I am attending the 3rd Annual DoD SOA & Semantic Technology Symposium. This year the focus is on the necessity of semantic technology to achieve interoperable business operations through shared understanding. The theme is how semantic interoperability will drive DoD to a more efficient and effective information environment.

DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer Beth McGrath welcomed about 300 attendees yesterday and referred to her April 4th memorandum that said: DoD historically spends more than $6.0B annually developing and maintaining a portfolio of more than 2,000 business systems and Web services. Many of these systems, and the underlying processes they support, are poorly integrated. It is imperative, especially in today’s limited budget environment, to optimize our business processes and the systems that support them to reduce our annual business systems spending. She said: “It is all about all of the data and how to work with it”.

During his afternoon keynote, I had the opportunity to ask General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff and our nation’s second highest ranking military officer, what the goal of that memo reduction was: say reduce the cost and number of systems by 50%? General Cartwright responded by saying the goal was to drive the cost down significantly and get more agile results. He also said that the military’s highest priority was to get programmers and social scientists “deployed to the edge” to met the needs of our warfighters.

A recurring question has been: show me the analytic for any claim about a more efficient and effective DoD information environment. So I decided to first check the Federal IT Spending Dashboard that I had reproduced to see what the DoD situation was. More on that in my next report.