DoD Publishes A New Digital Modernization Strategy


The DoD recently published their Digital Modernization Strategy, which also serves as the Department’s Information Resource Management (IRM) Strategic Plan, for FYs 19-23. The strategy puts forth a number of goals and objectives, while also setting forth the priorities for the DoD’s CIO. These goals, objectives, and priorities all co-align with the central vision of creating “a more secure, coordinated, seamless, transparent, and cost-effective IT architecture that transforms data into actionable information and ensures dependable mission execution in the face of a persistent cyber threat.”

The four priorities for the DoD CIO are: (1) Cybersecurity; (2) Artificial Intelligence (AI); (3) Cloud; and (4) Command, Control, and Communications (C3). These priorities then guide the mission for each of the four goals set forth in the strategy: (1) Innovate for Competitive Advantage; (2) Optimize for Efficiencies and Improved Capability; (3) Evolve Cybersecurity for an agile and Resilient Defense Posture; (4) Cultivate Talent for a Ready Digital Workforce.

The Department’s Digital Modernization Strategy aligns with the numerous high-level guidance to meet the DoD CIO priorities.  Within its vision, the strategy highlights closer collaboration among DoD, its industry partners, and non-DoD mission partners to help DoD decision makers understand where IT investments should focus and how to enable better solutions. The strategy further calls for a shift within the Department, as the DoD CIO will now oversee Department IT budget requests and modernization efforts with a comprehensive management system including both annual and multi-year processes. The thought is that this shift will allow for modernization to be done in a common, coordinated way.

Source: DoD Digital Modernization Strategy: FY 19-13

Within each goal listed, there are multiple objectives for that goal, as well as strategy elements which describe the specific initiatives needed to accomplish that objective. For the full list of goals and objectives see the DoD Digital Modernization Strategy document linked here.

Source: DoD Digital Modernization Strategy: FY 19-13

Another focus of the document was on DoD IT Modernization through the Joint Information Environment (JIE). The JIE is a framework comprised of initiatives that are developed and delivered to continue on the vision of modernizing and advanced DoD IT in a common, coordinated way. The JIE implements a new joint cybersecurity capability, improves networking capabilities for fixed and mobile users, institutes several new DoD-wide IT services, modernizes technology through coordinated refresh efforts, meets mission partner information sharing requirements, and improves access to data. JIE also includes deployed tactical components designed to work with core JIE infrastructure and can operate autonomously, should connectivity to the core JIE be lost or denied. As a subset of JIE framework, DoD IT reform activities are focused on realizing cost savings and gaining efficiencies through the Department. The initial areas of execution for IT reform include: Network and service optimization reform; Cloud and data center optimization reform; Enterprise collaboration/IT tools reform; and License consolidation reform.

Lastly the strategy focused on cybersecurity, through the Cybersecurity Reference Architecture (CRSA), which will allow for Command and Control, Situational Awareness, Defensive Cyberspace Operations-Internal Defensive Measures, and an increased cybersecurity throughout the DoD Information Network. The strategy states that security will be automated to the maximum extent possible, and secure cloud operations will be achieved through on-going, integrated cybersecurity operations that support rapid incident response and predictive mitigations. The result of implementing these cybersecurity protections will be that:

  • The DoDIN – to include the data on the network – is defended as a virtual single information environment through common processes and capabilities
  • Cyberspace-defenses sense and respond to external and internal threats and take appropriate remediation, mitigation, and restoration actions
  • Command and control of the forces that operate on the DoDIN is supported by shared cybersecurity situational awareness of the network as a whole
  • IT security findings are shared and reused throughout the Department to the greatest extent practical
  • DoD delivers an assured cloud computing environment capable of ensuring continued mission execution in the face of advanced persistent threats
  • Control systems that underpin all aspects of the DoD Information Enterprise and operational assets are resilient to cyber exploitation

Click here to read the full Digital Modernization Strategy.

Topics: Acquisition, Cyber, Defense Department

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