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ALAMO CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jan 28, 2014
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Speaker Explains Steps Toward JIE

Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, USAF, program executive officer (PEO) for command, control, communications, infrastructure (C3I) and networks, spoke to the chapter in January about the path the U.S. Defense Department is following to build a resilient and defensible Joint Information Environment (JIE). Though his remarks focused heavily on Air Force policy, Gen. Olson noted that the five pillars underlying strategy are virtually the same throughout all the uniformed services: connect, protect, compute/store, share, and command and control (C2) operations. For Maj. Olson, who oversees some 2,200 personnel in several states from Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, the mission is about connecting the warfighter with affordable, secure and war-winning cyber, C3I and network systems. What we really like to focus on in our PEO is lightning bolts—connectivity between and within domains, he said, in reference to terrestrial, air, space and cyber domains. Wars cannot be fought as effectively without the connectivity. But providing that connectivity has been a challenge on at least two fronts: reductions in military funding and the fundamental restructuring of each service’s legacy communication systems into a JIE. Those realities have spurred emphasis on a standards-driven approach to technology—as defined by the Air Force’s chief information officer, Lt. Gen. Mike Basla, and the IT Governance Executive Board that he leads—and a reliance on commercial partners who understand how to do business with the federal government. The initial steps toward a JIE have clustered around policies, processes and roles, which have begun to clarify over the past year, Gen. Olson said. The IT Governance Executive Board has been taking application schedules, matching them with standards and putting them through pipelines, which eventually will culminate in the phasing out of legacy applications and lead to more uniform communication systems throughout the Defense Department. The shift toward government-owned standards and architectures is expected to result in better security, efficiency and innovation, and affordability. Gen. Olson said he is constantly highlighting the need to achieve $750 million in savings or cost avoidance in discussions about C3I and networking technologies. In many ways, that can involve small business contractors, he said, in response to a question from the audience. In fact, Hanscom Air Force Base will host a three-day event this fall designed to improve communication between the Defense Department and small businesses, and most of the PEO goals he outlined in his discussion are small-business targets. Another listener asked how heavily the lowest-priced technology acceptable (LPTA) strategy would continue to be enforced by Gen. Olson’s PEO. “Does anybody like LPTA?” Olson asked, to laughter from a room filled with industry contractors. “Whatever contracting strategy we make for a given effort needs to be the one for that effort. So it depends,” he said, noting that LPTA can become an obstacle to goals if too rigorously applied. “For any contract we approach, feel free to say, I don’t think LPTA would work there, but I would ask that you also be open to acknowledging the times when it is right.”

Event Photographs:

Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, USAF, program executive officer for command, control, communications, infrastructure and networks, discusses the path toward a Joint Information Environment with the chapter in January.
Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, USAF, program executive officer for command, control, communications, infrastructure and networks, discusses the path toward a Joint Information Environment with the chapter in January.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Marla Dial
512.296.7352

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