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Now May Be the Time for Defense Department Enterprise Email

April 1, 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

Email is the most attractive application for leading to implementation of a Defense Department enterprise-wide strategy. Email features are generic and functionally identical. It is shared across all components. It is mature. A shared directory of addresses and the security requirements are identical and do not require innovation. Implementing email as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) by an organization such as the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) would offer immediate cost reductions of at least 50 percent. This would serve as a precedent for similar enterprise-wide efforts that could follow.

The Defense Department Has Its Information Systems Strategy--Now What?

March 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

We now have the U.S. Defense Department information technology enterprise strategy and roadmap. The new direction calls for an overhaul of policies that guide the department’s information systems. Yet, implementation is a challenge, and several issues require the reorientation of how the Defense Department manages information technologies.

The Key to Cutting Information Technology Costs

February 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

The adoption of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) has opened up new opportunities for reducing information technology costs. Now, the U.S. Defense Department must enter this option into its planning.

Listen Carefully ... Computers Now Can Understand What You Say

January 2012
By Paul A. Strassmann, SIGNAL Magazine

A smartphone that engages in conversations is the next perturbation that will dictate how the U.S. Defense Department needs to revise its information management practices. The effects of this new technology will reverberate from individual communications protocols all the way to data architectures.

Imagine What Might Be Possible

December 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

You may remember that old New Orleans house I mentioned in a previous column and its ongoing renovation that so closely matches the process of upgrading legacy federal information technology systems. The house was built in 1890, by true artisans, with thick plaster walls, joists made out of solid red pine or cypress, a slate roof, ornate ironwork, thick wooden floors, nine monstrous fireplaces and all the supporting brickwork that was certainly made for beauty, functionality and durability. However, it was not made for wireless networks, sound systems or any other type of technology innovation.

In Contracting, a Desire for Efficiency Can Cloud Clarity

November 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

The word transparency is used in many different places but with different results. Transparency is what we want in Congress, friendships, relationships and processes, as well as in city council meetings, school board decisions, neighborhood association rules and acquisition strategies. However, in today’s world, very few things are opaque—particularly when it comes to the process of government procurement. What should be an extremely transparent process remains one of the most coveted havens of secrecy, power and waste, and we all pay the price.

Manage Expectations, or They Will Manage You

September 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

This is as simple as a tale of two airports.

Security for Security's Sake Is Just Going Through the Motions

August 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

Last year, as the April 15 tax deadline approached, I realized that I did not have my W-2 statement from the Navy Reserve. I knew it was no problem because all of that information was “easily” available at MY-PAY online. That was simple—“simple” being a very relative term—when I had a Common Access Card (CAC) and reader. However, as a retired 0-6 without a CAC, there was no “simple” button available to make this process work.

Partnership Is a Two-Way Street, and No One Should Claim Right of Way

July 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

We want partners—not vendors.” All of the government-industry days, procurement updates or program reviews offer the constant call for industry to “be our partner, bring us innovation; work with us to enhance the capability for the warfighter or the ultimate end user.” Yet, partnership is a two-way street. Partnership involves communication, open and transparent management of expectations, honest relationships and decisions that allow both sides to manage their requirements. Partnership is not just a word. It takes work to achieve win-win situations—for each side to treat the other with respect and to make good decisions quickly to minimize cost for both sides.

It's the Process, Stupid—or Is It the Stupid Process?

June 2011
By Capt. Joseph A. Grace Jr., USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

A week ago, I spent three nights in the hospital with my 17-year-old son, who was suffering from severe headaches and uncontrolled nausea. One test after another revealed nothing, and we ended up with a diagnosis of, “Get him some rest, keep something down and hydrate him with IVs [intravenous fluids], and we’ll see.” Needless to say, his dad—a trained submarine nuclear officer and former chief information officer of Navy Medicine—was ready to stand the watch in the hospital. “Get him some rest and fluids…”—a simple assignment—or so it seemed.

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