Grimes: DOD needs to shift information culture to right-to-know

The Defense Department can no longer isolate information in silos and must move from a need-to-know to a right-to-know culture, John Grimes, assistant secretary of Defense for networks and information integration, said in testimony in a hearing held by a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on March 28.

Grimes, who is also the Defense Department’s chief information officer, told the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee that as DOD develops a new information architecture, the need to share information with authorized users who have a right to know it has become paramount with information sharing at the heart of network-centric operations.

To enhance data-sharing, DOD has developed a data strategy that focuses on communities of interest, which use a core vocabulary and data representation for concepts such as “what, when and where” that are understood across DOD’s many mission areas and the intelligence community, Grimes said.

These standards are being applied as the basis for development of a Strike community of interest led by the Strategic Command, which will enable multiple agencies and the military services to share and understand mission critical data, Grimes said. The Strike community of interest, he added, will be focused on the delivery of net-centric command and control and coalition strike-planning capabilities, including intelligence community assets.

DOD still has a stovepiped information systems architecture in which, Grimes said, “information is, quite frankly, hidden and hoarded, rather than visible and shared.” He said DOD has started to move toward a service-oriented architecture that promotes data interoperability and is provided through commercially managed network services, such as the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) program.

Services such as NCES will make it easier for DOD users to access, manipulate and share data and work in a collaborative fashion, Grimes said.

Dave Wennergren, deputy CIO at DOD, said in a speech March 28 that Grimes will release a formal information-sharing plan in three or four months.


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