Defense to merge business modernization into GIG work

The Defense Department is merging its troubled Business Systems Modernization effort with its Global Information Grid architecture project.

The department needs to reduce confusion and ensure compliance with standards, said John Osterholz, DOD's director of architectures and interoperability in the CIO's office.

The goal is to make sure Defense employees understand GIG is the only architecture and all other architecture efforts must mesh with the GIG blueprint, he said.

"We have to make sure we have one set of compliance standards, otherwise it will decrease the success of the architecture," Osterholz said. "The business system architecture always was subordinate to GIG, but we wanted a more seamless connection between the business and the warfighting systems. We wanted to elevate it into the GIG architecture directly."

Defense CIO John Stenbit last week signed off on Version 1.0 of the new DOD Enterprise Architecture Framework, which replaces the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Core Architecture data model. C4SIR has been in use since 1997, Osterholz said.

Osterholz said teams are meeting weekly to merge the GIG and business architecture efforts, and work should take about six months. Enterprise architects already have mapped the modernization plans at a high level to determine gaps or inconsistencies in how the two architecture efforts describe business functions.

The business systems work has come under fire over the past few months from the General Accounting Office, the DOD inspector general, former DOD officials and enterprise architecture experts.

GAO described the business enterprise architecture as difficult to navigate and missing key elements. The IG said officials have not defined the term "business management system" or established a systems inventory for the modernization effort.

Osterholz said the problems are not overly serious. What's required is that the architecture team figures out whether there are substantive problems or whether it is a matter of clearing confusion between the GIG and business architectures, he said.

"The comptroller is very important in our world, and we want to make sure we have the best tools available to make decisions," Osterholz said. "By bringing the business architecture into GIG, we will make that process stronger."

Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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