Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tools Available to the Transformation Agent

Two sets of tools are available today that, if executed with the right combination of guts and wisdom, could have a historically significant effect on the DoD IT portfolio and, as a consequence, the DoD warfighting capability in general.

The first set comes from Public Law 108-375, 10USC2222, 10USC186 and the 2005 NDAA - from here on referred to as the "Core" Defense Business Transformation legislation. This Core both specifies and mandates that all decisions made relative to developing, modernizing or enhancing business IT in the DoD must be supported by a specified suite of decision support tools.

The fact that these tools are mandated by a higher authority for use everywhere in the Department of Defense has political value. The fact that these tools, when made to work together as a decision support system, behave almost identical to the investment decision support tools used by city and county governments all over the US is not, in my opinion, an accident.

They have not yet been executed in a way that provides even a fraction of the potential value. Execution is moving in the right direction for the OSD level Investment Review Boards IRB's, but on balance, the IRB's are a fraction of the decision makers in the DoD who are making daily decisions about their IT portfolios. Many DoD decision makers have little decision support other than their action officer staffs and no visibility to what others are doing.

If I were investing in DoD myself, I would consider this set of tools an undervalued asset.

The second set comes from Darwinian advancement in technology and innovation. What the folks over at milTech Solutions might not be quick to reveal is that the milSuite of tools, coupled with Army Knowledge Online (AKO) or a similar ubiquitous backbone, has the power to do much more than merely enable people to socialize. It can enable systems (and their associated data) to socialize - without the need for months of RICE object development and costly interfaces. Another undervalued asset.

Either one of these tool sets could put billions back into circulation, but not without a good trainer and champions. The tectonic shift that either would cause in the DoD would affect nearly everyone. Anyone reading this who has been around DoD long enough understands what I am not saying.

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