Navy CIO says new efficiencies have saved $100 million so far

New Department of the Navy (DON) information technology efficiencies have so far saved $100 million, a start on what the Navy’s CIO office says its goal to cut $2 billion from the Navy’s overall budget, according to DON Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen, speaking during a DON CIO media roundtable held at the Pentagon recently.

"We have to put in place a business IT operating system that's going to cost the money we have left (after the $2 billion already taken from the budget) or it will end up coming out of mission money, and we certainly don't want that to happen," he said. During the hour-long session, Halvorsen outlined the department's priorities and achievements to date and took a series of questions from reporters.

The savings span several DON initiatives. For example, the department established the DON Enterprise Wireless Contracts in January 2011 with the intent of streamlining the department's cellular purchasing habits. These contracts enable the DON to pool its cellular purchasing requirements to drive down costs and gain greater transparency into purchasing spending. Savings to date, Halvorsen said, amount to $30 million.

Another initiative that is saving money is the Enterprise Licensing Agreement, which provides better spending visibility and keeps costs down by using software licenses that apply to the entire department rather than purchasing multiple licenses for various commands. The department has saved about $35 million, which is "right about where we thought it would be," Halvorsen said.

The Navy is also addressing the cost of printing, either by eliminating the need for printing or by employing multi-function devices that combine print, fax, copy, and scan functions, rather than stand-alone printers. Halvorsen estimated the department would realize $200-$250 million in savings over the next five years.

Halvorsen noted, though, that not all savings initiatives are this simple. The DON expects huge savings to come from data-center consolidation, but those savings are not yet realized.

The Navy has moved about 100 systems into consolidation, said Halvorsen, but only a couple out of about 140-165 data centers across the Navy and Marine Corps have been closed to date. Halvorsen said that this may seem like slow progress, but added that as system consolidation takes place the DON will be positioned to close several centers quickly.

Another high-priority initiative is privacy data protection. "We want to make sure we are protecting people's privacy data," Halvorsen said, "and that's going to get harder as people move data around."

The DON has also established a policy that prohibits the use of Social Security numbers as personally identifiable information (PII), and the use of fax machines to transmit documents, especially those containing PII.

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