How DOD wants to speed shop

DOD could save time, money with shared approved products list

“Can the Army be innovative?” That was the main question posed by Brig. Gen. Steven Smith, chief cyber officer, Office of the Army CIO/G-6, at the AFCEA Northern Virginia Chapter Army IT Day on Jan. 14.

Smith was referring to a recurring problem across the Defense Department: the lengthy and expensive vetting process required to clear technology and other products proposed for by industry for military use.

“Deploying information systems takes too long and is too costly,” Smith said. “We need to reach out to the other services to share a list of approved products list, starting with information assurance.”

Smith said the goal would be to establish a one-test basis for products. At this time, each of the military services has its own separate vetting process for new technology, stretching the timeline from proposal to deployment to as long as 18 months.

The one-product, one-test approach would involve the exchanged of an approved products list, testing standards and vetting processes, and would be built on mutual trust, reciprocity and the sharing of best practices between the services, he said.

“How do we figure out, as a joint body, how to achieve [one-product, one-test]?” Smith asked.

He said a second phase of the approach would involve a so-called Council of Colonels, or a review board that would coordinate and sync joint testing efforts, and also set conditions to establish a government-industry clearinghouse for a roster of approved products.

“This would bring products to the market much faster,” Smith said. “Perhaps instead of nine months and $100,000, four or five times over [to approve products], just one process.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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