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US Navy PEO for C4I: An update for the enterprise technologist

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In September, the US Navy executive in charge of major IT programs (the Program Executive Officer or PEO for Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Intelligence) RDML Jerry Burroughs published his 2013-2018 PEO C4I Strategic Plan (available here).  It’s worth a read.  The main focus is on how to achieve efficiencies and savings and I believe we will see some restructuring to strengthen the programs Navy cares most about – such as CANES (the common computing environment for Navy ships), which is moving from development to full deployment.

A renewed emphasis will be placed on reducing variation among platform baselines.  During the hectic boom years of deploying rapid solutions to two war-fronts at once, multiple designs were able to slip through the acquisition process.  Getting the needed capability where it was required often trumped the “wet-blanket” of configuration control.

Consolidating these multiple baselines is basically free money at a time when every penny counts.  RDML Burroughs is realigning his organization to help accomplish this.  The current Organization Chart is here:

Pat Sullivan, the Executive Director for PEO C4I, is in charge of this process.  Captain Kadowaki, PMW 760 and CAPT Seigenthaler, PMW 750, will perform ruthless scrutiny on existing and planned programs with a keen eye to streamlining configurations.  That job has always been important and has never been an easy one, but now it’s particularly daunting as the Navy cleans up after a decade of “need it now” deployments.   Next summer, CDR Andrew Gibbons will join PMW 760 as his Deputy.  Andy comes from the CANES program.  He has also served as Director of Fielding for an S&T capability forward deployed to a theater of operations.  He’s the perfect fit to try to help bring these pieces together.

Ensuring that this occurs without hampering the delivery of capabilities to the warfighter is the function of Charlie Suggs, Deputy of Technical Direction and Program Integration.  Charlie is an Engineer with a strong background in Standards and Architectures.  He will be working with CAPT DJ LeGoff, PMW 160, Tactical Networks (stuff on ships), to get this done.

RDML Burroughs last week announced several more upcoming changes in his structure that will go into effect next summer.  Mr. Steven Bullard will move from PMW 740 to Information Assurance and Cyber Security Program Management Office (PMW 130).  Steve knows first had the frustrations of getting the alignment wrong. He worked on Global Command and Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M) program, which was “Joint-Ized” up to DISA into the Net-Enabled Command Capability (NECC) program.  After years and millions of dollars, NECC was eventually terminated and the responsibilities for the “M” piece moved back to the Fleet – a full circle waste of time and money.

Ms. Carol Kim will relieve Steve in the International C4I Integration Program Management Office (PMW 740).  After years in the Joint Tactical Radio (JTRS) and the Defense Message System (DMS) programs (two immensely complicated programs that have thrived, died, and been reborn from the ashes several times), I’m sure she will welcome the chance to work on something new.  The International work poses to be a big growth area in the next few years as we move some work out of DoD and onto the shoulders of willing and capable allies and coalition partners.

To get a good sense of what’s really happening in the near Navy future at PEO C4I, compare the Strategic Plan (the Commanders Intent) with the PEO C4I Master Plan (Version 6.0 dtd 7AUG2012) (what the Engineers think they are working on) with the actual Navy Budget.   We will see some of the details emerge as program and funding realignments that will impact us all.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.