Welcome!

Python Authors: Pat Romanski, Matt Davis, AppDynamics Blog, Donald Meyer, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Important Observations on Pentagon IT from Arthur Herman and John Scott

By

techlandingToday’s Wall Street Journal carries an opinion piece by Arthur Herman and John Scott on the state of IT procurement in the Pentagon. I’m glad they selected WSJ for this piece, since changing the Pentagon system requires awareness and action by a broad range of actors, not just those on the inside or around the DC beltway.

John is a friend known for his focused thought and disciplined writing. He is a pioneer of new concepts and a leader in the open source community. I trust his observations on just about any topic, but found this piece to be especially important.

Here is a few excerpts:

Today’s Pentagon is losing its most important battle, the one for its own future.

The problem is how the Pentagon goes about acquiring the IT and software that modern weapons systems need. If this problem doesn’t get fixed, any hope of building a 21st-century American military will be doomed.

For example, the Air Force’s Oracle ORCL -0.32% -based Expeditionary Combat Support System was supposed to be ready in October 2013. Having spent $1 billion already, it needed another $1 billion just to get to one-quarter functionality by 2020. ECCS was supposed to automate the Air Force’s management of parts and equipment. This inherent complexity of the acquisitions process effectively killed ECCS and led to the rampant cost overruns that also killed the Navy’s DDG1000 destroyer late last year.

The Pentagon acquires IT and software-based systems the way it buys aircraft carriers—as if they were physical items to be forged or welded or mass-produced. The standard procurement cycle is geared around multiyear milestones and intensive evaluation reviews that can take months or years.

The modern software development cycle, by contrast, moves in weeks, days and even hours—because software is a malleable digital item whose only limits are the human imagination.

The DOD’s current acquisition strategy hasn’t caught up or caught on. By treating software as if it were a product instead of a process, our military services are shutting themselves off from the kind of cost-efficient innovation that rules in the commercial software and IT industries. Amazon, for example, can make over 30 changes a week to its portal, from adding simple code changes to new complex features, without a major glitch. Our service personnel know this only too well, when they see how their children’s videogames work better and have more sophisticated apps than the electronic gear they have to use in the field—and at a fraction of the cost.

The Pentagon has tried to go around the problem by buying off-the-shelf software for some systems. But that only postpones the inevitable frustration when it comes time to design software that can integrate those commercial products into warfighting systems. This is what happened when the Air Force tried to create the Expeditionary Combat Support System, which ended up as a $2 billion boondoggle.

Instead, the Pentagon needs a modern software and IT acquisition process that’s as flexible, agile and open-ended as software itself—one that’s geared for Moore’s Law (computing power doubles every 18 months) and Butter’s Law (network capacity costs get halved every nine months) instead of Murphy’s Law.

For the full article see:

Send in the Tech Reinforcements: The military’s system for acquiring software is geared less for Moore’s Law than for Murphy’s.

Thanks John and Arthur for having the smarts and the courage and sense of what is right on these topics. Please keep up the great writing on this topic.

And to my many friends in DoD working IT issues, please understand pieces like this can be empowering to your activities. You know better than most that changes are needed, and your ideas on how to improve things can help drive that change.

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of CTOvision.com

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...