Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly issues his weekly Vector message to the Department of the Navy workforce on Fridays. Below is the text of each Vector, the most recent appearing first.
Revisit this NavyLive blog each week for the latest SECNAV Vector.
Vector 11 – Feb. 11, 2020: Information Management
Very shortly after I left the military and transitioned to the private sector, I learned one of my greatest lessons in business. I was working as the lead corporate development executive for an aviation service company and I traveled all over the country evaluating other companies as potential acquisition candidates for my firm. During this process, someone told me of a nearly foolproof indicator that I should always assess before making a determination as to whether the business I was visiting was healthy and a good candidate to be acquired: the quality of the employee bathroom.
I quickly learned that this advice was profound because the condition of that bathroom invariably told the story of what management thought about their employees – and what the employees thought about their management. A dirty, unkept employee bathroom indicated that neither felt positively about the other. It was a cultural sign that took precedence for me regardless of the many other factors I evaluated in the business itself.
As our entire economy has evolved over the last several decades into one that is highly dependent upon information, I believe a new standard has emerged alongside the “employee bathroom test” to help determine the health of an organization. That new standard is just as visibly measured as bathroom quality. The quality, or lack thereof, is the information technology that is provided for employees to do their jobs. Therefore, across the Department of the Navy (DON), we must recognize that advanced information management, digital modernization, and the technology tools that enable them, must be elevated as core strategic priorities. They will ultimately help define the long-term cultural health of our organization.
Cybersecurity, data strategy and analytics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing have all combined to create massive opportunities and vulnerabilities across our entire enterprise. A critical element of mission readiness is our ability to access agile, reliable, and secure global communications and information, from the network enterprise to the tactical edge. We cannot lag behind our global competitors in providing the technology standards, networks, and tools for YOU to be able to perform your mission with greater speed, accuracy, visibility, and connectivity.
That is why we consolidated Department-wide information management strategy and functions into a restructured and empowered Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) led by Mr. Aaron Weis. Mr. Weis left a successful career as CIO in the private sector because he was drawn to our mission and he likes big challenges. He came to the right place! Under his leadership, the DON is executing a unified vision driving transformation and operational capability. If we are going to win tomorrow’s fights, we must ensure operationally relevant information is in the right hands, at the right time. We need all hands on deck to execute the following three lines of effort of our new Information Management Strategy:
Modernize – We will modernize the DON infrastructure from its current state of fragmented, non-performant, outdated, and indefensible architectures to a unified, logical modern infrastructure capable of delivering information advantage. We will design a performant, defendable cloud-enabled, network leveraging robust identity management.
Innovate – We will use technologies like 5th Generation wireless and Artificial Intelligence to maximum effectiveness, and field new operational capabilities. We will create Digital Innovation Centers to accelerate software development and leverage best practices in the private sector and industry to fuel our digital transformation.
Defend – We will employ continuous active monitoring across the enterprise to increase cyber situational awareness and institute a security culture where a personal commitment to cybersecurity is required to gain access to the network. We will transform the compliance centered culture to one where security is constant readiness. We will work with our defense industrial base partners to secure naval information regardless of where it resides.
These efforts will be led by the Office of the CIO, but their effective implementation depends upon each of us. Our command of the informational commons must be no less a priority than the lethality of our weapons. Without it, our naval force will be unable to deliver what the American taxpayers deserve – and those in uniform on our Navy and Marine Corps team rightfully demand.
You have my commitment that we will improve our technology and tools to a standard that is visibly recognizable, and comparable to what would be expected of any great organization operating in the Information Age. But I ask that you – every Sailor, Marine, and civilian – take seriously your own role as a guardian of the digital information you have, and will have at your fingertips. Everyone in the DON enterprise must become a Cyber Sentry. The more advanced we become as an Information-Based organization, the more our adversaries will seek to attack and exploit us in this domain. We will not be able to stop them unless everyone does their part to protect the advantages digital information provides, and limit the vulnerabilities it creates.
Go Navy, and as always, Beat Army!