Navy’s Carey gives policy priority

For the past three years, Rob Carey has managed change in the Navy.

For most of that time, Carey, the service’s former e-business and smart-card team leader, spearheaded the Navy’s thrust to transform the way it conducted business electronically, which brought about a heavy reliance on smart-card technology for data authentication.

In June, Carey was named deputy CIO for policy and integration across the Navy Department, becoming the third deputy to be appointed under Navy CIO Dave Wennergren. Carey will serve as Wennergren’s principal adviser.

The other two deputy CIOs are Rear Adm. Thomas Zelibor, deputy Navy CIO, and Brig. Gen. John Thomas, Marine Corps deputy CIO.

His responsibilities now are security, architecture, portal development and critical infrastructure protection, in addition to e-business and e-government, Carey said. He manages 23 civilian and military Navy employees and about 25 contractors.

Carey is juggling several major projects: organizing a Navy portal management office and portal acquisition office, overseeing rollout of the multibillion-dollar Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, and creating an IT investment plan to monitor the $6 billion in IT funds the Navy gets each year.

He’s spearheading efforts to develop a tactical network policy by the end of summer to help NMCI officials determine what applications can be used on the network. He also recently drafted an information assurance policy.

“I’m really responsible for making sure there is policy in place to govern and manage the IT enterprise, to transform that piece of the business into a net-centric environment,” Carey said.
Carey is assessing Navy policy to determine how to ensure that all personnel are in sync with the department’s transformation.

He said his biggest management struggle has not been adapting to the evolution of technology but getting Navy employees to do things differently.

“It is not about the technology,” he said. “It is about the way we’ve always done it and having people rethink that.”

Like skinning a cat

As the e-business and smart-card team leader for three years, Carey has had plenty of time to study the challenges at hand, he said.

“In my previous job, I managed transformation. I transformed business systems into effective resources, so I had a sliver of the CIO’s organizational structure,” he said. “I had the opportunity to understand the culture issues.”

Carey’s policy-writing duties let him address obstacles directly. He is quick to spot potholes on the road to transformation and pave them with a policy document.

“That has greatly aided the ability of the department to leverage the assets of the IT staff as an extension of the arm of the CIO,” Carey said.

The cultural problems of NMCI make up some of Carey’s most difficult challenges as deputy CIO. He said he will follow the example of successes in corporate management to bring about changes in the Navy.

“We sort of scour what industry has done,” he said. “In many ways, we are a global billion-dollar business.”

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