The Defense Business Board wants to put the central Defense Department network and computer outfit on the chopping block as part of a series of proposals to save the Pentagon $100 billion over the next five years.
Arnold Punaro, chairman of the Defense Business Board task group on
reducing overhead and improving business operations called for elimination of the Pentagon's Network Information Integration organization in little-noticed remarks at the tail end of his presentation at the board's quarterly meeting on July 22.
In fact, Punaro, singled out NII for the trash heap, saying among all the myriad Defense organizations, it "particularly" deserves elimination.
The NII shop (which does a lot of arcane but important stuff, such as spectrum management) makes for an easy target as it has no top leadership in place to defend it.
John Grimes, the last assistant secretary of Defense in charge of NII left the building in April 2009, and who knows when the Senate will confirm his replacement, Teresa Takai, the CIO for the state of California, who was nominated for the job by President Obama in March.
Warren Suss of Suss Consulting says Defense cannot eliminate the CIO position held by the assistant secretary of defense for NII, because CIO job, held by the ASD/NII,because it is enshrined in the Clinger-Cohen Act. Suss said he believes NII can save Defense money overall by pushing for development of standard systems and networks needed to support both administrative and warfighting missions.
But someone besides Suss who has clout with top Defense management needs to back NII between now and October, when the Defense Business Board delivers its final set of recommendations to Secretary Robert Gates.