DC on T2

Capitol Corner — July 2019

Published monthly as part of FLC’s DC Perspective content, Capitol Corner focuses on one notable news item pertaining to the T2 community. The focus stems from agency publications, news sites, and DC-central organizations, with original sources, contacts, and links provided. For more information and Corner-related inquiries, please contact dcnews@federallabs.org.

Federal IT modernization projects have continued to ramp up and grow more robust this fiscal year. Retools to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) have created new future-proof initiatives to fine-tune and upgrade customer experience across agencies, and recommendations to streamline the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) were instituted to make more intelligent IT investment decisions.

The Pentagon is no stranger to its own wide-ranging IT reforms. The Department of Defense (DoD) arm recently released its Cloud Strategy to enable the growth of data analysis, address cyber challenges, ensure transparency across data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and drive widespread IT modernization. The Pentagon also has begun the foundation of the Joint AI Center to fully realize AI’s warfighter advantage via an enterprise cloud infrastructure.

To link together these separate (but conceptually similar) initiatives, the Pentagon issued its Digital Modernization Strategy to jump start the DoD’s IT transformation process this month. In a press release, DoD chief information officer (CIO) Dana Deasy said “this strategy outlines how the department will increase agility and remain competitive within a constantly evolving digital global threat landscape…our ultimate goal is to ensure our men and women in uniform maintain strategic advantage on the battlefield.” The Modernization Strategy also effectively updates the DoD’s Information Resource Management (IRM) Strategic Plan from 2015, which enabled the Department to integrate IT with “organizational planning, budget, procurement, financial management, human resources management, and program decisions” and was a requirement chartered by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The Digital Modernization Strategy threads together four DoD CIO priorities—cybersecurity; AI; cloud; and command, control, and communications (C3)—and four digital modernization goals—to innovate for competitive advantage, optimize for efficiencies and improved capability, evolve cybersecurity for an agile and resilient defense posture, and cultivate talent for a ready digital workforce. It is designed to best allow Deasy to have direct oversight over an expansive IT budget of $46.4 billion. The DoD’s IT budget helps command “roughly ten thousand operational systems, thousands of data centers, tens of thousands of servers, millions of computers and IT devices, and hundreds of thousands of commercial mobile devices” and will be under this Strategy’s jurisdiction until 2023.

1. Innovate for Competitive Advantage: The key to this innovation and competitive advantage is increasing the research and development (R&D) of leading-edge technologies, including cloud, sensors data fueling the DoD Information Network (DoDIN), updates to the Defense Information Systems Network (DISM), and utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT), among others, including widespread software development.

To do this, the Pentagon dives deeper into the importance and goals of the Joint AI Center; vows to deliver a DoD enterprise cloud environment; roadmaps a modernized command, control, communications, and computer (C4) infrastructure; treats data as a strategic asset; strengthens collaborations with international allies and private industry; and also drives united DoD IT systems standards and processes.

2. Optimize for Efficiencies and Improved Capability: In order to streamline IT operations, the Pentagon looks to shift to enterprise-wide operations, including those that upgrade and ensure maximum productivity, especially including improved financial management functions. This objective seeks to fine-tune IT acquisition, technology deployment processes, and component IT budgets’ oversight and certification best practices.

3. Cybersecurity for Upgraded Defense Ecosystems and Agile Posture: To maintain secure and technologically sound defense solutions, the Pentagon is looking to strengthen its IT defense ecosystems to gain information systems advantage and also remain in line with National Defense Business Operations Plan (NDBOP) goals: to increase lethality, strengthen alliances, and reform business practices. To accomplish this, the Pentagon will increase the cybersecurity infrastructure’s endpoint and insider threat capabilities; boost widespread efficacy of identity, credential, and access management (ICAM); protect sensitive and classified information; and fine-tune DoD risk management policies.

4. Cultivate Talent for a Digital-Ready Workforce: The DoD is instituting a new Functional Community Maturity Model to manage DoD civilian workers. This interagency model develops baseline qualification requirements for over 50 cyber work roles, as well as more agile recruiting and training best practices. The Department will seek to strengthen cyber functional community management under this model, as well as boost the IT acquisition workforce in order to employ personnel well-versed in secure technologies and software.

The full text of the DoD Digital Modernization Strategy can be read here.

DC on T2