In an era when changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three;
In an era when all information in all languages all the time is the non-negotiable first step to achieving holistic understanding of the Earth's system of systems as well as all the chaotic sub-systems;
In an era when the Nordics are far ahead of everyone else in thinking about Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making (M4IS2),
it is helpful to have a sense of what the U.S. Department of Defense is going with respect to it's own Global Information Grid (GIG).
Below are a few headlines as well as pointers to a couple of devastatingly critical reviews from the General Accountability Office (GAO).
Phi Beta Iota has just one question: when, if ever, will DoD plan, program, budget, and implement for a world in which 96% of the information DoD needs to exploit is not secret, not in English, and not originating from a DoD device?
After the GAO reports, click on the Frog Left to read what we said to the National Research Council about the Army Communications Architecture in the early 1990's and Frog Right to read about our recommendations for National Information Infrastructure (NII) cyber-security in the mid-1990's.
DoD needs a Chief Knowledge Oficer (CKO)–someone that knows the difference between knowledge management, network management, content capture and exploitation, and the Holy Grail, organizational intelligence.
August 2009 By Jason Jacks
Frustrated that the different communications networks deployed by its four branches aren’t always able to speak to one another, the Defense Department is moving forward with a major overhaul of its global information grid.
The major problem with the grid, though, is that many of the servers and applications powering it were built to address the specific needs of the different military services, which means they don’t always link up. These are known as “stovepiped” systems. It has been a longtime goal of the military to rid itself of these systems and become network-centric, where information is immediately and seamlessly available to everyone in all services.
“We need a flatter, faster and more collaborative information environment,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Basla, vice director of command, control, communications and computer systems at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a recent IT industry conference in Vienna, Va.
Click on logo or headline above for the full story online.
Long-range plan might involve a shared network protected by advanced encryption
By David F. Carr Aug 04, 2009
The military is increasingly seeking ways to maintain the separation between information classification levels and need-to-know communities of interest without maintaining physically separate networks.
The military’s secret, top-secret and nonclassified networks have long been physically separated from one another, meaning that each network’s traffic travels on separate wires to prevent data from leaking from one layer to the next.
Click on logo or headline above for the full story online.
Voice over IP builds bridge to the future of DOD comms
The lessons of VOIP are helping expand and combine rich communications and collaboration on military networks
By David F. Carr Jul 15, 2009
Although military technologists sometimes talk about the Global Information Grid in the present tense, one element of the GIG vision that is still in the works is the implementation of a global everything-over-IP network that allows phone, videoconferencing and other synchronous communications to ride over the same IP network that e-mail and other data communications use.
The transition to unified communications and collaboration is also playing out in the corporate world, where voice-over-IP (VOIP) phones are appearing more frequently. Richer communications sessions that combine voice, video, chat, Web collaboration and desktop application sharing are also becoming more common. And the same is true in the military — at least, in certain enclaves that have deployed the required network upgrades. But making such services span the full breadth and depth of the military is a much bigger goal that will take years to achieve.
DOD Management Approach and Processes Not Well-Suited to Support Development of Global Information Grid
GAO-06-211, January 30, 2006
Oops 2006: DOD's management approach for the GIG–in which no one entity is clearly in charge or accountable for results–is not optimized to enforce investment decisions across the department. The DOD Chief Information Officer has lead responsibility for the GIG development effort, but this office has less influence on investment and program decisions than the military services and defense agencies, which determine investment priorities and manage program development efforts. Consequently, the services and defense agencies have relative freedom to invest or not invest in the types of joint, net-centric systems that are consistent with GIG objectives. Without a management approach optimized to enforce departmentwide investment decisions, DOD is at risk of not knowing whether the GIG is being developed within cost and schedule, whether risks are being adequately mitigated, or whether the GIG will provide a worthwhile return on DOD's investment. The department's three major decision-making processes are not structured to support crosscutting, departmentwide development efforts such as the GIG. In some significant respects, the department's processes for setting requirements, allocating resources, and managing acquisitions encourage investing in systems on an individual service and defense agency basis.
Click on GAO Logo to read Full Report, or Summary Only above to read short version of bad news.
GAO-04-858, July 28, 2004
Oops 2004: The most critical challenge ahead for DOD is making the GIG a reality. While DOD has taken steps to define its vision and objectives for the GIG on paper and in policy and is beginning to make a heavy investment in the GIG as well as systems that will be heavily dependent on the GIG, it is not fully known how DOD will meet these objectives. For example, it is not known which investments should take priority over others and how these decisions will be enforced. Moreover, it is not known how DOD will assess the overall progress of the GIG and determine whether the network as a whole is providing a worthwhile return on investment, particularly in terms of enhancing and even transforming military operations. According to DOD officials, the enhancements DOD is making to its planning and budgeting processes are meant to begin addressing these questions. Until DOD implements an investment and oversight strategy for the GIG as a whole, it is at risk of making investments that do not fit DOD's vision for the future.