DOD's decade of transformation
- By John Monroe
- Mar 14, 2004
Transformation is a byword at the Pentagon, the code name for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's vision of making the military forces lighter on their feet yet more lethal. In short, they will be better equipped to respond to hot spots as they flare up worldwide.
The transformation, though, began in the 1990s, as technology was integrated into nearly every aspect of the Defense Department's operations. The following highlights are drawn from Federal 100 award winners who worked at DOD during that seminal decade.
n Like much of the federal government, DOD in the early 1990s was still fielding PCs and networks throughout its organizations.
In 1991, Ruth Ewers, director of the information technology division for the Navy's Atlantic fleet, oversaw the design and installation of the first shipwide local-area network aboard U.S.S. Yellowstone.
n Defense technology, though still in its infancy, played a role during Operation Desert Storm.
In 1991, Lt. Col. Philip Crawford provided the Army's 7th Corps with a prototype software system that gave commanders access to command and control (C2) and intelligence data in both textual and spatial formats. And John Hall directed the installation of a wide-area network that gave Marine commanders tactical and logistical information during Operation Desert Storm.
n The groundwork for
network-centric warfare was laid in the mid-1990s, as DOD officials began work on key C2 and support systems.
The Defense Information Systems Agency led development of the Global Command and Control System, which is still the basis for battlefield systems today. DISA's role was cited for awards given in 1996 to two agency executives: Lt. Gen. Albert Edmonds and Rear Adm. John Gauss.
DISA also spearheaded development of the Defense Information Systems Network, and Anthony Cira in 1994 and John Watkins in 1995 won Federal 100 awards for their efforts.
n The rapid evolution of defense technology since the Persian Gulf War paid off when troops were deployed to Bosnia in 1996.
Lt. Col. James Walsh and his team set up e-commerce systems at various sites in Bosnia and Hungary, so Army troops could order supplies electronically. Further afield, Capt. Thomas Jaycox of the 22nd Signal Brigade gave remote infantry units access to logistics systems and the Web.
n Toward the end of the decade, service officials began rethinking how they manage their systems.
In 1997, Adm. Archie Clemins championed a program known as IT-21, which aimed to deploy a common base of commercial technology at sea and ashore.
And in 1998, several years ahead of everyone else, Dave Borland, deputy director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers, ordered a shutdown of Army Web sites until all potentially sensitive information could be removed.