U.S. Soldiers from 173rd Cavalry Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron out of Fort Bragg, N.C., meet at a rally point after being air-dropped into the urban operations complex in the Nevada Test and Training Range in Nevada. (TSgt. Michael R. Holzworth / Nevada)
With the world of C4ISR and defense networks operating beyond Moore’s Law into the territory of Metcalfe’s Law, which says that value is proportional to the number of connected users, there’s never been a greater need for thinkers and doers who understand the value of getting more information into the hands of warfighters.
With that in mind, and with the advice of our Net Defense bloggers and others, we’ve developed a subjective list of leaders in the military and private sector who we believe will greatly influence efforts to meet that challenge in the coming year. We could have easily doubled or tripled the number of names on this list, but that still wouldn’t be enough for one retired three-star general we polled.
“C4ISR needs more champions,” he said. “With sequestration and reduced budgets, all the services are trying to protect what they have and are clinging to paradigms of last century industrial age warfare versus embracing new concepts and capabilities and organizational re-design based on the realities of the information age of which C4ISR is a linchpin.”
The following list of names is in alphabetical order.
Jay "Sunny" Bajaj, Founder and CEO, DMI
Since 2002, Bajaj has grown his Bethesda, Md.-based firm into an industry leader in the mobility space. In June, DMI won a $16 million contract to centrally manage up to 300,000 Defense Department smartphones and tablet computers and control which apps are used on those devices. DMI’s solution will enable DoD to expand its device inventory beyond the BlackBerry and support Apple, Android and other devices. Bajaj’s company manages some 500,000 devices and counting, between the public and private sectors.
LT. Gen. Mark Bowman, Director, C4/Cyber, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Leading changes in C4ISR since he was CENTCOM J6, Bowman was instrumental in developing the concept of the Joint Information Environment. The JIE, as Bowman often says, is not a program of record; rather, it is a process by which the DoD will consolidate data centers, optimize the network with enterprise architecture and transition to client-based technology.
LT. Gen. Edward Cardon, Commanding General, Army Cyber Command
Cardon is a communicator. Shortly after becoming the leader of ARCYBER in September, he met with acquisition officials for multiple days to examine ways to improve the process. He is objectively looking at the Army and asking, “is it prepared for the future of conflict?”
Dan Geer, Chief Information Security Officer, In-Q-Tel
In-Q-Tel is widely known as the venture investment arm of the CIA. Geer is an excellent source of knowledge about the current state of cyber threats and has a vision where this threat environment is going. That knowledge is rare and of significant value to In-Q-Tel's mission and achieving their objectives.
Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr., Director, DISA
Under Hawkins’ watch, DISA has expanded its role as the Pentagon’s source for mobility, cloud computing and a growing list of enterprise services. When Hawkins took the reins as DISA director in 2012, he faced a constrained budget environment where DISA's need to deliver new capabilities was expected to outpace the availability of future resources.
That hasn’t stopped DISA from charting new territories as the Defense Department’s service provider for enterprise email, and achieving initial operating capability for the first increment of the Joint Information Environment. DISA underwent a major reorganization to align with JIE, and Hawkins will be key in helping to chart a roadmap for the effort.
Alex Karp, Founder and CEO, Palantir Technologies
Palantir is behind the development of software that is said to be the equal or better that what theof what the Army developed for the Distributed Common Ground System,, and at a fraction of the cost. DCGS processes and disseminates intelligence data. After a recent round of funding, the big data firm is valued at $9 billion.
Mike Kreiger, Deputy CIO, Army
Krieger is leading the charge to collapse the Army network and get behind DISA enterprise architecture. Utilizing the infrastructure that DISA already has and working with them to increase the bandwidth at some of their DISN nodes will allow the Army to bring the bandwidth for posts, camps and stations from hundreds of megabits up to 10-100 gigabits. The idea is to remove the issue of bandwidth as a concern.
Kevin Mandia, Founder and CEO, Mandiant
Remember how, early in 2013, we learned that the Chinese military, operating inside a specific building in China, was conducting cyber espionage on America? It was Mandiant that blew the lid on the spying in a report that documented the evidence. The company’s motto is “Detect, Respond, Contain,” and a lot of that is going to be needed in 2014.
Lt. Gen. Robert Otto and Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR; commander, Air Force ISR Agency
The pair are acknowledged for they challenge they have ahead of them: transitioning Air Force ISR activities from operations from the permission environments of Afghanistan to contested environments in possible places like Iran and Asia.
Teri Takai, DoD CIO
Takai did not mince words in a September memo when she directed all defense components and commands to identify existing email capabilities and move them to DoD’s enterprise email system. Takai is requiring the transition begin no later than the first quarter of fiscal 2015. She said sharing a single email service will provide DoD components a common platform to coordinate activities, plan and schedule meetings and reduce costs.
Doug Wiltsie, Army PEO, Enterprise Information Systems
Wiltsie is working to create a regional security concept that will allow the Army to remove organizational security. It will give network managers the ability to see the entire Army network, improve security across the Army, and give them the ability at each post, camp and station to raise the bandwidth because there are not multiple security stacks for all the organizations on any one post.
Rich Wittstruck, Deputy PEO, Army PEO IEW&S
NATO has said that joint ISR is its second priority, behind ballistic missile defense. At the moment, there is a hyper-focus on joint ISR in the entire DOTMLPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities). Wittstruck is the chairman of NATO’s ISR Capability Group, and is working to bring collaboration and jointness to NATO ISR.