General asks for shakeup in DOD’s C2 programs

Officials spearheading an experimental effort to streamline management of the military’s information technology capabilities want more than $1 billion in adjustments to the fiscal 2009 budget request for command-and-control (C2) systems.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Hostage, who leads the requirements and integration directorate at the Joint Forces Command, said he submitted seven program change requests to senior Defense Department officials at the end of August. Hostage submitted his recommendations to the high-powered Deputy’s Advisory Working Group, led by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, for final approval.

Hostage leads a capability portfolio management team examining C2 across DOD. Three similar efforts focusing on network-centric operations, battlespace awareness and logistics are also under way.
Hostage said his requests involve reallocating approximately $3 billion in the services’ spending plans for C2 systems. The services submitted their proposed budget requests for 2009 to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in early August.

“The determination to establish other portfolio managers will be made on a case-by-case basis.”
Gordon England, Defense Department

Programs have sprouted up indepentenly, Hostrage said, describing the military’s C2 landscape in an Aug. 29 interview. “I was surprised by the magnitude of the [gaps and redundancies] we found,” he said.

Hostage declined to say specifically which programs he recommended cutting or boosting, but he offered general thoughts on how he thinks funds should be reshuffled.

For example, systems responsible for passing data in what the military calls joint-fires missions should get a boost, Hostage said. He cited digital systems warfighters can use to call in bombing runs as an example.

Another recommendation involves consolidating some of the military’s 64 systems for blue-force tracking, Hostage said. That practice involves visualizing the location of friendly troops for commanders on the battlefield.

The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review called for DOD to apply the principles of portfolio management in assessing the military’s capabilities. Earlier this year, England included the idea in a plan to begin far-reaching management and governance reforms at DOD.
DOD officials have described the plan, codified in what is called the institutional reform and governance road map, as an effort by Bush administration officials to fix problems that became apparent during the president’s tenure.

“We’d like to take what we’ve learned and actually institutionalize some of it,” said one official, who requested anonymity.

DOD insiders say capability portfolio management efforts could become a model for managing military capabilities that cut across all services. In a road map document, England lays the ground for additional efforts in that regard.

“The determination to establish other portfolio managers will be made on a case-by-case basis, once the existing portfolios are operating effectively,” England wrote.

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