- By Bill Murray
- Jul 09, 2001
With the deadlines for the Quadrennial Defense Review and the various
transformation studies all getting pushed up to early this month, one chief
information office now has a hefty workload.
Marine Corps CIO staff members have had to work at a "surge ops tempo"
paceknown to civilians as working evenings and weekendsduring the
last few weeks, according to one CIO official.
In addition to the QDR and budget work, Brig. Gen. Robert Shea, the
Corps' CIO, is anxious to complete the several-times-drafted Information
Technology Battle Plan, which lays out the challenges for the next several
years at the CIO shop, according to the official.
Admitting Defeat is OK
Robert Lieberman, acting Defense Department inspector general, hopes
supporters of outsourcing programs such as the Navy Marine Corps Intranet
and the National Security Agency's Project Groundbreaker don't "succumb
to the tendency to declare everything a success in the front end and close
our eyes" to everything else.
"Some of these are gonna work better than others" because of their scope
and level of innovation, he said. "I hope we have an organized, systematic way
of culling the lessons learned" and avoid reverting to "self-congratulatory
That's easy for Lieberman to say, but harder for the military brass
to do. Many Marine Corps and Navy officials, for example, seem wary of speaking
candidly about NMCI because of the possible political fallout that could
occur on Capitol Hill and within their services. The rivalry between military
services also makes it difficult for some officials to admit when a program
they've sponsored isn't going as well as they'd like.
Zig and Zag on DJAS
The Capitol Hill-mandated analysis of alternatives to the Defense Joint
Accounting System (DJAS) is dragging on. "Everyone's working hard" at Fort
Benning, Ga., the testing site, and at the Defense Finance and Accounting
Service (DFAS) in Orlando, Fla., said Audrey Davis, DFAS CIO.
System architects are looking at a Web-based architecture for DJAS,
Davis said. They're also deciding how they'd use DOD's public-key infrastructure
and howif at allthey'd use the current DJAS system's electronic signature
"Even if you install it remotely, you still have the training cost,"
Davis said. "I don't know any way of [limiting the rollout cost] short of
limiting the number of machines you deploy it with."
"It's zigged and zagged so many times," DOD's Lieberman said of DJAS.
He called the timing of the analysis of alternatives "not very predictable."
DFAS officials had hoped for a full production rollout decision for
DJAS in the Army and DFAS by summer's end.
Joe Kelly retired June 28 after 37 years of service as a Navy civilian
computer specialist. He worked in the same Washington Navy Yard building
throughout his career, except for a brief period, and finished as a Space
and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, GS-14 employee.
Kelly first worked with mainframe computer systems and then with minicomputers.
About 25 years ago, he began focusing on developing messaging systems for
A few days before he retired, Kelly told the Interceptor about the pride
he would feel on visiting naval communications centers and seeing the messaging
software he helped develop being used.
NMCI officials wouldn't speculate on what the Navy's outsourcing of
its IT in.frastructure through NMCI would mean for Kelly's civilian successors.
Marsha Hassell, a Spawar spokeswoman, said Kelly was doing inherently governmental
work that the Navy won't outsource.
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