Intercepts

Transition Point Man

As expected, Defense Sec.retary Donald Rumsfeld named retired Navy Vice Adm. Arthur Cebrowski to lead the Defense Department's newly created Office of Force Transformation.

The office, as proposed in Rumsfeld's Quadrennial Defense Review and Defense Planning Guidance, will lead the Bush administration's broad goal to transform DOD, streamlining its operations and running it more like a business.

Cebrowski will spearhead the Pentagon's efforts to evaluate the transformation activities of each of the services, and he will recommend steps for integrating those activities into other ongoing efforts.

Cebrowski, president of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., until his retirement in October and a respected military information technology leader, had been rumored for the post for months, but the Pentagon made the appointment official last week. Cebrowski will report directly to the secretary and deputy secretary of Defense, DOD officials said.

"Art Cebrowski is the perfect guy to promote and analyze our transformation efforts," Rumsfeld said. "I chose him for his broad military experience, his strong credentials in joint operations and information technology, and his grasp of the cultural and technical issues involved in transformation."

Cebrowski is called the "father of network-centric warfare," one of the centerpieces of the department's transformation planning and the cornerstone of DOD chief information officer John Stenbit's plans.

In a meeting with reporters, Ce.brow.ski stressed that the new office will focus on a "balanced ap.proach between creativity and implementation." He said he likes to use "operational prototyping" as a way of testing concepts and encouraging broad involvement in transformation efforts.

"When one introduces an operational prototype, when you put something in the hands of people, they have no trouble visualizing what's happening," Cebrowski said.

"Far better we continually introduce the new technologies" so that people can be kept up-to-date, he stressed, adding that not everybody needs to be at the same level. "But you do need some people who are pretty close to the cutting edge."

Cebrowski also stressed that one of the critical issues for transformation is the culture. "The last thing to change in an organization is its culture, and consequently the work on cultural change must begin first," he said.

A Big Month for Army Transformation

Army officials say February 2002 is their target for naming a lead systems integrator to develop the Future Combat Systems program, an effort to equip soldiers with vehicles loaded with high-tech surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting systems.

There are four teams working on the project: Boeing Co.'s Phantom Works; Science Applications International Corp.; the Team Focus Vision Consortium, which includes Raytheon Co.; and Team Gladiator, which includes TRW Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp., among others. The Army wants to name a lead integrator by February to take the project from development to production, Army Secretary Thomas White said last month at a two-day symposium sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army.

Elsewhere on the Army transformation front, the service's CIO, Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, said the consolidation of IT systems operated by individual installations in the Military District of Washington, which extends from New York to Virginia, is on schedule. The consolidation began in August and should be completed by February.

Consolidation of the Army's enterprise "infostructure" is scheduled to begin in October 2002, Cuviello said during his Nov. 20 address at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association luncheon in Pentagon City, Va.

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About the Authors

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.




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