At the beginning of March, I posted a thread on my visit to the USS OAK HILL (LSD 51). After reading a post on a private forum regarding issues associated with an administrative program - Relational Administrative Data Management (R-ADM) –I asked if there was a ship that would like to host me, give me a “day in the life of a JO,” and walk me through some of the administrative programs we currently use on our ships.
USS OAK HILL answered my request and the crew candidly presented the goods, bads, and others on many of the administrative programs they use each day to get the job done.
Since my visit to the USS OAK HILL, I have visited other units and discussed the topic directly with my Type Commanders. I wanted to provide you some of what I have learned.
First, Navy does a very good job of ensuring our networks are resourced, maintained, and secure, but we do not do a very good job of ensuring the applications that run on our networks are fully effective and well-maintained over time. This problem is primarily due to insufficient governance across the many entities associated with the wide variety of Navy applications running on our networks.
For example, when a developer wants to submit an application to be sold on Apple’s iTunes store, it is first sent to a single organization within Apple where it is closely scrutinized to ensure it meets strict stability, usability, and content standards. Only after the application receives certification from Apple can it then be sold to iPhone and iPad users. Although this level of governance does not allow for rapid application deployment, it does ensure all applications meet Apple’s very high standards. After all, Apple knows their customers have other choices they can make.
Navy has a similar governance model for our networks - a single organization that is responsible for the funding and integration of everything network related (OPNAV N2/N6), and one organization that is responsible for network maintenance and security (CYBERFOR).
For applications, Navy’s governance model is much more diffuse, and therefore less effective. Navy’s on-line tools and applications are developed and funded by multiple organizations. Although there is single accountability for an application’s network certification (SPAWAR Systems Command), there are multiple organizations responsible for determining its effectiveness (Functional Area Managers, Type Commanders, etc) and often no organization ensures that their particular application is upgraded as required or replaced down the road.
So what am I doing about it? First, I am going to stay at this. Based on the feedback I’ve received and what I’ve observed, the processes by which we deploy, sustain, and replace the administrative tools in our Fleet are not adequate. I just released my Fleet Sustainment Serial to my Commander’s Guidance that directed each of my Type Commanders to look at their units and identify the on-line applications that need immediate attention. I will also work to establish a far more robust governance model to ensure that the applications meet the quality standards our Fleet requires and that there is a sustainment/replacement plan in place that is fully funded to ensure our tools remain effective.
I would like my next “educational” visit to be to an aviation squadron so I can get a thorough look at all the administrative and maintenance support programs now in use by the aviation community. Any squadron that would like to volunteer (for ease of travel, I’d prefer Norfolk or Oceana), please contact me via my Blog or at (757) 836-3660. All the best, JCHjr