bringing email as a service to DISA but no one in the DoD has the money to follow...

Mon, Oct 27, 2014 Mike Bomba

What is important is that DoD is finally embracing the concepts that services do not need to be organically designed and deployed and servers do not have to sit "virtually" under the desk of the consumer of the service.

Enterprise Email forced DoD to fast track a Global Identity service that future enterprise applications can leverage. It tied how DoD hired personnel to automatically provisioning of identity services and automatic provisioning of IT services (in this case Army users of Enterprise Email).

Enterprise Email may not have been the cheapest solution available, but it was much less costly than the fragmented, non-standardized, minimally resourced way we were doing email before.

The true legacy is that Mr. Krieger has laid a solid foundation for DoD to move into enterprise services (yes even managed services) enabling DoD to survive and thrive as IT budgets across all of the Department get the axe.

Wed, Oct 22, 2014

The DoD should request an independend audit of expenses for services provided by EE and other enterprise IT capabilities vs. the cost and effectiveness of AKO services. When apples are compared to apples, I'll bet we would see higher actual costs for reduced capabilities. There has been a huge investment in centralization of services, resulting in higher overall costs and degradation of support to the end users. Putting all eggs in one basket may turn out to be not such a good thing after all (fewer, bigger targets for the enemy to attack, and bad responsiveness, confusion, and bureacracy from a myriad of distant organizations that are somehow involved in the tangled spaghetti mess of providing IT capabilities).

Tue, Oct 21, 2014

Standards based Army Knowledge Online handed email for twice as many as the proprietary technology from Microsoft that replaces it. Worse the number of microsoft techs and microsoft servers and microsoft licenses are over 100 times those that were needed and used at AKO to do a better job.

With the massive amount of money that Krieger spent with Microsoft to do less than what AKO did with less reliability... this government handout to Microsoft certainly created more jobs... just wondering for whom...

Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Mike Krieger has indeed pushed and pulled the army to new heights but enterprise services in the Army are nothing new. Army Knowledge Online has been in place since 2000 and demostrated that there is huge cost savings when gong "Enterprise" and that some services did not need to be "very tip-of-the-spear". The people who put that system in place (which is still in place today), now they were visionary.

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