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Information Enterprise Modernization Is an Important DOD Priority, Official Says

Cloud adoption, software modernization, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are paramount to all Defense Department missions, the acting deputy chief information officer for the Information Enterprise said. 

A soldier sets up a satellite dish.
Satellite Setup
A soldier from 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, sets up a satellite terminal at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 2, 2022.
Photo By: Army Capt. Detrick Moore
VIRIN: 220202-A-A4468-2001A

Lily Zeleke spoke today at a Worldwide Technology and Intel-hosted event. 

"Our ability to deliver information at resilience and speed, as well as [delivering] secure information to our people, is paramount to staying ahead of adversaries," she said. 

Funding these technologies within the appropriated budget is a balance between cost efficiency and mission effectiveness, Zeleke said. 

"We're working for the public and for the country. I emphasize that resources and costs are critical, but the mission is just as critical, so it is a balance between cost effectiveness and mission effectiveness for us," she said.  

A Marine peers into the distance.
Posting Security
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Timothy Slagle, a cryptologic language analyst with 1st Radio Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, posts security in a light armored vehicle during an exercise on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 11, 2022.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Atticus Martinez
VIRIN: 220111-M-EH070-1175A

Zeleke also said that zero trust is a big factor in making the movement to the cloud a success. 

"Zero trust is sort of like assuming that the adversary might already be in [the network]," she said.  

Therefore, zero trust is about protecting the data at all levels and giving the right persons at the right security levels access to the data they need for mission success, she said. 

DOD has a massive amount of data, she noted. "It's really how we analyze it, process it, make sense of it, and deliver it to our warfighters and components in a way that it's usable." 

A sailor holds a cable.
Tent Cable
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alvin Farmer, assigned to Commander, Task Force 75, attaches a network cable to the tent during the Command Post Exercise in Santa Rita, Guam, Jan. 22, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Billy Ho
VIRIN: 220122-N-QL471-0014

Each of the services and the department are now working to converge, streamline and implement information enterprise modernization, as laid out in DOD's 2022 Software Modernization Strategy, she said. 

"It is not simple, because our processes are ingrained and we have a big organization, but it's not impossible," she said. "Technology's the easy part. … But people are complicated. Processes are complicated. 

"We need all hands-on deck," she said, referring to DOD's need to partner with allies, industry and academia.

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