New Navy portal strategy aims to cut costs, improve security

The Navy on Tuesday released a new Web portal strategy for the Navy and Marine Corps intended to cut duplication, reduce operating costs and improve security.

Terry Halvorsen, Navy's chief information officer, emphasized in a memo on the portal strategy that the "fiscal realities . . . today and in the anticipated future will not support . . . continued development and delivery of multiple, distributed and duplicative portals as we have in the past."

Halvorsen added, "Consolidation of the [Navy's] portals and Web services into an integrated and centrally governed environment is critical to enhancing an effective security posture and to ensuring mission effectiveness, cost savings, interoperability and ease of use."

A strategy paper attached to the memo said the Navy will set standards for an enterprise portal to ensure all data and information are "universally secure, available, discoverable and accessible."

Craig Roth, a Gartner Group analyst, said, ideally, a well-executed strategy will help cut costs by reducing the number of portals and at the same time improve data flow.

The latest strategy marks a real change from portal policy guidance released in August 2009 by Rob Carey, Halvorsen's predecessor as Navy CIO.

That memo highlighted the importance of the Defense Knowledge Online portal, developed by the Defense Information Systems Agency on top of the Army Knowledge Online portal, as the "single enterprise portal for the Department of Defense." The 2009 memo said the Navy would use Defense Knowledge Online as an access point to the department's enterprise service environment.

The strategy omits any reference to Defense Knowledge Online and simply says the Navy portal environment will be aligned with Defense plans and programs, although the strategy provides little specificity.

Defense Knowledge Online has received little backing from the Air Force and Navy since it was launched in 2005. On July 5, Federal Computer Week reported that the Army could shut down Army Knowledge Online in favor of its enterprise email system, which can provide Web, collaboration and content management through SharePoint software. Federal Computer Week said an internal memo shows the Army wants to cut funding for Army Knowledge Online from $70 million in fiscal 2012 to no more than $20 million in fiscal 2017.

While the August 2009 policy memo called for establishing top level, enterprise portals for the Navy, Marine Corps and the [Office of the]Secretary of the Navy, the July strategy document omits any reference to these portals. Instead, it said the strategy is a framework to integrate information, applications and process across organizational boundaries.

The July portal strategy established a high-level working group with representatives from the CIO's office, chief of naval operations, all the Navy systems commands and the Marine Corps Systems Command to oversee functional and technical requirements. This group also will review existing portals to identify duplicative efforts, excess capacity and cost-saving opportunities.