DOD's Grimes: Our focus is on data

The Defense Department is concentrating on a data-centric strategy to move toward open systems based on service-oriented architecture (SOA) standards, John Grimes, assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration/chief information officer, said at a recent conference.

“Our focus is on data,” Grimes told the Network Centric Warfare conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23. “As we go to SOA architecture, we keep the applications behind and share the data on the network, and it becomes very critical that data is understood by everyone.” The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium hosted the conference.

DOD is using the Communities of Interest (COI) model as a basis for establishing data sharing, Grimes said. For example, in February 2006, DOD and the Homeland Security Department jointly stood up the Maritime Domain Awareness Data Strategy COI. This group seeks to compile a full-scale, real-time picture of the maritime environment and all its actors through using common data standards and exchange methods.

Next, DOD will work on a COI for strike capabilities, which would focus on building databases of target sets, Grimes said. The Army’s Blue Force Tracking system, which shares locations of all friendly forces on a battlefield, is another example of the success of the COI methodology, he added.

DOD will increasingly move to SOA because it benefits information sharing and acquisitions, Grimes said. “It just eats our lunch every time we get into a proprietary situation, because it’s noncompetitive,” he said.

The challenges to data sharing at DOD include a culture of information ownership, the need to create an enterprise-wide information environment, and problems interacting with interagency and coalition partners, Grimes said.

The DOD CIO is directing all communities of interest to design services within the Net Centric Enterprise Services environment.

Information assurance is the other top priority of the assistant secretary’s office, Grimes told the group of industry executives and military personnel from several nations. DOD is accelerating the implementation of identity management rules and began enforcing Common Access Card usage among senior Pentagon staff the week of Jan. 22.

The department is building its information assurance workforce, implementing the Global Information Grid Information Assurance Plan and addressing DOD’s vulnerability to cyberattack, Grimes said. DOD will review the plan and call on industry to keep the GIG relevant and up-to-date, he added.

Information assurance will receive increased funding totaling $2.3 billion this year, Grimes said, up from $2 billion in 2006. However, this is only 7 percent of the $30.9 billion DOD will spend on information technology initiatives in 2007. The total IT budget is less than the $31.9 billion allotted in 2006.

IT infrastructure and warfighting systems will continue to command the much of DOD’s IT investments in 2007; those areas will receive $14.3 billion and $8.8 billion, respectively.

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