DOD says no to massive IT acquisitions

Large systems integrators will have a role, but it won’t be to run proprietary systems.

Led by the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Department is turning to a new model for procuring information technology. Under that model, DISA expects to acquire computing capabilities as a managed service, buy easy-to-implement commercial solutions, and subdivide large projects into smaller components that can be combined using service-oriented architecture (SOA) standards. DISA has told industry officials that DOD needs are changing. “The day of the big systems integrator is over,” said Brig. Gen. David Warner, DISA’s program executive officer for command and control capabilities, speaking at a recent industry luncheon.For decades, large integrators sat atop the world of major information systems procurement at DOD. The government outsourced development and stewardship of programs worth billions of dollars, yielding control of IT acquisitions to select companies. Those companies, in turn, developed mammoth systems using proprietary technologies that ensured the companies’ involvement and continuing business with the government for years to come.But all that is changing, defense officials and industry experts say. The pace of technological change and the evolving nature of how the military uses IT, combined with tightened budgets and the urgency of the war effort, require a new approach.DISA will still need industry’s help in finding and delivering capabilities to meet DOD’s requirements, but that procurement process will occur on a smaller scale than in the past, Warner said. DISA will use a third party or designated “capability broker,” he said. After DISA defines a capability architecture, it will use the broker to find and deliver technologies from the private sector.Large systems integrators’ reactions to DISA’s new policy have been mixed. Large integrators must adapt, said Anthony Valetta, a former DOD chief information officer who is now a senior vice president and CIO at SRA International. DISA’s IT procurement policy shift opens opportunities for smaller integrators who don’t manufacture and therefore don’t face ethical conflicts, he said. Some DISA officials, however, were quick to point out that the need for large systems integrators is not going away, but their role will change. John Garing, DISA’s CIO, said the sheer capacity and experience of those companies make them invaluable for the foreseeable future. But DISA’s need for speed, agility and adaptability discourages proprietary solutions or tightly coupled systems, he said.   DISA’s new preference is for a loose SOA framework to link modules that DOD can add and subtract at will. “I don’t anticipate any large procurement that’s got a turnkey solution that requires any large integration,” Garing said. Some industry executives and experts praised the vision of DISA leaders but expressed concern about the policy’s implementation. DISA leaders do not yet know, for example, who will perform what Garing calls “light integration.” That broker could be a current integrator, one of the military services or a federally funded research center, Garing said. Meanwhile, DISA is working with the  Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium to define the new role that the capability broker will play. Some analysts say large systems integrators would be suited for the job, if it were not for an inherent conflict of interest. Garing suggested that such integrators might have a central role if an institutional firewall separated them from the programs they manage. DISA is not ruling anyone out at this point, he added.Other DOD officials asserted that the department must retain intellectual control to be effective. George Snider, who leads the Warfare Systems Technology Branch at the Naval Sea Systems Command’s division in Dahlgren, Va., said federally funded research and development centers can provide the technical expertise the government needs. But the government “must come to the table with the technical competence to contribute,” he said. To be successful, some experts say DISA should go one step further. Large companies, such as GM and major Wall Street firms, have led in using emerging technical solutions and processes, but DOD has not effectively engaged the commercial industry outside the traditional defense industrial base, said John Weiler, executive director at the Interoperability Clearinghouse.  By relying too much on defense-sector companies and industry associations, Weiler said, “we’re drinking our own bath water.” That over-reliance has prevented DOD from applying commercial best practices and resulted in an 80 percent failure rate for major IT initiatives, he added. Congress has moved to address problems associated with large systems integrators in language written in the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill. Garing said DISA would make its new procurement strategies work through the use of performance-based contract language, service-level agreements and service-level management. And he predicted that DOD would benefit from the increased competition between large systems integrators and the nontraditional companies that DISA is inviting into the technology sandbox.































What is SOA?The definition of service-oriented architecture is a topic of debate. Some view SOA as a technology. Others consider it to be a governance model. Industry leans toward the latter definition, regarding it as a philosophy rather than a software methodology.

Defense Information Systems Agency officials view SOA as a way to organize the Defense Department’s complex mix of business processes, said John Garing, DISA’s chief information officer. DOD must be ready to use all available data in responding to unanticipated events, he said.

DOD needs the flexibility that SOA enables. “The essence of SOA is that it’s standards-based,” Garing said. Many DOD systems, including the Global Command and Control System-Joint, have hard-wired interfaces. That limits the flexibility of their data
X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.