The Department of Defense’s deputy chief management office (DCMO) has just released a Request for Information (RFI) that reminded me of an Breaking Gov story I did about 4 months ago, in which now-retired Gen. James Cartwright and Deputy Chief Management Officer Beth McGrath said semantic interoperability will drive DoD’s information environment.

I was asked how this RFI, which deals with the semantic web, can help DOD in particular and perhaps the federal government on a broader scale because I have worked on semantic interoperability for the government for the past 10 years and on a DOD Enterprise Information Web the past 6 months.

This issue was discussed extensively at the 2011 Semantic Technology last June by DCMO Chief Architect and CTO Dennis Wisnosky and again at the 3rd Annual DoD SOA & Semantic Technology Symposium in July when his staff made presentations on the progress they had made. And it will get additional attention at an Industry Event Day, Nov. 30, in connection with the 2011 Semantic Tech and Business Conference in Washington, D.C.

Wisnosky discusses–and illustrates–the future of the DoD Enterprise and the necessity of semantic technology in the above brief video, which provides an explanation of what semantic technology is and is capable of doing for enterprise information systems.

The importance of semantic technology was made clear in an April 4 memorandum from DoD CMO Beth McGrath, in which she wrote:

DoD historically spends more than $6.0 billion 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”.

Her statement has inspired me to apply data science to DoD data and build a system of system dashboards as described in more detail here.

I first searched for and found the key seed data set: the fiscal year 2011 Master List of Systems that was in Excel and Socrata.

I downloaded it, extracted the metadata for the 9 fields and 2320 rows. This Master List of Systems provides a comprehensive listing of all active business systems and initiatives in the Department of Defense as of Nov.18, 2010.

Then I started to capture the key content starting with the RFI and its references, Acquisition Policy for Defense Business Systems (DBS) and Department of Defense Business Enterprise Architecture, into a knowledgebase to support the dashboard. I included the DCMO Home Page and a Google Search within DCMO in a Cloud Spotfire Dashboard, which is shown elsewhere along with 15 other dashboards like the DoD FY 2011 Budget.

My goal is to show how DoD data and the RFI can be a semantic web (with semantic technologies), like the Enterprise Information Web solution pattern shown in the RFI, and be done much faster, than the notional schedule of EIW shown in the RFI.