CIOs outline tech priorities

Since becoming acting CIO for the Defense Department on March 1, John Zangardi has his work cut out for him.

The Defense Travel System is getting a revamp, starting with a security assessment to overhaul the current system, which has been maligned by lawmakers, auditors and other DOD officials. The pilot program would involve 15,000 to 30,000 users. 

“There’s not a lot of [personally identifiable information] in the system, but there is PII data in there that we need to protect,” Zangardi said at the Adobe Digital Government Symposium on May 2.  “We need to improve the experience that our members and civilians currently have.  Once we get this in place, we will have a better experience in place that saves us money.”

Other programs on Zangardi’s plate include deploying the Windows 10 operating system across all of DOD by the end of 2017 and changing the way the Defense Department protects its networks by continuing to develop and deploy the Joint Regional Security Stacks.

Zangardi is also working with Adm. Mike Rogers, who serves as director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, to continue the reorganization of DOD’s cybersecurity efforts.

“We need to work with all of the stakeholders that have significant equity when it comes to cyber,” Zangardi said.  “Once we meet the legislative mandate [outlined the National Defense Authorization Act], I want to take this process into phase two and three.”

At the Department of Commerce, meanwhile, acting CIO Rod Turk wants to consolidate the agency’s various IT capabilities and move them to the cloud.

“To do it right now with 12 components is akin to chaos,” Turk said.  “I want to collapse these services to make it easier for employees to access cloud and data center technologies.”

Joe Klimavicz, deputy assistant attorney general and CIO at the Department of Justice, said his agency has eliminated $28 million in IT costs over the past two years by consolidating a number of its data centers.

“The vast majority of our systems are now virtualized, but we still have a lot to do,” Klimavicz said.  “We have multiple generations of Java coded into our legacy systems, which is a huge cyber risk.”

Part of the challenge for DOJ is the limited amount of money dedicated in the agency’s budget for IT modernization.

“We spend $3 billion on IT, but only 20 cents on the dollar go to IT modernization,” Klimavicz said.  “It is way easier to get money for new things.”

As more law enforcement agencies look into innovations leveraging the internet of things and body cameras, Klimavicz said he sees a huge challenge for government in managing the massive data streams.

“The number of endpoints will change drastically with IoT, but I hope that we don’t impede the mission with the management of all of this information,” Klimavicz said.  “The insight that we are going to gain from this information is going to lead to intelligent decisions that we have never seen before."

This article was changed May 11 to correct information about the pilot program to overhaul the Defense Travel System. 

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.

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