Monday, September 26, 2011

Status Report on DoD Architectures

The availability of enterprise architectures is essential. It is the foundation for assuring that modernization can take place at the pace of progress in information technology. Systems architectures are necessary to guide the transformation of knowledge-intensive organizations towards greater efficiency and effectiveness. Without the well-defined enterprise architecture it is unlikely that DoD will transform its business, war-fighting and intelligence processes to meet the rising information needs.

The presence of systems architectures has been recognized as the keystone for assuring the success of public and commercial organizations. The extent of completion and operational uses of such architectures can be seen as an indicator of the competence of a systems organization. Working architectural blue prints can be used as one of the proofs of capabilities to manage enterprise systems.

The GAO report of September 2011 (GAO-11-902) offers a report on the current status of DoD enterprise architectures. These were divided into 59 “core elements”, which were then arranged according to a seven stage progression towards actionable guidance how to organize implementation.
The scope of the GAO report was defined as consisting of 2,324 systems. $38 billion has been requested in FY12 to support this effort.

DoD operates under a “federated” architectural framework. Under this construct several separate and distinct architectures are acceptable as long that each conforms to an overarching enterprise level master design. In the DoD context this means that there is a comprehensive OSD level architecture within which Army, Air Force and Navy must structures their respective architectures for enterprise-wide compliance.  This would include features such as network interoperability and data interchangeability.

Although DoD components declare they operate in a federated mode, there is no OSD master in place. Individual component architectural plans are only partially complete. The respective plans are not comparable and therefore cannot be classified as a part of a federated DoD framework.

Using a “stages of maturity” scale GAO found that, on the average, DoD components would meet architectural planning requirements in only 10% of the cases. In 42% of the cases DoD components would be only partially compliant. In 48% of the cases there was no architecture that could be applied as guidance for systems implementation.

SUMMARY
GAO concluded that neither the Air Force or the Army or the Navy have the requisite directions for transforming their information management processes. They do not have the structure for modernizing the supporting infrastructure to minimize overlap as well as to maximize interoperability. They do not have a fully developed plan that would guide information technology spending for achieving major cost savings.

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