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DOD Preparing to Update Software Modernization Strategy, According to Principal Deputy CIO Leslie Beavers

DOD Preparing to Update Software Modernization Strategy, According to Principal Deputy CIO Leslie Beavers

Information technology is a top priority for the Department of Defense, and the organization is currently working to update its software modernization strategy, according to DOD Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer Leslie Beavers.

The existing plan operates around three tenets: accelerating cloud adoption, establishing a software factory ecosystem and transforming the process of software development “to allow for some resilience and speed.”

“We’re trying to build security in from the beginning,” Beavers said during a fireside chat with Robert Carey, president of Cloudera Government Solutions, at the Potomac Officers Club’s 5th Annual CIO Summit on Wednesday.

“It’s a big lift, and that’s where we’re going – and it’s easier to do with the new stuff that’s coming along,” said Beavers, a 2024 Wash100 Award recipient.

She noted that the DOD has already created over 50 software factories, some of which are tailored to specific weapons systems and some of which are more general.

Leslie Beavers discusses DOD software modernization at the Potomac Officers Club’s 5th Annual CIO Summit.

Though modernization efforts are already underway, the DOD still faces challenges in bringing the old and new together. Responding to an audience question, Beavers noted that the department currently uses 18,000 business systems and relies on a framework based on criticality, cyber risk and the individual analysis of the modernization needs of each business system. Once these factors are assessed, systems are divided into categories for modernization, updates or sustainment.

What Beavers is working on now is creating a solid vision of “what capabilities we and the department need in five years.”

“So this coming summer, there’ll be an update to our modernization strategy coming out,” she revealed. “I worked with all the services and even some of the DAF heads to pull together this vision.”

She shared that a document has already been drafted and is now “making its rounds” within the department.

Through the strategy, Beavers aims to “change the behaviors and the decisions all the way down to the program managers across the department to make better decisions as they’re building out the solution to whatever problem they’re solving.”

She hopes to enable them to do so “in a way that’s interoperable, that’s modernizing, that’s secure.”

“That is the approach because at the CIO level within the department, it’s more like being in an economy. You don’t own the software, you don’t own the program managers – you’re trying to shape how the economy behaves,” she said.

Don’t miss the Potomac Officers Club’s next all-day event, the 2024 Cyber Summit on June 6! This exciting engagement will gather public and private sector cyber experts for an exploration of the federal government’s top challenges and priorities in the evolving domain. To learn more and register to attend the event, click here.

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