PARIS - France has set up a new office to boost user access to the various databases held in the defense ministry, the Armed Forces Ministry said.

“The Armed Forces Ministry takes full note of the digital revolution and puts in place the General Directorate of Digital, and Information and Communications Systems,” the ministry announced in a July 9 statement.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe signed the June 28 decree to set up the office, which will report to the Armed Forces Ministry.

The aim of the new office is to boost interoperability and to allow greater sharing of information stored in the many databases around the ministry, a spokesman for the office said – to break down the “silos” of information.

Admiral Arnaud Coustillière will head the 50-strong office, comprising civil and military personnel with computing skills, the ministry added.

The office replaces a previous administrative office set up in 2006, and will have an operational power rather than the oversight and prescriptive power of the outgoing office.

Getting access to huge amounts of data spread through the armed services is a major challenge is not a uniquely French challenge, with the Pentagon currently trying to work the same issue. A group of advisers to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has recommended creating a central hub to collect that data in one place.

France hopes to tackle this issue by empowering the new office to be the “conductor of the orchestra,” with the “user” seen at the heart of this initiative, the ministry said. There will be greater access to information stored in databases in the administration and in the public domain.

There will be strict control of the information and communication systems, with close links to the Joint chiefs of staff, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office and Secretary General of the Administration and the minister’s private office, the ministry said.

This reform follows the July 5 announcement from defense minister Florence Parly of a reorganization of the DGA, aimed at speeding up arms procurement and forging improved links with the armed forces and industry.

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