Military quizzed on streamlining

After praising the Navy and Marine Corps outsourcing effort, a House subcommittee chairman asked Air Force and Army officials to give him a five-year plan to improve their network interoperability and achieve information dominance while saving money.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Military Readiness Subcommittee, made the request Thursday to Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, the Army chief information officer, and Lt. Gen. John Woodward, the Air Force's deputy chief information officer, during a Capitol Hill hearing on network security.

After saying he was "impressed" with the Navy Marine Corps Intranet procurement, Weldon turned the tables on Cuviello and Woodward to find out what their services are doing to streamline their network acquisition and make their information technology systems more interoperable while achieving information assurance.

"The Navy and Marine Corps, in my opinion, are doing a fantastic job, and in addition they are saving a significant amount of public dollars for the taxpayers," Weldon said. "Initially, I am impressed."

Weldon also slammed the Energy Department and called its research laboratories "our weakest link" in Defense Department information security. He also called for the 28 distinct intelligence networks from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the National Security Agency to become interoperable.

Weldon also gave Vice Adm. Richard Mayo, the Navy's director of space, information warfare, command and control, some homework to do. Because NMCI may save money for the Navy Department on its voice, video and data services, Weldon asked Mayo "how much cheaper" it would be for the department to buy long-haul communications services through a vendor rather than continuing to use Defense Information Systems Agency's Defense Information Systems Network.

"I cannot specifically talk about the costs," on the spot, Mayo answered. Weldon also asked Mayo to find out if any network vulnerabilities could occur if the department outsources its long-haul voice, video and data services.

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