DOD draft shifts ASD/C3I focus/mission

The draft blueprint document calls for sharp increases in funding for the new organization— from $21 million for the old ASD/C3I organization to $93 million a year. ~~Funding includes: ~* Architecture, analysis, oversight and CIO functions: $63 million~*Year 2000 oversight: $10 million~* InfoOps oversight: $10 millionThe draft blueprint for the Pentagon's key command and control office calls for a laser-like focus on information superiority and recommends that the Defense Department establish a new assistant secretary of Defense for information superiority to replace the current assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.

The "Blueprint for the ASD/C3I and CIO," a copy of which was obtained by FCW, stated that the change in title and focus is needed for the Pentagon to meet the information superiority missions outlined in DOD documents such as the Quadrennial Defense Review and "Joint Vision 2010'' from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

These documents state that in future wars the U.S. military "must have information superiority, [which is] the capability to collect, process and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information, while denying an adversary's ability to do the same.''

With that prescription in mind, the draft blueprint stated, "The achievement of information superiority is the correct metric by which each decision concerning the information activities of the department should be measured."

Paul Strassmann, former director of Defense information, strongly supports the report's focus on information superiority as the overriding objective. "There's no question, it's the right focus, the right attitude," Strassmann said. "It is high time the ASD/C3I focused on warfighting as the most important [mission]."

Information technology systems, practices, policies and procedures need to reinforce the top-level information systems goal, according to the document prepared by Duane Andrews, a former ASD/C3I during the Bush administration and now a senior executive with Science Applications International Corp. "If a proposed action advances the department towards the goal of information superiority, it should be supported. If a proposed action does not advance the department toward that goal, or worse, moves away...then it should be resisted.''

Change Is Needed

Organizational and cultural change is needed, the blueprint said, because current "information systems and activities would not meet any reasonable test of information superiority.... Fundamental change in the processes used for the management and oversight of the acquisition and operation of information technology is needed in order to achieve information superiority.''

The blueprint document makes it clear the reorganization needs to be accompanied by a realignment in funding and budgeting. "The partitioning of dollars into turf-related funding categories significantly limits the ability of the head of an agency to conduct an acquisition of information technology'' because of the artificial divide between procurement and operations and maintenance dollars, according to the document.

To remedy this problem, the blueprint recommends that the new ASD/IS office work with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget "to ensure the flexibility in moving money between accounting categories in order to make rapid changes in [IT]...and obtain efficiencies that are just 'too hard' under the current processes."

DOD also needs to change dramatically the way it acquires IT systems to meet the IS challenge, the blueprint said. The Pentagon needs to follow the example of such commercial entities as Chrysler Corp. and move its acquisition and development focus from single systems to what it called a "value chain," which shifts the focus from individual activities and units to total information flows and the contribution each organization makes to that flow.

In the oversight area, the blueprint calls for the elimination of the Major Automated Information Systems Review Council— which oversaw the acquisition of big-ticket systems— and it calls the council a "relic'' of the past and not needed in an era of value chains.

Andrews and his team produced the blueprint at the request of top Pentagon management as part of the ongoing Defense Reform Initiative. Anthony Valletta, the acting ASD/C3I, who plans to retire this week, recently outlined some of the organizational changes in the planned ASD/IS office [FCW, March 16]. Although that management has not totally signed on to the blueprint, insiders expect a decision within a matter of weeks. One source close to the process said John Hamre, the deputy secretary of Defense, deserves "high praise'' for his backing of the changes proposed in the blueprint.

"To the extent they are able to effectively do what they are talking about, this sounds like one of the most important innovations in the field in this decade," said John Pike, a Defense analyst for the Federation of American Scientists.

*****

ASD for Information Superiority Funding

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