DOD Opens Up

The other federal agency that faces seemingly infinite amounts of data is the Defense Department. Much of it is classified and kept tightly tucked away, but some of it is made public.

The mission of the Defense Technical Information Center is to acquire, store and retrieve scientific and technical information for DOD. Although the information may seem suitable mainly for a military audience, DTIC officials consider their customer to be anyone who has Internet access, said Kurt Molholm, DTIC administrator.

Such demand presents challenges, however, Molholm said. "One of the things we quickly realized was the need to separate production from development environments," he said. "While available technologies have been adequate to meet the basic requirements of the majority of the sites, it has been necessary to customize many applications and develop others to provide the complex functions needed by many projects."

From an organizational standpoint, the biggest challenge DTIC has faced is changing culture. DTIC traditionally has served only customer organizations that registered for its services. Its networks, documents and other services were limited to registered users. However, despite challenges that have arisen from serving the general public, the agency's core content delivery mission has kept the site focused on all user needs.

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