May 06 2014

A Vision for Managing $1.6 Trillion Worth of Data

The Defense Department is rethinking how it shares data across the services and components.

Overseeing a $1.62 trillion portfolio of about 150 major defense programs is no easy task.

The sheer size of these complex programs and the data required to manage and analyze them is forcing the Defense Department to rethink how it shares acquisition information among its components.

“If we talk Big Data, it is big data,” said Mark Krzysko, deputy director of enterprise information within DOD’s Office of the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “It is real money. It is big money.

The ultimate goal is to provide data in a transparent format to program mangers, program executive offices and analysts, which Krzysko says will be a journey.

DOD has massive amounts of program administration data, breach data, and contract data, and the department is organizing application programming interfaces, or APIs around the data, Krzysko said during the GITEC 2014 Summit in Baltimore.

“Apps may be the cool things,” he said. “Mashups may be the cool thing, but it’s got to serve us as a department because we are going to be in extreme downward pressures for a while.

“Those pressures aren’t going away anytime soon, even though there is a budget agreement,” he said. The looming threat of sequestration budget cuts is still a concern, and it’s unclear how fiscal 2015 will unfold.

As DOD builds out its data management capabilities, Krzysko said the future for analysts will include the ability to do natural language queries on data they have access and rights to at their workstations, he said. “We’re getting there.”

This kind of query allows users to type in what they need to know using everyday, common language, as opposed to remembering key search terms.

One of Krzysko’s objectives: Make things easier.

Part of that plan includes making acquisition documents more accessible and streamlining the process for approving those documents. Until now, the process has been primarily email-based.

DOD will pilot an electronic collaboration tool for routing its acquisition strategy documents in a timely manner.

“It’s not all about technology but also about processes and policy,” Krzysko said.

<p>Melissa Newman</p>