Navy consolidating business systems through frequently updated plan

The Navy undersecretary is rolling out a business operations strategy to focus the Department of the Navy on the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy and scrap any excess efforts.

Navy Undersecretary Thomas Modly said the current mess of business systems opens the Navy up to all kinds of issues around data integrity, data fidelity, audit issues and cybersecurity.

The business operations plan will create a long-term vision for the systems and how to handle those issues.

“We’ve developed this plan and it lays out milestones in 6, 12, 18, 24 month increments that we are going to hold people accountable for driving,” Modly said Thursday during a breakfast with reporters in Washington. “One big piece of that is the business systems piece of it. We have literally thousands of business systems in the Navy and there is no strategy right now for consolidating it down to something reasonable.”

The plan comes about six months after Modly consolidated DoN’s management undersecretary and chief information officer positions under his purview. The new strategy is part of Modly’s responsibility as chief management officer.

“Don’t look for a perfect document here. As long as we know where we are, we can start improving,” Modly said. “It’s a living document, but at least people now have a plan and a roadmap to see where we are headed.”

The plan will look at what DoN is doing now and make sure it pairs with the three lines of effort laid out in the National Defense Strategy:

  • Build a more lethal force;
  • Strengthen alliances and attract new partners;
  • Reform the department for greater performance.

The rest, Modly said, will be stripped from DoN.

One thing the DoN is keeping in mind is the fact that the deputy defense secretary is also reforming its business operations. Modly said DoN needs to stay aligned with DoD’s efforts and put those above any DoN reforms.

The DoN hopes the plan will be a communication tool for industry, contractors and consultants to give DoN feedback and understand how to align their services to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Elevating management of the audit

As the DoD gears up to deliver its first ever financial audit, DoN is one large part of that effort.

For that reason, Modly elevated the management of the audit.

“In my experience … it becomes a very stovepiped approach that’s not successful,” Modly said. “Most of the weaknesses we have in DoN are not necessarily owned by the financial management vertical. They are enterprise problems.

Modly said once DoN receives the results of its audit in November, it will focus on the top three-to-five major issues to solve rather than trying to cast a wide net.

Chief data officer

For a year, DoN has considered creating a chief data officer post. The two services under DoN collect more physical data in a day than all the information in the Library of Congress.

“We are looking at that. I have a person within my chief management office who owns the data strategy,” Moldy said. “We are looking at how the chief data officer integrates with the Digital Warfare Office that the chief of naval operations set up. The Digital Warfare Office is more focused on the warfighting mission, whereas my team is more focused on the business mission side, but those two areas are not mutually exclusive. We have to figure out a way to insure those two things are aligned because data used in one area is crucial for data used in another area.”

The Navy fielded criticism in the past for dragging its feet on the creation of a chief data officer.

The DoN told Federal News Radio last year it recognized the value of data and is excited about the prospect of a chief data officer, but it seems the position is still not ready for establishment.

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