NIMA focused on transformation

NIMA

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency has created an Enterprise Transformation Directorate to lead the way in transforming its business and its role within the defense and intelligence communities.

Shortly after starting as NIMA's chief information officer earlier this year, Scott Cragg also took charge of the agency's "business transformation." But after discovering, as many do, that controlling the money is necessary to control the business, Cragg merged the business transformation office with the agency's enterprise services directorate.

"If you're going to transform, you'd better have the resources and the ability to" provide incentives, Cragg said Oct. 22 at a CMA Executive Forum in McLean, Va. "Transformation has been an uphill battle...but it has also been some of the most exciting things we have done."

From the merger, the agency created the new Enterprise Transformation Directorate and split the CIO function again, Cragg said. In addition, NIMA's director, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, created a Business Executive Office about a month ago to oversee and integrate the transformation efforts with the agency's other functions, he said.

The Enterprise Transformation Directorate is headed by Roy Combs and includes a "transformation program manager" whose sole responsibility is to oversee the agency's transformation initiatives. It also has specific groups to work on architecture and data standardization issues.

Agencywide control is key because "everything is on the table within NIMA in regards to transformation," Cragg said. That means not just the services NIMA provides - including many types of geospatial data - but also the agency's functions, mission, personnel and operations.

As part of this, NIMA has two contractors working on studies to look at how the agency can and should do systems integration and systems development. NIMA is already moving forward with outsourcing everything that is not a core function for the agency, and the results of these studies likely will guide future policy, Cragg said.

Officials also are working on "an experiment" to use service level agreements, which reward or penalize service providers based on their performance against agreed-upon metrics. Different portions of the agency provide services internally, as well as for other agencies, and the question of how to make sure that service is at the best level possible is not easy to answer, Cragg said. Service-level agreements may be one way to make it happen, he said.

In regard to the CIO within NIMA, Cragg said he is still working to define that role because the program offices provide much of the technical support within the agency. However, he said he is more than willing to serve primarily as an adviser, helping to push transformation through use of technology, he said.

One positive step forward in that role, he said, is his position as one of three chairs on the agency's budget review group for the fiscal 2003 budget. That position gives him at least partial control over how money is allocated within NIMA, but it will take time to tell if this is truly effective, he said.

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