The DoD’s Digital Modernization Strategy: What’s Next?

Information technology continues to revolutionize nearly every major industry, including national security. The Department of Defense’s (DoD) new IT strategy is just one more step forward. 

On July 12, 2019, the DoD announced its Digital Modernization Strategy, striving to improve the military’s digital capabilities in an increasingly digitized world. The plan has four key pillars: 1) innovate for competitive advantage in the battlefield, 2) optimize for efficiency, 3) evolve cybersecurity for an agile and resilient defense, and 4) cultivate talent for a ready digital workforce. 

To achieve this, the DoD is prioritizing and implementing emerging technologies, such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, and command, control, and communications (C3). This allows for capabilities such as improved defense business platforms, war-fighting operations and cybersecurity--and that’s only the beginning. 

“Through four strategic initiatives, this strategy outlines how the department will increase agility and remain competitive within a constantly evolving digital global threat landscape,” DOD CIO Dana Deasy said. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure our men and women in uniform maintain strategic advantage on the battlefield.”

The Department of Defense, while leading this key effort for national security, is one of many federal agencies that are pushing forward digital modernization. Several others include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and the Transformation Security Administration (TSA).

The FDA’s work is particularly notable in health communities nationwide, as they are using blockchain and artificial intelligence to improve food and medical product recalls. The agency is launching a common interface so that health industries can collaboratively share and review data--the FDA’s own version of a digital modernization plan. 

This new plan may improve the surveillance of medical products and speed up the reviewal process -- and could be released in less than two months. 

The HHS is also launching its test-run of a blockchain-based acquisition portal this fall. It will be the first of its kind in the federal government, and allows contractors to cost-reference pricing. The TSA is looking to further implement and develop computed tomography (CT) scans to make for a more efficient and secure experience for passengers. 

Whether national security or medicine and health, digital modernization holds the potential to generate ongoing, meaningful innovation within the federal government. DoD’s Digital Modernization Strategy--as well as progress through the FDA, HHS, and TSA--will help continue to drive this, helping set a precedence other agencies can look towards.


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