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Navy Seeks Balance Between Military, Commercial Technologies

February 12, 2014
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Opting for commercial technologies alone is not sufficient in a time of reduced defense budget funding.

The U.S. Navy must “achieve a balance” between using custom information technology and adopting commercial products, according to its chief information officer. Terry Halvorsen, appearing in the Wednesday keynote panel at West 2014 in San Diego, told the audience that this balance must weigh all factors in determining the Navy’s information technology direction.

“We are going to be in a declining resource environment,” Halvorsen said. This will require understanding the value of all data from all aspects. Even cyber, funding for which will increase, also must be balanced.

One solution will be to reduce spending on business information technology to allow funding for operational technology, Halvorsen offered. “We spend a lot of money on business IT [information technology],” he said. “That has to come down.”

The Navy faces hard decisions on which applications it can do without, he added. “We must be ruthless on the business side—‘What do you bring me?’” If a system or software is achieving mission minimums at a good price, then that should be left in place.

Halvorsen warned industry it needs to understand Defense Department processes better. He cited a trend in which industry seems to have less understanding about these processes. Businesses must hire people that can reverse this trend, he offered.

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