The sheer size of the Department of Defense (DoD) makes streamlining IT operations or changing IT investment management daunting, yet this size makes the payoff of successes that much greater.

To achieve these successes, we are looking to reap the benefits of today’s leading edge thinking and technologies in many of the IT management efforts we have underway. Several of our initiatives dovetail nicely with the 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management, such as the IT Enterprise Strategy and Roadmap and cloud computing strategy that the Department is currently developing.

We are making progress on several initiatives that will increase our efficiency and effectiveness in developing systems to support our Nation’s warfighters, without sacrificing security. Additionally, we continually look to update the competencies of our workforce in order to maintain a highly skilled cadre of IT/cyber professionals.

One of the new workforce initiatives underway within DoD is the IT Exchange Program (ITEP), where we partner with private industry to share best practices, learn, and gain a better understanding of each other’s common IT problems. Many of the IT challenges of private sector organizations are similar to those that need to be addressed by Government. Through ITEP, both sectors can learn from each other on how to address some of these shared challenges where private sector and DoD employees perform detail assignments from 3 months to a year working collaboratively on projects. Another significant initiative we are leading is the federal-wide effort to update the Clinger-Cohen Core Competencies, which serve as a baseline for agency IT management skill requirements. Coursework based on the Competencies are used by the Federal CIO University consortium and the Department of Defense’s iCollege to provide graduate education opportunities in such areas as Enterprise Architecture, IT Program Management and Information Assurance/Cybersecurity.

As we look to improve efficiency, one of our ongoing targets is the management and use of data centers. We have closed eight data centers since the IT Reform plan was published, and we intend to close another 44 by the end of FY2011. DoD remains committed to identifying candidates for data center closure and consolidation in support of the Secretary’s efficiency efforts and the IT Reform plan goal of closing 800 Federal data centers by 2015.

Improving IT efficiency is also an element in ongoing DoD acquisition reviews. DoD uses investment review boards and other process reviews to engage cross-DoD senior leadership in assessing progress of critical programs which meet OMB TechStats review requirements. I find these senior level reviews to be important and effective tools in addressing underperforming IT investments. As a result of one recent DoD program review, we reduced the scope of the project to focus on areas that are more likely to yield successes.

It is incumbent upon us, as the Nation’s CIOs, to manage information effectively and efficiently to meet our missions and serve the citizenry. The 25 Point Plan offers a clear vision forward for the Federal IT community. We in DoD continue to synchronize our efforts with the milestones and objectives of the plan, and I remain committed to achieving our collective IT operations and management goals.

Teresa M. Takai is the Chief Information Officer at the Department of Defense. This article was originally published by