[ISN] DOD official outlines IT challenges

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 01 2002 - 01:11:13 PST

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    By Dan Caterinicchia 
    Oct. 31, 2002
    As the military services continue to fight the first war of the
    Information Age, the Defense Department is making information
    technology a top priority - but not without major challenges,
    according to Paul Wolfowitz, deputy Defense secretary.
    Wolfowitz said DOD's younger, more IT-savvy personnel - which he
    dubbed the joystick generation - are making great strides in helping
    bring the military from the Industrial Age into the Information Age.  
    This means a shift in focus from an overall mass of systems to
    networked, distributed forces with greater situational awareness.
    Much integration work remains to be done and because of the speed of
    technological innovations, Wolfowitz said it sometimes seems that for
    "every year we're catching up, we fall three more years behind." He
    spoke Oct. 30 at the Government Electronics and Information Technology
    Association's (GEIA) annual budget forecast conference in Tysons
    Corner, Va.
    Last year's Quadrennial Defense Review, a congressionally mandated
    review of DOD military strategy and force structure, included IT in
    two of its operational goals: viewing technology as a critical asset
    that needs to be defended in and of itself, and also viewing it as the
    enabler for bringing about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's
    proposed transformation of the armed forces.
    Wolfowitz said the quadrennial review acknowledges that the increased
    emphasis on IT also requires cultural changes, which can be encouraged
    by "innovation and intelligent risk-taking."
    In addition to culture, he noted three main technical challenges in
    the DOD's use of IT:
    * Making information available on a network that people trust.
    * Populating that network with new and useful information that pulls
      from the best resources rather than pushing it from a central
    * Denying U.S. enemies access to the network.
    "They aren't separate tasks; they are interdependent and merit
    concurrent pursuit," Wolfowitz told Federal Computer Week in an
    e-mail. "In other words, while all three should and are being worked
    on, it is probably fair to say that the department has made the most
    progress to date on [the first goal], which is perhaps the most urgent
    at this early stage."
    Wolfowitz said industry has helped DOD overcome its IT challenges, and
    he thanked the GEIA audience members for their work, calling for
    continued support to meet those requirements in the future.
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