Defense 2014: Year of strategies and women

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The Defense Department is no stranger to change and conflict, but this year proved to be a doozy even by Pentagon standards.

From the January release of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy to its strategies for mobility devices, cloud computing, cyber workforce, the post-Afghanistan offset and Asia-Pacific pivot, as well as a new strategic plan for the Defense Information Systems Agency and the recent innovation strategy, the Pentagon spent much of 2014 strategizing about the future.

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Defense Department Acting CIO Terry Halvorsen, speaking Nov. 6 at the 2014 FedTalks conference in Washington, D.C., said the biggest challenge for IT and information sharing is not technological but cultural. (Credit: FedScoop).

In late April, DOD lost its two most senior IT officials within a few weeks of each other. Principal Deputy CIO Rob Carey was forced out in April, followed by CIO Teri Takai on May 2. Takai’s departure followed a shake-up in the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer and the transfer of responsibility for the department’s business IT systems from DCMO to Takai’s office.

Questions about what the management shake-up might mean for DOD’s major IT strategies, particularly its cloud policy, were quickly answered when former Navy CIO Terry Halvorsen stepped into the acting CIO role for DOD. Halvorsen soon made it clear that he was not happy with DOD’s cloud policy and moved forcefully to revitalize the effort.

“We have not moved out into the cloud fast enough,” he said in September. “One of the things we’re going to change to give us more opportunities to move faster is to let the military departments do their own acquisitions of the cloud services and not have to funnel that through one agency.”

Halvorsen released the revamped cloud policy in November. The bottom line on the new approach, Halvorsen told FedScoop, is to get to the cloud faster by distributing the contracting work, and saving money by forcing industry to offer cloud services for a price less than what it would cost the Pentagon’s own network provider, the Defense Information Systems Agency, to provide the same services.

Beyond issuing a few strategy documents, DOD did manage to register other accomplishments, namely in the realm of diversity. In April, the Navy named Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, making her the first woman in U.S. naval history to take command of a numbered fleet.

Four months later, Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy, made history a second time when she became the first woman promoted to admiral in the service’s 239-year history.

Big Story of 2014

Inside the Halvorsen strategy for DOD information sharing

By Dan Verton · Monday, Nov. 10, 2014 · 1:31 p.m.

Read more of our 2014 wrap-up coverage:

2014 Year-in-Review: Big names and big stories

Federal IT acquisition 2014: A year of reform

2014 forges a new, more comfortable relationship with cloud for government

Congress 2014: The year of unfinished business

Cybersecurity 2014: The battle for mindshare

FAA 2014: From UAS integration to NextGen

The FCC’s 2014 in the spotlight may be just the beginning

Health IT 2014: The push toward interoperable data

Patent and Trademark 2014: The downfall of a teleworking leader

Veterans Affairs 2014: The Year of Being Held Accountable

Federal workforce 2014: Hiring millennials and closing the STEM skills gap

White House 2014: Departures, digital service and Google

-In this Story-

Defense Department, Departments