DOD to define IT role in stability operations

The Pentagon will soon unveil a new policy for the role of information and communications technology in stabilization and reconstruction operations, a Defense Department official said today.

The document will likely be released by the end of the summer, said Al Johnson, director of integrated information and communications technology in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration.

It will complement the landmark DOD Directive 3000.05 from November 2005 that formally made stability operations a core mission for the military, Johnson told Federal Computer Week after his speech today at a conference sponsored by AFCEA International.

Military operations to rebuild and pacify countries devastated by war have gained prominence at the Pentagon in recent years, as U.S. forces face violent extremists and sectarian violence in Iraq. President Bush declared an end to major combat there in the spring of 2003.

Progress in approaching stability operations from an information technology perspective has been slow, Johnson said. “We are several yards behind the starting line in putting technical solutions in place,” he said.

A central theme of the new policy will be defining the ground rules for sharing unclassified information among the U.S. military and foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations and international agencies, Johnson said.

Although DOD officials emphasized improving the flow of classified information between U.S. forces and coalition partners in recent years, unclassified information sharing is still considered a niche, he added.

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