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In this BLOG (Budget Impact on Developing COTS Systems) and in the December 2012, Incoming article by Paul Strassmann (Implementing the Defense Dpartment Cloud Computer Strategy Poses New Challenges); one key capability is being missed. Both articles mention issues related to the supplanting of 'legacy' systems throughout the DoD; both leaning towards COTS solutions as the viable means for solving the issue. I would propose a radical, viirtually cost-free solution and use capabilities we have. For instance, most 'legacy' systems needing replacement are database systems that could readily be replaced by a internally developed database using the listings wizards available in SharePoint (SP). Now this is predicated on the factor that the DoD (for that matter the entire federal government) should develop a top-down concept for developing their SP environments; this will allow for development of a centralized data repository (when a new field of generally used information is required, it would be added at the top level so all below would have access to the information field). This would allow for all subordinate levels (per their allowed permissions) to build views of data they need to distribute for their work; it would also prevent our current aspect of having multitudes of systems which all store variances of the same information. It would also allow for autonomous updating of information across the spectrum and would provide easily adaptable information access development. This concept would readily adapt to the current move towards cloud-based environments and due to the nature of multi-layered security built into SP, it is as secure an environment as we could expect to have (especially considring the recent gains in cloud-based assurance/certification endeavors). The only problems with enacting this type of concept lies in the various Federal Codes which would have to dramatically change to allow for enaction; for instance, in relation to the DoD, Title 10 should be adapated to formally permit development of DoD-wide systems instead of the current Service requirements being individually responsible for training and equipping their specified forces. A side benefit of this Code change would be to eliminate the need for separate acquisition communities allowing for even more significant cost savings. The more we develop this data-sharing capability, the more all aspects of the government will be able to benefit from cost-savings. As far as security is concerned; although the nay-sayers will note that 'all your eggs will be oin one basket' the preverbial basket will have the security support needed by combining the current segmented security endeavors into one common infrastructure. Additionally, if we evolve say 100+ systems we are currently attempting to secure into just one, we can spend all needed security resources towards ensuring no unauthorized access is granted.

By Rick Heibel