CIOs Argue Enterprise Email

May 9, 2012
By Rita Boland

Technology leaders in the military services all seem to agree on the need for better governance, increased efficiencies and working together. That is, until they get into specifics. The U.S. Defense Department chief information officer (CIO) panel at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Mission Partner Conference this morning heated up quickly as representatives from the different services argued over what was necessary in the military information technology world and why. The discussion became especially lively as it turned to enterprise email. Teri Takai, the department's CIO, and Michael Krieger, the deputy CIO/G-6 of the U.S. Army both touted the benefits of enterprise email and their desire to move it forward. The Army is back on track with its program and plans to be migrated fully by March 2013. However, Brig. Gen Kevin Nally, USMC, director, C-4/CIO of the Marine Corps, said that Marines will not be moving to accounts. Period. The Marines already operate an enterprise email system internally and would save no money by moving to a larger Defense Department-wide version of the technology. In addition, Marines are not interested in losing their identity on their emails or even really receiving emails from addresses that fail to identify senders' organizations. He followed that up with a more dramatic announcement that "We're developing a plan to get off email right now." Instead, Corps leadership will encourage Marines to call each other to pass information. "We think it will save us money, too," Gen. Nally added. Terry Halvorsen, CIO, Department of the Navy (DON), contributed to the conversation as well, saying that at this point he does not advocate a migration to the enterprise either because there is no cost benefit. "I don't expect the DON to go down that road," he stated.

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