DOD struggles with incompatible data

Despite its efforts, the Defense Department is finding it difficult to share data. The multiagency Cross-Domain Semantic Interoperability Working Group concluded that DOD must address the problem with technologies that aren't yet available.

The group released a report stating that DOD's data strategy is inimical to achieving broad interoperability. The technologies necessary to reach that goal haven't sufficiently matured, according to the report.

DOD’s strategy is to establish communities of interest (COIs) that will develop standard data models. That approach is problematic, the report states, because it will result in a proliferation of COIs and competition among them. “The Army may end up with 100 or more data models, even with strong governance to limit the number," the report states.

The group concluded that mapping the various data models could require as many 9,900 interfaces. “Even if only 10 percent of the mappings were needed, it would still be too many, and this does not include interfaces with external systems," the report states.

The group warned that the proliferation of COIs and competition among them would lead to confusion. “If the Government Accountability  Office, DOD and the Army each create a COI for finance, which one does a given application adopt?”

A lack of interoperability is inherent in COIs, the group concluded. “A logistics system may fit well in a logistics domain, but [it] may also need to share data with a financial system,” the report states. “If [a logistics system] uses the logistics COI data model, it will not be interoperable with the financial COI data model."

The report's authors recommended that DOD focus on emerging technologies that directly address such issues to expand its ability to share data with internal and external partners.

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