>Net-centricity and Enterprise Architecture

>See video on Department of Defense (DoD) vision for Net-Centricity:

http://www.blogger.com/img/videoplayer.swf?videoUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fv14.nonxt8.googlevideo.com%2Fvideoplayback%3Fid%3D6259f916796e74a2%26itag%3D5%26begin%3D0%26len%3D86400000%26app%3Dblogger%26et%3Dplay%26el%3DEMBEDDED%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1270317776%26sparams%3Did%252Citag%252Cip%252Cipbits%252Cexpire%26signature%3D58696B425D5829FB7550DAD75100B02F9A6E5877.39CD43AB83FECBE8E4B24F933A9BAC590B7737CD%26key%3Dck1&thumbnailUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2FThumbnailServer2%3Fapp%3Dblogger%26contentid%3D6259f916796e74a2%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw320%26sigh%3DJ1zfvCBFKzXFemPBXgpvlEyv0PM&messagesUrl=video.google.com%2FFlashUiStrings.xlb%3Fframe%3Dflashstrings%26hl%3Den&nogvlm=1

Source: Department of Defense

>A Net-centric Military and Enterprise Architecture

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Information is central to the Department of Defense’s arsenal for fighting and defeating our enemies and the ability to share information across interoperable systems in the way ahead.

National Defense, March 2008 reports that while a net-centric military is our goal, the transformation is a work in progress.

Brig. Gen. David Warner, director of command and control at DISA stated: “in this war, information is truly our primary weapon. You can’t move, you can’t shoot, if you can’t communicate.”

Yet, “the Defense Department continues to acquire stovepiped systems…the requirements change, the system grows, and then there are cost overruns. One of the first items to cut from the budget is interoperability.”

Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith says, “the dream of a truly net-centric U.S. military will not happen overnight. But progress could be achieved within the next five to 10 years, It will be a matter of waiting for the stovepiped legacy systems to come to the end of their lifespan. If the services get onboard and stop building non-interoperable technologies now, then the new generation of net-centric communications can take over and become the norm.”

This sounds to me like the problem isn’t limited to legacy systems, but that there are still cultural, project management, and change management issues that are obstacles to achieving the net-centric goal.

The challenges are even greater and more complex when it comes to sharing information with “federal civilian agencies and foreign allies…NATO, for example, has no mechanism to ensure its members are interoperable with each other.”

Today the normal way to do business is to ‘exchange hostages’ which means sending personnel from one service, agency, or coalition partner to each other’s command centers so they can verbally relay information.” This typically takes the form of interagency operation command center, and is not very net-centric.

So we continue to have stovepipes for “communications or data sharing systems built by different agencies, armed services, or coalition partners that cannot link to each other…[yet] the U.S. military is trying to make itself more lethal, faster, and more survivable. [And] the key to doing that is the ability to share information.”

Net-centricity, interoperability, and information sharing are true cornerstones to what enterprise architecture is about, and it is where we as architects are needed to take center stage now and in the years ahead in the war on terrorism and the other challenges we will face.

From an EA perspective, we need to ensure that all of our agencies’ targets, transition plans, and IT governance structures not only include, but emphasize net-centricity and enforce it through the EA review processes and the investment review board. There is no excuse for these stovepipes to persist.

>Information Warriors and Enterprise Architecture

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In the digital age, information is critical to decision making. This is the case in the board room as well as on the battle field.

Information superiority is critical to our warfighters ability to intelligently and efficiently defeat our enemies. Many of the Department of Defense‘s modernization initiatives are aimed at getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, there are still some information gaps.

National Defense Magazine, December 2007, reports “troops in digital age, disconnected.”

Apparently, not everyone in the military is getting all the information they need (at least, not yet).

The problem often is described as a ‘digital divide’ between the technology haves—the upper echelons of command—and the have-nots—the platoons and squads that are deployed in remote areas. These small units for the most part are disconnected from the Army’s main tactical networks and only are able to communicate with short-range voice radios…[however,] at the top echelons, commanders can tap into loads of data—maps, satellite images, video feeds, and reams of intelligence reports.”

Often though it is the small units on the front lines that need to send and receive critical information on combatants or other situational updates that can have life and death implications. This is why the net-centric strategy for virtually connecting all units is so important to achieving the vision of true information dominance.

Here are just a few important ways that information can help our warfighting capabilities:

  • Providing information to soldiers to locate enemy combatants (such as from “live video from unmanned aircraft)
  • Enabling location tracking of soldiers to save lives when they are endangered (such as from GPS locators)
  • Sending information updates back to command for coordination and enhancing decision capabilities (such as from streaming voice and video, instant messaging, etc.)

The good news is that there are a lot of new information technologies coming online to aid our military, including the Future Combat Systems (FCS) and Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS).

To ensure the success of these technologies, we need to manage the solutions using enterprise architecture to validate requirements, reengineer the processes, and effectively plan and govern the change.

  1. Requirements management—“how to identify essential needs for information as opposed to providing information indiscriminately”
  2. Business process reengineering—according to Marine Corps. CAPT Christopher Tsirlis “it’s not just about the latest and greatest technology but also changing the organization to use new technology.”
  3. Planning/governance—we need link resources to results;“the technology exists, the question is how we resource it, and what is the right amount for each level.”

With a solid enterprise architecture and innovative technologies, we can and will enable the best information warriors in the world.

>IPv6 and Enterprise Architecture

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Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a network layer for packet-switched internetworks. It is designated as the successor of IPv4, the current version of the Internet Protocol, for general use on the Internet. The main change brought by IPv6 is a much larger address space that allows greater flexibility in assigning addresses. The extended address length eliminates the need to use network address translation to avoid address exhaustion, and also simplifies aspects of address assignment and renumbering when changing providers. (Wikipedia)

IPv6 is an important architecture change.

Government Executive Magazine, May 2008, reports that “Ipv6 upgrades are critical as space available for Internet addresses dwindles.”

Why are we running out of IP addresses on version 4?

IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses and can support 4.3 billion devices with individual addresses on the Internet. With the world’s population estimated to be 6.5 billion—and with many people possessing multiple electronic devices such as PCs, cell phones, and iPods—there simply wil not be enough IPv4 addresses to meet the demand, let alone support the anticipated influx of new Internet users from developing countries. Also on the horizon are newfangled IP-enabled devices and appliances that will drive up the number of IP addresses per person.”

How does IPv6 solve this problem?

“IPv6 used 128-bit addresses and can support a virtually limitless number of globally addressable devices (The actual number is 2 to the 128th power).”

How is the conversion going?

The office of Management and Budget (OMB) has mandated that “By June 30, all federal agencies must prove that they have upgraded their networks’ connections, or backbones, to be capable of carrying IPv6 data traffic.”

Note: “All leading routers can support IPv6.”

A senior vice president for Quest said that “Every North American business and government needs to make the conversion.”

What other benefits does IPv6 offer?

Other benefits include:“built in security, network management enhancements such as auto-configuration and improved support for mobile networks. But in the decade since IPv6 was created, many of the extra features have been added to IPv4. So, the real motivator…is that it offers unlimited IP address space.”

The most savings, however, will come from the new applications and services that IPv6 will provide.”

The Department of Defense “needs IPv6 to make its vision of netcentric warfare (the ability to tie together networks and sensors to deliver a stream of integrated real-time data to the battlefield and commanders) a reality…with IPv6, ‘everything can be addressable from a soldier to a sensor to an aircraft to a tank…we could have a sensor network with hundreds of thousands of nodes.”

IPv6 is important, but what other network initiatives underway is it competing with?

  • The Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) initiative—aims to “reduce the number of external connectivity points that workers use to gain access to the internet.”
  • Networx—“a telecommunications contract that agencies are supposed to use to select a new carrier by September.”

On the Federal side, what needs to be architected next for IPv6?

“Federal IT managers should begin reserving IPv6 address space, developing an addressing plan, and creating a migration strategy that includes extensive product testing and evaluation. So far 37 agencies have requested IPv6 adress space from the American Registry for Internet Numbers.”

>DoD Enterprise Architecture

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In a world where information superiority can mean battlefield victory, enterprise architecture is critical to military transformation and execution.

Military Information Technology, 11 February 2008, reports “Enterprise Architecture: Key to Netcentricity.”

http://www.military-information-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=2328

Why is EA important in general:

“An actionable EA provides organizational leaders information sufficient to make enterprise plans, investment resource and management decisions, and to optimize key operational and support processes.”

Why is EA important to The Department of Defense?

The warfighter relies on information superiority to sense a threat, decide on a course of action, and execute faster than the enemy. This is not much different than survival in America’s Wild West years ago, by those who had the fastest [gun] draw.

Today, “The OODA [observe, orient, decide, act] loop is a ‘sense and respond’ cycle driven by actionable data and information for superior information management, battlespace awareness, and operational decision-making…when organizational components use rich and timely information, dramatically improved battlespace operations effectiveness can be realized…the single unifying approach that delivers the needed information and insight is enterprise architecture.”

What is netcentricity?

Netcentricity or “network-centric operations (NCO) enables military forces to anticipate and adapt rapidly to changes in the environment such as enemy warfare tactics. NCO touches all aspects of department operations and, by integrating organizational networks and information, enables enhanced warfare operations effectiveness. NCO is enabled through dramatic changes in mindsets, processes, IT and access to information and networks.”

“An actionable EA is critical to the DoD realizing netcentric capabilities.”

Unfortunately DoD is struggling to implement actionable EA. The General Accountability Office (GAO)…in 2006 found that the EA programs of the departments of the Air Force, Navy, and Army were among the four most immature EA programs within the government.

What does DoD need to advance their EA?

GAO found that “strong executive leadership could resolve all the challenges organizations experienced in developing and using actionable EA capabilities.”

Transformational leaders in DoD will provide the “vision, integrity, communication, inspiration, and empowerment.” And they “empower organizational members with human, material, and financial resources to accomplish the vision.”

EA cannot be achieved without management commitment and adequate resources!

What about the DoD leaders who say that EA cannot be implemented “because the organization is too complex”?

This thinking is sort of ironic, because EA is what captures information, analyzes and catalogues it, and serves it up to the end-users to enable better decision-making. EA is what simplifies information and makes it transparent enabling strategic transformation and the realization of netcentric capabilities.

EA is exactly what DoD needs for evaluating itself, planning its future state, and transitioning itself to achieve its goals of battlespace superiority through information superiority.

“Implementing an actionable EA capability can take up to five years and requires…[DoD leaders need to] focus on long-term performance improvements,” through enterprise architecture implementation.

>Information Sharing Best Practices

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There are currently two major federal best practices for information sharing: Netcentricity and the Information Sharing Environment.

The Department of Defense (DoD) adopted a Netcentric Strategy in May 2003.

  • Netcentricity—Netcentricity seeks to ensure data visibility, availability, and usability to accelerate decision-making. This includes data tagging (metadata), posting data to shared spaces, and enabling the many-to-many exchange of data (i.e. many users and applications can access the same data instead of point-to-point interfaces). Netcentricity is the realization of a networked environment.
  • Global Information Grid (GIG)—The GIG is a globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes and personnel for collecting, processing, storing, disseminating and managing information on demand to warfighters, policy makers, and support personnel. The GIG includes all owned and leased communications and computing systems and services, software, data, security services and other associated services necessary to achieve information superiority.

Netcentricity is a strategy for sharing information. As the DoD strategy states: The data strategy is to “shift from private data to community or Enterprise data as a result of increased data “sharing” in the netcentric environment. Tagging, posting, and sharing of data are encouraged through the use of incentives and metrics.” (adapted from DoD Net-Centric Strategy from defense.link.mil, public site)

In 2004, the concept of Netcentricity was extended to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)’s Information Sharing Environment with the passing of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA).

  • Information Sharing Environment (ISE)The IRTPA requires the President to establish an ISE “for the sharing of terrorism information in a manner consistent with national security and with applicable legal standards relating to privacy and civil liberties” and the IRTPA defines the ISE to mean “an approach that facilitates the sharing of terrorism information.”

The ISE seeks to “facilitate trusted partnerships among all levels of government, the private sector, and foreign partners…[and to] promote an information sharing culture among partners by facilitating the improved sharing of timely, validated, protected, and actionable terrorism information.” (adapted from Information Sharing Environment Implementation Plan from ISE.gov, public site)

Both Net-centricity and ISE are best practices at increasing information sharing to improve and speed up decision-making and protect our nation and its citizens!

  • As the DoD Net-Centric Strategy states: “the core of the net-centric environment is the data that enables effective decisions.”
  • And similarly, in the ISE Implementation Plan, we read, “the highest priority in creating the ISE must be on facilitating, coordinating and expediting access to protected terrorism information.”

In User-centric EA, information sharing, as appropriate, is one of the primary goals of the architecture. Information is one of the six perspectives (performance, business, information, services, technology, and security, and a seventh to be added is human capital) of the EA. The primary principal of the Information perspective is information sharing and accessibility. Further, the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Data Reference Model (DRM) is driven by the enablement of sharing information across the federal government and to its partners. The methodology is as follows:

  • Consistently describe data (via metadata)
  • Register the data (to make it discoverable)
  • Develop standards for the exchange of data (to enable interoperability and accessibility)
  • Provide sound governance (including data policy and stewardship).

User-centric EA is driven to fulfill the vision of Net-centricity and ISE.