During the first weeks of his tenure as president of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Jamie Dimon was briefed on the company’s efforts to outsource its information technology and corporate networks. It’s now the stuff of legend how Dimon not only cancelled a $5-billion IT contract, but challenged his people to own information as a proprietary, business-defining function. This strategic perspective has guided IT investment and prioritization for JPMorgan Chase ever since – and Dimon’s philosophy is now considered to be “table stakes” wisdom across the financial services industry. Many other industries have concluded the same: whether outsourced or not, information management is a core strategic function upon which they are entirely dependent.
We in the Department of the Navy must embrace this fundamental truth and understand its implications. Information management, and all that accompanies it, to include cyber security, data strategy and analytics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing have combined to create massive opportunities, and vulnerabilities, across our entire enterprise. Our traditional approach to IT as merely a cost center – seeking only the lowest price, technically acceptable solutions – is wholly insufficient to meet the challenges of our Information Age.
Similarly, to frame “information” or “cyber” as simply another warfare domain is to fatally misunderstand the ubiquity of information technology in every naval mission area. To put it simply: our ships cannot fight unless their networks are operating, our aircraft cannot land safely unless their fly-by-wire systems are secure, our people cannot get paid if their records are corrupted, our business systems are void unless our financial data has integrity, and our sensing systems cannot help deter and destroy our enemies if they are blinded or deceived.