Throughout the year, the U.S. Navy has expedited IT projects, including expanding bandwidth, building new sites for its virtual private networks and shifting to telework. Aaron Weis, U.S. Navy chief information officer and 2020 Wash100 Award recipient, recently stated that the service branch should not revert to IT practices that the Navy used before COVID-19.
“A lot of that process doesn’t add any value,” Weis said. “And … we have very fragmented [command and control] and accountability over our IT infrastructure, which, in normal times makes it very difficult for us to move the needle. COVID in the IT world is kind of the equivalent of wartime powers for IT. We just did it.”
Weis added that faster systems create potential cost savings, so IT leaders can continue the momentum they gained during the pandemic. Throughout COVID-19 the Navy worked to develop a cloud-enabled IT infrastructure, which will contribute to cost savings.
“What that enables you to do is undergo a wholesale transformation for how you deliver a capability, and at the end of that transformation you will be able to retire huge swaths of legacy infrastructure,” Weis said. “And that legacy infrastructure are boat anchors we drag around, that cost us … a lot of money. They expose us from a cybersecurity and risk perspective.”
Moving into 2021, the Navy will work to support its infrastructure to increase endurance. The Navy will also work toward making data more accessible, which will enable better-informed decision-making for commanders.
“The requirement going forward and in the modern world is that we can securely move any information from anywhere to anywhere,” Weis said. “That’s a baseline requirement going forward. And that, while that’s very simple to say, that’s not how our infrastructure and our networks are organized today.”
The U.S. Navy has continually worked to decentralize, differentialize and digitize the service branch’s work as well as develop its talent in the field. As the Navy continues to evolve to meet the growing demands, challenges still remain.
GovConWire will host the Navy: IT Transformation Forum. The event will host notable industry and federal leaders that will discuss the initiatives, efficiencies and challenges the service branch faces.
Featuring Aaron Weis, GovConWire’s Navy: IT Transformation Forum will address the influence of emerging technologies, upcoming budgets and funding, and cybersecurity initiatives that will enable the Navy to become more effective in warfare.