Doing Business With Department of the Navy
General info: Dept. of the Navy<@VM>The CIO file: David Wennergren
- By Evamarie C. Socha
- Oct 24, 2003
1000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-1000
(703) 545-6700 www.navy.milFounded:
April 30, 1798. (The U.S. Navy was founded Oct. 13, 1775.)Secretary:
Gordon EnglandChief of Naval Operations:
Adm. Vern Clark Active duty:
188,492 (as of August)What it does:
The Navy trains, equips and maintains naval forces to deter aggression and maintain the freedom of the seas. Major components:
There are three main components: The Navy Department, which is the executive offices located mostly in Washington; the operating forces, including the Navy fleet, the Marine Corps, the reserves and, in war time, the Coast Guard (In peacetime, the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.); and the shore establishment, which supports the operating forces. The Marine Corps is considered a branch of the Navy, although it is a complete operating unit within itself and has all military arms except for cavalry.Number crunching:2004 request:
$114.7 billion2003 budget:
$111.2 billionIT budget2004 request:
Henrik G. de Gyor
Chief information officer for the Department of the NavyTook the job:
Dec. 1, 2002. Was deputy CIO since 1998.Hometown:
Camp Hill, Pa.Home now:
Alexandria, Va. Family:
Wife Sandra, daughter Heather, 23, a senior at Radford University. Twin girls, 7 months old, Kaelyn and Skylar. Hobbies:
Music, plays guitar. Likes riding bikes, photography, hiking and nature.Currently reading:
"Leadership is an Art" by Max De Pree, and "Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable" by Seth GodinAlma mater:
Bachelor's degree in communications and public relations from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. Master's degree in public policy from University of Maryland. WT: Describe the technology needs of the Navy.
Wennergren: We have hundreds of major installations and forces around the world, and to have that large, complex, diverse organization work together in an integrated manner presents some unique challenges and interesting opportunities. The large components of IT for us are things such as national security systems, warfighting systems ? it really is a gamut. While networks and the computers on your desk are important to us, it's also about the automated systems that allow us to do ? everything from command and control systems to back office functions. It's a pretty interesting world.WT: What have you learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom concerning Navy technology?
Wennergren: It's interesting to look at the difference between the last conflict in Iraq and this one. It's a tribute to the idea of network-centric operations. [That and] knowledge dominance are key themes of how a 21st-century fighting force works. People are connected and information flows, and people can make decisions in a collaborative, real-time way. And you were able to see that happen this time in the naval forces and across the joint operation.WT: Brig. Gen. John Thomas, CIO of the Marine Corps, called Operation Iraqi Freedom the first commercial-off-the-shelf technology war. Would you agree with that?
Wennergren: Completely. The solutions that are most effective for us now are where we leverage industry best practices and standards, because that gets you to interoperability, and that is what really matters.
The joint operating environment is really helped by commercial solutions. In the old way of looking at things, people would build their own solutions. But when you keep building your own solutions, you are then responsible for making it work with everything else. WT: Wasn't that something that was discovered when the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet project began, that there were many different applications scattered throughout the Navy?
Wennergren: Some very interesting discoveries [came from] that, and that is probably my biggest theme of the day?. You need to move to an enterprise-level view, which is really a challenge for large organizations, whether you're talking about the Navy or a large private-sector company.
Until you move to an enterprise view and say what we really need is an enterprise network ? and that is what NMCI is ? until you do an initiative like that, you really have no idea what you own in terms of equipment or applications. WT: Why is NMCI important?
Wennergren: It brings together these hundreds of local, disparate networks into a single, enterprise network so you can have interoperability, you can have access for everybody. You can have better security through a common security architecture.
Just as importantly, it's allowed us to have visibility now into the assets we own, the applications and how we're using them ? It served as this great forcing function to get us to look at how many local area networks we have, how we were using equipment, how we were doing security and how many applications we were building.
We literally had built tens of thousands of applications ? just trying to solve a problem on their local network.
But now with this visibility that we have through NMCI, we can work through and find everything, and we've done a lot of work in the last year.WT: Are you transforming your paperwork into electronic files?
Wennergren: We've been big advocates of "e." From my perspective, I don't care what you call it ? e-commerce, e-business, e-government ? as long as you get the "e" part.
Initially, you have this thing about "we're not business, we're the government." And you're absolutely right, but we do actually have a business, and it's national defense. We've worked hard with our commands over the last year to say there are still places where we're doing too much paper?labor-intensive paper processes?that could be moved to the Web and to electronic solutions.
We stood up a Department of the Navy E-Business Operations Office. We gave them the mantle to go off and become the innovation center to work with Navy and Marine Corps commands to help them embrace the move from paper to plastic [such as smart cards].WT: What do you look for in companies with which you are thinking of doing business?
Wennergren: What I really look for in our private-sector partners ? is where we can take industry best practices and leverage them, and do it in a way that we can benefit from the intellect that is out there. I'm looking for people who are willing to engage in a strategic dialog about where we are heading and what's the best solution to get us there, and one that will work well with all the people we have to work with.
And that's a big web, because it's not just Navy and Marine Corps. It's the rest of the joint environment, of the Defense Department, it's our coalition partners, it's our industry partners and academia.
So whatever initiative you're working on ? whether it's medical or logistics ? the web of who you need to work with can be very big. ? You have to be working on solutions that allow you to do things in a standards-based way. WT: A year from now, where do you see the Navy's technology capabilities?
Wennergren: I think we've created a good road map for us.
We just released our new information management, information technology strategic plan, and I think we have a very good vision.
I will be very happy if, over the course of the year, you can see those very things we just talked about, and it is a world in which we have moved away from redundant, duplicative legacy applications to best solutions.
And the best solutions are those that are Web services that are available on our enterprise portal, that are PK-enabled so we have the additional security of PKI, and we are fully embracing wireless technologies but embracing them securely. I think that is a great vision.