Fear of the (Technology) Law

May 8, 2012
By Rita Boland

This morning, Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins, Jr., USAF, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), saved everyone the trouble of asking by quickly stating the worries that keep him up at night. The combination of Moore's Law regarding technology advancement every 18 months, Metcalfe's Law stating that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of its connected users and Downe's Law of Disruption is his primary concern, he stated during the opening address of the 2012 DISA Mission Partner Conference. The final law states that though technology changes exponentially, social, political and economic systems change incrementally. To counter that, the military and its partners need to speed up the policy to coincide with technology. The military does a poor job of moving technology to the field and an incredibly poor job of putting the right training into place so warfighters can use it and stay abreast of the latest, Gen. Hawkins said. Moving forward, the focus will be on the words networked and joint, with the goal of enabling mission assurance by providing joint force commanders a networked joint information environment. Enterprise email is another hot topic for DISA, which has migrated hundreds of thousands of users so far. Beyond the current Army migration, other organizations embracing the technology include the Air Force, the Defense Logistics Agency and the Joint Staff, Gen. Hawkins explained. To reach all its goals and overcome the three laws mentioned earlier, the general stated that "We've got to stop being so risk adverse ... It takes risk to get where we need to go."

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