Powerhouse digital service team taking shape at VA
May 27, 2015
As the beleaguered agency confronts personnel and staffing challenges, its plan to attract the best tech talent is beginning to materialize.
David Stegon was a staff reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop from 2011-2014.
Navy Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen spoke last month at the graduation ceremony of the most recent graduating class of the Senior Enlisted Academy of the Naval War College based in Rhode Island.
Halvorsen spoke to the 48 graduates comprised of all military branches, representatives from Turkey and Croatia and Naval War College leadership about the vital need to approach business decisions with the same rigor and strategic focus as the Navy approaches warfighting decisions.
"We are good at conducting war-time operations and making the tough decisions that surround this. However, we are not as strong in making the decisions that surround the business of war. We need to get better at making the financial decisions. The chiefs will need to think about how best to maximize effectiveness and efficiencies within all our operations."
Halvorsen spoke about adding business-focused information to the curriculum. He believes the information should be focused on the graduates' responsibility and understanding of the value of finding efficiencies in all operations, and working from an enterprise perspective when it comes to solving operational issues.
"The biggest risk to our national security is our debt. We all need to go out and learn about the business of war and the financial war we face," he said. "As a Department, we all need to get better at looking for ways to save money – whether it is big enterprise solutions or the 'couch change.' For instance, reducing printing and cell phone costs … The DON spends $100 million on printing and $100 million on Blackberries and cell phones. Those are big numbers. By reducing each of these, the couch change will add up to significant savings."