DISA buying into SOA 'big time'

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology will play an important role in future command and control and information systems at the Defense Department, according to DOD's chief information officer.

DOD spends too much time and money acquiring individual, highly-tailored systems, said John Grimes, DOD CIO and assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration, speaking at the 2006 Milcom conference. It's time for the department “to stop buying things and start buying services,” he said.

With SOA, organizations can create a set of technical services that they can rapidly deploy. Developers can write applications that call on those services, rather than building them from scratch for every system.

Grimes said that moving to SOA represents “not an insignificant change” when it comes to how DOD acquires, develops and fields information systems. The Defense Information Systems Agency is leading the SOA project, and “I’m supporting it big time,” he said.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, DISA’s director, said the agency has embraced SOA because with traditional systems and software development, it takes too long to get systems into the field. Later this year, DISA plans to run a procurement for Web services discovery and a Google-like content discovery service, agency officials said.

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