As the chief information officer and an assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service, Karl Mathias spends 75 percent to 80 percent of his time on the day-to-day information technology needs of the agency. In order to focus on developing new technologies, he would rather decrease that time, by leveraging advanced technologies that can help “keep the lights on, so to speak, the circuits alive, and the laptops running, patched and secure.”
Steven Wert, recently named the U.S. Air Force’s Program Executive Officer Digital, is on a mission to fundamentally alter the service’s processes for developing and fielding software through development operations, commonly known as DevOps. The methodology merges software development and technology operations functions, allowing the two to work more closely to reduce the time needed to create new systems. Working closely with the end users is key to what Wert describes as a “release cadence” of weeks or months instead of years.
Up until the digital age, wars involved a limited number of combatants with clear identities battling within distinct boundaries visible on a map. These conflicts ended either with a victor or as a stalemate. But today’s information warfare does not fit this traditional model. Instead, it comprises an unlimited number of potential combatants, many with hidden identities and agendas.
Cyberspace is a theater of operations that is nowhere and everywhere. Within this domain, information warfare will not and in fact cannot come to any conclusion. This conflict closely resembles an incurable disease that can be managed so the patient can lead a productive life but is never completely cured.
The U.S. General Services Administration’s latest endeavor to help government agencies increase their buying power offers a portfolio of providers to simplify the way they acquire and implement telecommunications and IT infrastructure services. According to administration officials, the 15-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract, awarded this summer, will help agencies establish a solid foundation to modernize the government’s IT infrastructure, implement advanced cybersecurity solutions and improve service to the public.
In our real-world, show-and-tell environment, an ability to develop agile software solutions won't guarantee wins in the latest government programs. Companies and individual tech teams must tailor their approaches to meeting customer needs by using open source practices and assuming an agile warrior mindset: a single-minded determination to achieve goals and declare victory on the battlefield of government procurement.
Led by Vice Adm. Herbert A. Browne, USN (Ret.), AFCEA International's former president and CEO, the final panel on Wednesday took on one of the toughest topics yet: fighting through a digital meltdown. But panelists were stand-offish about tackling this topic head on. Instead, they referred to how well prepared the U.S. military is to defend against attacks, how equally dependent adversaries are on technology as well and how warfighters on the tactical edge already are operating without dependable network connectivity. Robert Carey, DON CIO, questioned whether the entire network could be taken down. Today, the military is far better equipped than it ever has been in this arena, he stated.