Goddard Center official seeks to transform IT

NASA's Goddard Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has at least six networks and could have as many as 28; the facility's chief information officer isn’t sure how many networks are operating.

Keeping count is difficult because the definitions of a network differ, and because new networks tend to be created at the center without notice, Goddard CIO Linda Cureton said today at a breakfast meeting hosted by Input.

“Things change all the time and one of the challenges of being the CIO of Goddard Space Flight Center is understanding your infrastructure and understanding what exists at the center,” Cureton said. “I’m sure a new network was created just since I’ve been here.”

Despite the challenges, Cureton said she's establishing a new decision-making policy that focuses on return on investment, security and alignment with NASA’s missions.

Meanwhile, the center’s governance policies had led to a fragmented infrastructure; Cureton joked that the facility may have a data center in the trunk of a car. “First the governance needs to be tackled, and we’ve made a lot of progress over the past year with that,” Cureton said.

Dealing with Goddard’s IT systems won’t be easy, she said. For example, the facility has 1,100 Web sites; half are public and the other half are internal. “To put it into perspective, NASA has a little over 2,000 sites, so one of 10 NASA centers has over half of the Web sites for the entire agency,” she said.

Also, Goddard has 50 to 60 malware incidents per month, and it is the only NASA center involved in all major NASA incidents, Cureton said. “We’re an opportune target likely based on the openness of the scientific community and the culture.”

In addition, the center’s enterprise architecture technology road map has not been completed.“We haven’t really explored the power of enterprise architecture to bring us from where we are, identify where we need to go and then map a plan to get there,” she said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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