Information Technology – Building the Information Infrastructure of the United States

“Info-graphics” is a term coined by the World Wide Web Consortium to describe the new field of digital information services. Info-Graphics is the sum total of all the facts and figures presented to make critical decisions about complex problems in industries like health care, engineering, IT, manufacturing and financial services. Info-Graphic is a subset of information science. Information is used to persuade decision makers about what action should be taken, how it will be taken and by whom. A graphical representation helps convey the meaning of data to those decision makers. It helps create an image of the problem involved and makes it easy to understand.

Info Graphical is also used in the realm of computer systems. Computer systems are increasingly information technology. The typical computer systems that are in use today take up much of our work force; information technology systems take up a smaller portion. In order to support the growing need for information technology, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) hired the Information Integration Task Force to develop a standard approach to information technology (IT) planning and management.

The Information Integration Task Force (IITF), now part of the Information Technology Enterprise Development Environment (IT EDGE), is a project of the U.S. Department of Defense. The goal of the IITF was to integrate military, non-military information systems, to provide a unified information technology and communication development environment. Information systems development became the center of focus with the advent of the Information Age and information technology planning and management became the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Defense. Today, the mission critical nature of computer systems has increased the need for IITF professionals who have a broad range of skills and expertise in all areas of information technology. With these and other benefits, IITF careers are becoming popular.

As part of the Defense Information Technology (DIT) initiative, IITF developed a set of twelve core strategic goals. These were to build an information technology system to support the warfighting capabilities of the U.S. Navy, the Air Force and the Marines. The U.S. Navy’s Information Collection and Interpretation (ICAS) needs were also addressed in the strategic goals. The ICAS requirements are information technology information management and computer systems integration, and it encompasses both field activity and personnel processes. For the Air Force, the goals of the IITF included building an information technology information management system, integrating airborne traffic management, supporting intelligence and surveillance systems, and building the Air Force Information Integration Enterprise (AFIA).

Database management software and standard databases are at the core of these activities. The U.S. Marines MOL and MSA programs are being funded through the ITF. The roles and responsibilities of this new and rapidly increasing branch are focused on building an information system to support operations in the cyber domain, conducting operations under the Consolidated Information Management System (CIMS) and acting as the information exchange gateway between the Department of Defense and the Department of homeland security. IITF is currently working on a next-generation MOL to replace the MSA program. The goal is to make the Marine Corps information technology system the information management system for the United States. The MOL will be able to interconnect databases across the different branches and provide information interchange.

Information technology systems are rapidly growing. The U.S. military is making every attempt to build information technology systems to leverage information to improve operations. The need to have a very robust and very flexible system is now more important than ever. We must also learn to work with the information systems, or we will fail to keep up with emerging technologies and their constraints.