A Recap of the 2009 DoDIIS Worldwide Conference

I previously mentioned the DoDIIS Worldwide Conference, which was held 17-21 May 2009.  I took lots of notes from the conference: enough, in fact, to fuel this blog for a long long time.  My associate Ryan Kamauff took even more (and more relevant) notes on the sessions there, and both of us kicked the tires on as many technology demos as we could.  This was a great education for us and the many other atendees there. I was also allowed to give a presentation at the conference (see: Five Megatrends in Enterprise IT).  Overall it was really a great time.

The following is a run down of some of the more salient parts of the conference.

Presentations were given by:

  • Grant Schneider, DoDIIS CIO
  • LTG Ron Burgess, DIA Director
  • Ms. Sherrill Nicely, ODNI CIO
  • Dr. Prescott Winter, ODNI ADDNI for Information Integration
  • MG John Custer, CG, USA Intelligence Center
  • Ms. Lauren States, IBM Cloud Computing director
  • Mr. Mark Bregman, Symantec CTO
  • Mr. Marlin Forbes, Verizon Federal
  • RADM Tom Atkin, US Coast Guard
  • Mr. Kurt Rao, CIO, Time Warner
  • Mr. Bill Vass, COO Sun Federal
  • Panels including all intelligence community CIOs and several senior customers were also held.

Our views of the most relevant/actionable information:

LTG Burgess very clearly demonstrated his strong support for and high expectations for the IT components of the enterprise, but he also laid down some requirements for the current team to achieve. He expects the mission to be served with highly reliable IT. And he expects that will be done in a way that does not give DIA customers "headaches." DIA and the IT it provides is supposed to speed up mission success not slow it down (when customers touch DIA networks it should be "Like race time at Talladega"). He expects DoDIIS to deliver timely intelligence ("Intelligence without communications is nothing more than history"). He also expects DoDIIS to be in a mission support role. DoDIIS is to enable and support the mission. He reminded us all that he does not know the future but for planning purposes he believes FY11-15 will be an age of flat lines in the budget. "Not everyone will get what they want, but the mission will get what it needs-- deployed in an enterprise style."

Grant Schneider hit three themes hard: creating a change environment, moving DoDIIS forward to meet this change, and decreasing time to market for DoDIIS IT. Grant wishes to have an environment in DoDIIS that welcomes a change from the current policies. He also mentioned the movement towards "Green IT". He underscored several other important capabilities, including the need for cross domain solutions and the need for collaborative tools. He established three focus areas for 2009: customer service excellence, enhanced requirements planning/management processes, and decreased time to market.  Upon closing of the conference Grant returned to many of these same themes, and also underscored that social networking is going to be driving much of the communication in the enterprise.

MG Custer provided one of the most exciting presentations of the conference. It was a very technology focused presentation that hit on the complex dynamic between the acceleration of technology and the need for customers to drive requirements. He is a clear believer that innovation on the edge should drive the systems we use, the architectures we employ and the methodologies we utilize on the battlefield. MG Custer provided thoughts on how DIA DS could better serve, and he did so in a way that made many of us think he was not getting responses to his needs in formal channels. Areas he said could use more DIA attention include:

  • Designate GISA as Army JWICS regional support center (RSC)
  • Develop cross-fertilization exchange program between GISA and RSCs
  • Develop personnel exchange between G2 and DS
  • Eliminate agendas and 'not invented here' syndrome
  • MOA to establish battle hand-off between G2 and DIA

General Custer also showed the audience a YouTube video I reported on at this site (see:  http://ctovision.com/2009/03/you-really-have-to-see-this-from-mit-media-lab ).

Many speakers hit on common themes of the need for enhanced data sharing, the need for smarter data center strategies, the need for continual work in cross domain solutions (and smarter networks), the need for rapid implementation of ICD501, and the need to be able to share the results of programs and projects from elsewhere in the community. Speakers hit on the fact that A-Space is a positive thing but still pretty much limited to a small number of beltway analysts (J-space is coming and should be more broadly applied). Other speakers hit on the need to improve the acquisition processes.

The need for continual work in cross-domain solutions is particularly noteworthy. Progress has been made in many fronts regarding cross domain, and the government has done smart things like establish cross-domain management offices to help bring focus to this area. However, in some ways the establishment of cross-domain management offices and the regulations that come with it have actually introduced challenges regarding innovation. The government has focused so hard on reducing cross-domain solutions and narrowing the set of capabilities that new capabilities are very hard to introduce.

Technology themes during the conference mirror the technology themes elsewhere in the IT world: Virtualization, Storage, Cloud Computing, Open Source and Security were all key topics.

This conference informed our thoughts on high interested technology and was a fantastic opportunity to connect with old friends.  Thanks DoDIIS friends for letting me attend.

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Bob Gourley

Partner at Cognitio Corp
Bob Gourley is a Co-founder and Partner at Cognitio and the publisher of CTOvision.com andThreatBrief.com. Bob's background is as an all source intelligence analyst and an enterprise CTO. Find him on Twitter at @BobGourley
Connect Here
About Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley is a Co-founder and Partner at Cognitio and the publisher of CTOvision.com and ThreatBrief.com. Bob's background is as an all source intelligence analyst and an enterprise CTO. Find him on Twitter at @BobGourley

Comments

  1. Mike Macedonia says:

    What is J-Space?

  2. Bob – excellent review, the best summary of the conference I've seen. I expected no less, of course.

    I'm struck by the mention of "Green IT" – unless that's referring to Army Green and an echo of Custer's suggestions :) I guess I don't get it; perhaps Grant went into further detail than you could include in a summary, and just meant that certain side-benefits of the Green movement will also serendipitously benefit DoDIIS systems (e.g. more affordable datacenter power at less energy cost). But overall the "green" motivation per se doesn't seem to me to be something that DoDIIS should prioritize all that highly, vice mission performance. It'd be "green" to have biodegradable keyboards and wind-powered aircraft carriers, but they wouldn't work all that well.

  3. Lewis,

    Thanks for the comment. I think the prioritization of Green IT is coming from higher authority– like congressional staff and members and also other parts of the executive branch like Department of Energy and OMB. I think DoDIIS folks are also looking for ways to save money and there is a big hope that by modernizing they can save O&M costs on energy.

    Bob

  4. Frank C. Tannehill says:

    We can't all take part at these events but I for one am thankful that you posted the main discussion topics for all of us to see. Congrats on your presentation and I really hope you'll be here to post about the next DoDIIS Worldwide Conference. Thanks again! __________ Frank Tannehill – <a rel="follow" href="http://www.123-reg.co.uk/&quot; rel="nofollow">domain

  5. Frank C. Tannehill says:

    We can't all take part at these events but I for one am thankful that you posted the main discussion topics for all of us to see. Congrats on your presentation and I really hope you'll be here to post about the next DoDIIS Worldwide Conference. Thanks again!
    __________
    Frank Tannehill – domain

  6. Frank C. Tannehill says:

    We can't all take part at these events but I for one am thankful that you posted the main discussion topics for all of us to see. Congrats on your presentation and I really hope you'll be here to post about the next DoDIIS Worldwide Conference. Thanks again!
    __________
    Frank Tannehill – domain

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