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Army CIO – Trimming IT Spending

March 11, 2021 | 2 minute read
Proven Optics

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Proven Optics

Raj Iyer, the Army CIO now responsible for shaping policy and IT needs, said the service is preparing an Army Enterprise Digital Strategy to help drive a necessary culture change throughout the organization. “Going digital is a mindset, it’s a culture change,” Iyer said during AFCEA NOVA’s Army IT Day event on Jan. 22. “It’s about how we leverage technologies, but [also] how we’re going to leapfrog into the future with digital transformation.”

Iyer has stated that Army and DOD policies have been “hampered and constrained by legacy policy” and plans to focus on restructuring policies that align more effectively with new technology and “makes it easier for Army commands to do business.”

“If there is a commander in the field that wants to leverage technology to meet the mission outcomes and there’s some policy that’s standing in the way, to me that’s the first thing we’re going to go after,” while balancing cyber and other risks, he said. The key to that will be tempering the Army’s IT spending and introducing new governance structures. Iyer said the Army’s IT spending is estimated to be $2 billion more than budgeted year over year — and that has to change.

“When I look at our budget, we’re looking at about $14.5 or $15 billion that we budget for on an annual basis. And I look at how much we spend on IT in a year and it’s about $2 billion more than that.” The increase in budget is often driven by scheduling, priority, scope changes, and overrun costs. Additionally, the Army is pivoting to IT category management to get a better handle on spending and budgeting.

IT infrastructure, particularly for tactical cloud capabilities, is another area the Army is planning to develop, especially as it moves to achieve seamless data transmission on the battlefield. “The big pivot that I’m making now is to focus on the tactical cloud…look at the requirements for sensor-to-shooter,” Iyer said, “it’s all about connecting the tactical edge to the enterprise and back.”

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