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DOD Publishes New Software Modernization Strategy

The Defense Department Software Modernization Strategy was published Feb. 1.

A soldier works on a laptop.
Network Check
Air Force Staff Sgt. Dakota Hill, a cyber systems operations specialist assigned to the 255th Air Control Squadron, 172d Airlift Wing, Mississippi Air National Guard, checks local network connectivity at a point of distribution site in Theriot, La., Sept. 10, 2021. Hill is part of the Mississippi National Guard’s Hurricane Ida response.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Jovi Prevot
VIRIN: 210910-Z-IX958-1001

Delivering a more lethal force requires the ability to evolve faster and be more adaptable than adversaries, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks said.

The department's adaptability increasingly relies on software and the ability to securely and rapidly deliver resilient software capability. That is a competitive advantage that will define future conflicts, she said.

"Transforming software delivery times from years to minutes will require significant change to our processes, policies, workforce and technology," Hicks said.

A Marine operates communications gear.
Radio Communication
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alex Oley, a field radio operator with Charlie Company, 8th Communication Battalion, conducts a radio communication check during Exercise Cyber Fury 21 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 26, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Armando Elizalde
VIRIN: 210726-M-TP104-1007

The offices of the chief information officer, the undersecretaries of defense for acquisition and sustainment and research and engineering, as well as the software modernization senior steering group are involved in efforts to operationalize the strategy.

The goal, according to the strategy, is to provide cybersecure development, security and operations in software factories, as well as cloud services and faster delivery of software in support of critical data and communications — most notably, Joint All-Domain Command and Control and artificial intelligence.

Deputy Chief Information Officer for Information Enterprise Danielle Metz spoke to Federal News Network about the new strategy. 

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"I don't think it makes a lot of sense to separate software modernization from cloud adoption because it would imply that software could be modernized without cloud. By placing the cloud at the center of the technology enablers of the strategy, it absolutely affirms the importance of cloud and why we want the department to move and migrate to the cloud," she said.

The primary driver of the new strategy, she said, is harnessing the power of cloud computing, being able to build applications continuously, improved cybersecurity, and having "the ability to have technology at the fingertips of our warfighter as opposed to delivering a hardware intensive platform."

The workforce is absolutely critical to the strategy, along with training, business transformation and user buy-in, Metz said.

A woman wearing a military uniform plugs a wire into an electronic network.
Switch Work
Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephanie Dias, a cyber transport systems technician with the 60th Communications Squadron, configures a switch at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., Sept. 23, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexander Merchak
VIRIN: 210923-F-YT028-1021

"If we had all the money in the world to buy the best technology and we had the right processes in place to be able to get the needed technology at the time of consumption, but our workforce and our warfighters did not know how to use the technology to be able to execute their mission, we failed," she said.

Metz said implementation plans for the new strategy will be delivered as early as this summer.

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