Lockheed and Defense officials find exchange program mutually beneficial

Private sector executive says he found the government employees he worked with during the year-long program astute, knowledgeable and motivated.

As the old saying goes, you can't understand another person's experience until you have walked a mile in his shoes. John "Mike" Moore, a top Lockheed Martin Corp. executive, has done just that during the past year as part of an exchange program in the Defense Department's chief information officer organization.

Moore, director of global strategic development, global security solutions for the systems integrator and defense contractor, spent the year working on key projects for the Defense CIO's Directorate for Information, Policy and Integration. His tour at Defense ends on Dec. 15.

During an interview earlier this week, Moore said he quickly discovered he had not signed on with a hamstrung bureaucracy, but with a nimble outfit focused on doing things differently and ready to knock down barriers to progress.

The purpose of the Information Technology Exchange Program, authorized by Congress under the 2002 E-Government Act, is to enhance skills of industry and Defense personnel with temporary job switches. The exchange provides an opportunity for both industry and government officials to learn through on-the-job interaction.

Ron Kelly, deputy director for information, policy and integration at Defense, said he made sure Moore was treated as a full-fledged team member from the first day he showed up for work in the organization's Arlington, Va., offices. The directorate wanted to tap the managerial skills Moore had developed during six years at Lockheed, following a 13-year stint at NASA. Defense officials were interested in the executive's ability to make things happen in a large bureaucracy.

Moore said he was given challenging assignments that sit at the core of how Defense manages information and data. That included work on "cloud computing," or providing computer services through server clusters connected to the Internet. Moore also studied how to provide enterprise data as a service, using tools similar to Google Analytics, which helps analyze Web traffic.

In addition, he worked on development of a netcentric licensing model. Many Defense organizations buy software licenses separately, which Moore said not only limits the use of that software, but also inhibits the sharing of information generated by the software. The new approach will remove this roadblock, according to Moore.

And Moore helped explore ways Defense and the intelligence community can move and transfer large data set files in organizations that have limited bandwidth, such as a ship or a forward-deployed tactical unit. Approaches his team examined, Moore said, included remote processing of needed information, advanced file compression technologies and alternative Internet protocols that can facilitate faster data transfers.

On all these projects, Moore said he was impressed with the quality and caliber of the Defense CIO personnel with whom he worked. He described his Defense colleagues as astute and motivated, and said the knowledge he gained from working alongside the government employees will stay with him forever.

He also noted that the Defense CIO has practices, such as forming communities of interest -- any collaborative group of users who must exchange information in pursuit of their shared goals, missions or business processes -- that are worth exporting to Lockheed and other federal agencies.

Joyce France, director of Defense CIO management services and manager of the exchange program, said the department got a bargain with Moore, as Lockheed paid his salary during the exchange. Any actual or potential conflicts of interest were handled by having Moore adhere to the same ethics rules as any Defense employee, France said.

France said that at the moment, Moore is the only person to have gone through the ITEP program, as the legislation establishing the program expires at the end of 2008. She added that she hopes lawmakers will pass a bill to extend the E-Government Act so the Defense CIO organization can continue to tap into the kind of experience it gained from Moore.