Information Dominance Key to U.S. Security
by Marilyn W. Andrulis and Dave Chesebrough
National defense, homeland security and even electronic government
are all dependent on information systems and technology. The Acquisition
Reform Act of 1994 mandated the use of information technology in
the transformation of both war fighting and business practices,
with the intent of increasing efficiency in every functional area.
The nation’s industrial base, represented by the members
of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and the Association
for Enterprise Integration (AFEI), recognizes the critical value
of information assets in both business and operational systems of
defense agencies. These companies are committed to developing integrated
data systems that deliver information in secure, timely and accurate
Within the Pentagon, the policies, regulations and organization
structures that impede speedy implementation of available technology
and render information and communication technology inefficient
are ripe for change. The department already has initiated improvements
in policies, plans and procedures to make better use of secure,
accurate and timely data integration that enables superior decision
making at all levels.
Also, the department recently has initiated efforts to increase
collaboration and information sharing across programs, and to modernize
business systems, based on commercial best practices and technology.
Pilot projects now underway, implementing enterprise resource planning
systems, are examples of an application of commercial products to
unique defense processes. Moreover, the department is involved deeply
in many of the Office of Management and Budget’s e-Government
While e-Government is not central to the defense mission, these
are further indications of the department’s migration to network-centric
processes that enable collaboration within the department and across
other federal agencies.
These efforts should increase the department’s efficiency
and effectiveness in performing its core functions and managing
information across the defense enterprise. Furthermore, while there
have been numerous programs aimed at electronically connecting the
Pentagon’s business activity with its industry partners, a
more unified approach to modernization of business-system strategies
and processes will serve to strengthen the industrial base and improve
its capability to provide value to the department.
Information dominance is most often associated with military command,
control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance (C4ISR) operations.
Superiority in the generation, manipulation and use of information
affords a dominant strategic and tactical military position. However,
several factors are converging that indicate a broader scope of
information dominance may be necessary. The most compelling of these
Emphasis on Information
The Board of Directors of NDIA recently adopted information dominance
as a top policy issue for 2002, under the title, “Establishing
and Maintaining Information Dominance.” The goal is to emphasize
the role of information as a defense enterprise asset. NDIA has
outlined key recommendations that support the goal of achieving
and maintaining information dominance.
Spearheading the efforts on this issue is AFEI, an affiliate association
of NDIA. AFEI was formerly known as the CALS Industry Steering Group,
which was established at the Defense Department’s request.
AFEI focuses on transformation of processes, modernization of business
systems, and alignment of underlying technologies with business
strategy and governmental policy, undertaking dialog with other
Today, AFEI also is applying the expert, technical knowledge of
its members to support the military services in matters relating
to decision superiority in war fighting, and improvements in the
delivery of enterprise systems. There are clear parallels, for example,
between the network-centric approach to command, control, communications
and intelligence (C3I) and current trends in business systems modernization.
Accelerating innovations in these areas will improve operational
effectiveness and instill new efficiencies in support of national
AFEI is also a member of NDIA’s newly formed Coalition for
Homeland Security and is working with other members of the coalition
to sponsor events jointly, with the objective of integrating information
dominance into NDIA programs.
AFEI is expanding rapidly through strategic partnerships with organizations
such as the Knowledge Management Institute at George Washington
Through this expansion, AFEI is working to be a more robust partner
Dr. Marilyn W. Andrulis is chairman and CEO of Andrulis Corporation
and chairman of AFEI. Dave Chesebrough is president of AFEI.