Call for Research Report Proposals 2017

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 - 14:13
Leaders who understand and can leverage effective management tools and practices are better prepared to execute on their priorities and see measurable, positive program results. The IBM Center for The Business of Government is committed to helping identify and distill the lessons learned from the past, identify current and new management initiatives and capacities that will be needed to address key challenges facing the country in this administration, and offer ideas on implementation.

INTO THE GRAY ZONE: The Private Sector and Active Defense Against Cyber Threats

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 - 14:12
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 12:56
Co-Author:  Christopher Ballister, Security & Privacy, IBM

Managing Advanced Threats in the Digital Age: Addressing security, risk and compliance for U.S. Public Sector executives

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 - 13:14
These attacks are relentless, aggressive and constantly evolving, and have clearly shown that federal agencies and organizations are struggling in managing security threats, despite the stricter security protocols that are often in place at government agencies. Cyber threats are “among the most urgent dangers to America’s economic and national security,” President Obama was quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal article in 2015.

The IBM Center’s Research Priorities: Supporting Key Missions of Government from the Transition to a New Administration

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 - 9:59
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 09:51
The IBM Center for The Business of Government is committed to helping identify and distill the lessons learned from the past, identify current and new management initiatives and capacities that will be needed to address key challenges facing the country in the next administration, and offer ideas on implementation.

Ronald Layton

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014 - 12:13
What are the key cybersecurity threats and challenges facing the nation? What is the US Secret Service’s doing to combat these cyber threats? Is the cybersecurity function ready to be professionalized across the nation? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Ronald Layton, Deputy Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Secret Service.
Radio show date: 
Mon, 12/08/2014
Intro text: 
What are the key cybersecurity threats and challenges facing the nation? What is the US Secret Service’s doing to combat these cyber threats? Is the cybersecurity function ready to be professionalized across the nation? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Ronald Layton, Deputy Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Secret Service.

The Next Four Years: Intelligence Community Reform Refining, not Rebooting

Monday, December 3rd, 2012 - 15:11
Understanding the Problem

Assessing the Value of Intelligence: Lessons for Leaders

Monday, May 14th, 2012 - 10:24
Applying power in all its forms to secure the present and future is ultimately a leadership challenge. That challenge is especially complex in the current century when the forms and patterns of security are changing in so many ways at an accelerated pace than ever before. The capabilities required to threaten a nation, region, or even global stability are available to both rich and impoverished nation states, as well as small networks of people who can and do operate relatively independent of any nation state. There is more data available than ever before to make sense of this era.

Dr. Robert Childs interview

Friday, September 4th, 2009 - 20:00
National Defense University
Radio show date: 
Sat, 09/05/2009
Intro text: 
Conversation with Leaders: A Conversation with Dr. Robert D. Childs Senior Director, Information Resources Management College, National Defense University
Magazine profile: 
Complete transcript: 
Full Radio Interview Transcript

Robert Childs
Senior Director
IRM College

Originally Broadcast July 11, 2009
Washington, DC


Mr. Morales: Welcome to another edition of the Business of Government Hour. I'm Albert Morales, your host and managing partner of the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Both in the corporate world and throughout the government community, information remains a highly valuable asset. Information resource management for today's society requires talented, informed, and effective leaders who will overcome economic and political pressures, adjust with the changes of national security, and leverage enterprise information technologies.

With us today to discuss his efforts in this area is our very special guest, Dr. Robert Childs, Senior Director at the Information Resource Management College within the National Defense University.

Dr. Childs, welcome to our show. It's a pleasure having you.

Dr. Childs: I'm very happy to be here today.

Mr. Morales: Also, joining us today is Jonathan Breul, Executive Director of the IBM Center for Business of Government. Jonathan, welcome back. Good to have you.

Mr. Breul: Thanks, Al.

Mr. Morales: Dr. Childs, or may I call you Bob?

Dr. Childs: Yes.

Mr. Morales: Bob, let's start by providing our listeners with some context about your organization. Can you take a few minutes and provide us an overview of the history and mission of the Information Resources Management College at NDU and how does it support the overarching mission of the National Defense University?

Dr. Childs: What I'd like to do is take you back in history and give a context, but I want to start in the future.

I want to start right now and we've just completed celebrating our 20th anniversary this last September and it made us think about a lot of things that have gone on in the past with the history of the college and it's very much paralleled society and what's gone on there. We started thinking about what we really do and we came up with the line, "Shaping the Future." We put that in our catalog and then we talked more about what does, "Shaping the Future" mean? What do we really do with our classes and our programs? We discovered that what we're really doing is crossing boundaries--interagency boundaries, international boundaries, and boundaries with the private sector. Building communities of likeminded people was the second thing that we figured out that we do. And by doing these things, we actually transform organizations.

Now, let's flash back in history. Why was National Defense University formed?

Back in 1976, the University was formed and the idea was to bring together senior leaders, primarily military leaders at the time and, since that has grown to the interagency, about 25 percent of the students at National Defense University are interagency.

In 1982, Lieutenant General Pustay had the vision and the idea that someday computers would be central to everything that we were doing and leaders needed to know something about computers and he thought, to prepare leaders, he needed something like this and, at the time, there was the Department of Defense Computer Institute and he said, "I think I'll bring that under the auspices of National Defense University." And he did this.

Flash ahead to 1988. Robert Helms, at that time, was taking a look at the systems within the Federal government and automated information systems were costing billions of dollars and software was becoming prevalent and it was commonplace both in the private and public sector. So the question became, "What kind of skills sets do people need in information technology?" and "What type of management and leadership challenges and competencies did these individuals need to lead what was going on within the information world as yet fairly well undefined?"

Then, what happened is, under Lieutenant General Brad Hausner, the University took the Department of Defense Computer Institute and decided to upgrade the faculty to go from people that were technicians to, more or less, people that were practitioners, managers, and leaders within the information fields. They wanted to reorient the curriculum, make it more graduate level than more technical. They wanted to relocated from the Navy Yard and bring the expertise over to National Defense University where all of the other students from the National War College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces were located. And they wanted to rename the institution. So that's how it all started.

Mr. Morales: Around some more specifics, how big is the Information Resources Management College? Can you give us a sense of the size of the budget and perhaps the number of full-time employees there?

Dr. Childs: Certainly. The number of employees varies between filling on hires and military deployments and everything, but it's around eighty-five. Fifty faculty members, thirty-five staff members doing different things. We're organized to really be flexible, innovative, creative, and be a hothouse for ideas and address concerns that leaders in the information age have.

I was part of the group back in 1988 that considered moving the college and then I came over as the Academic Dean in 1991, so I've been with the college since its inception, more or less. But at the very beginning, we set out to do four things that were important then and they're important today.

The first was be a distinctive institution. Be unique.

The way we did that, we went out and benchmarked against other colleges, other universities, other institutes. The London School of Economics. I went to Singapore, I went to different institutions in Europe, and I was trying to learn how we could take their practices and use them. What I found out is we were very unique already and, halfway through the conversations, they were turning to me saying, well, what else are you thinking about doing? It seems that you're doing these things."

Point Two. Focus on the customer and the customer is either individuals or organizations. I look at both that way because sometimes individuals will come to us, sometimes we go to larger organizations like FAA or EPA or state departments.

The third point is secure and sustain the allegiance of DOD in the Federal community. If you don't have allegiance, if you don't have money coming in, you can't sustain your programs and since then, we've added the private sector in international.

And the last one, which is interesting, it's achieve national and international recognition. Some people say, "Well, why are you concerned about that?" Well, it's the fastest way to get attention and to let other people know what you have and what you can contribute.

Mr. Morales: That's great. You mentioned that about 25 percent of the population enrolled, I believe you said, are interagency, so who exactly is eligible to enroll in the college?

Dr. Childs: Okay. As far as the interagency goes, this is a mid-level to senior leader program, so we're talking about TS12, majors, and above.

I might mention about our population, we're 70 percent DOD and 30 percent, as of today, the 100 percent of DOD, 70 percent of those are civilian versus military which is a mirror image of the National War College in the Industrial College. That has expanded and we're trying to push the limits on getting private sector students in also because, just take Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, half the people over there are private sector. They're contractors. And I think we need to educate these people with the government people at the same time. Also, interagency is big, as you know, and the concept of the national security professional is coming into play and the skills that we teach, the competencies we teach are really not skills just for Chief Information Officers, they're skills for anybody who is a manager or a leader today.

Mr. Breul: Bob, with this overview, could you tell us a bit more about your role as the Senior Director of the IRM College? What are you specific responsibilities and duties?

Dr. Childs: Well, obviously, to run a quality institution. That's first and foremost. I turn the academic programs over to my academic team, Dr. Elizabeth McDaniel, who does an exceptional job in that area. We have a number of different programs, but my job is to push the boundaries.

The areas I'm working on most right now are the international area because we have coalition partners, allies, friendly countries and it's a type of soft power. When you can help your allies and friends, when you can work on things that have to do with interoperability and make their processes and procedures better, you're not only helping them, you're helping this country in the national security arena, too. Also, the private sector. I'm spending a lot of time and energy with the private sector right now because, as you know, Jonathan, in our labs, the private sector is donating and loaning a lot of equipment which Federal employees wouldn't get to see otherwise and we can put it in our information labs, our technology labs, our information assurance labs, our crisis management labs, and it's kind of one-stop shopping. The other part of what I do, I'm supposed to be the cheerleader. I'm out there enthusiasm, pushing, going, "Get on the bandwagon, we've got something good to offer," and I'm the salesman doing it.

Mr. Breul: With all these responsibilities in front of you, what are your top three challenges that you face in your position and how are you addressing them?

Dr. Childs: The top one is sense and respond to the environment. You have to sense that environment and find out what's going on. Like we've migrated, for example, from resident programs to a distributed learning program so we could get people into our program. It's about access; it's not about scalability in the case of distributed learning. We do education in context where we will design programs for different agencies. We believe in reusable code. In other words, we may have different programs. FAA may come to us and say, "Hey, I need a jumpstart program for some of our future leaders. What can you pull from your process improvement, from your organizational development courses, from your emerging technologies and design a special course for us?"

The private sector, that's a great opportunity. Like I said, I'd rather look at things as opportunities. The private sector, they're in the business area, but I've found that a lot of the attitude of, "How can I help the country?" the private sector is just looking for ways to help out also and I can't speak enough of that of the help that the private sector has added to the college and made it what it is today as far as the latest technologies and best practices and they're always wide opened to our students going out and making either local visits or our Advanced Management Program actually travels for a week and goes around the country to different agencies and they open their arms and they share everything with us and I think that's extremely important.

Mr. Morales: Now, Bob, you're clearly very passionate about IRM and what you do. I'm curious, how did you get started and, as you reflect over the years that you've spent at the college, how has your management and leadership style perhaps changed?

Dr. Childs: To use a clich�, it was almost "the perfect storm." I went through the MAT program at Duke and then I got a Doctorate degree from the University of Denver and these were in the areas of teaching and educational management. Then, I went through the Duke Fuqua School, the Advanced Management Program and, there, I was with a lot of industry people. From there, starting my military career, I was chief of an instructor training branch, I learned about lifelong learning there and how important it was, continuing education. I was part of the initial group that built an institution at the Community College of the Air Force so I learned a little bit about institutional building. I worked military personnel policy, the education side. I was involved in seeing what went on with the development and the founding of the National Defense University back in 1976. From that moment on, I said, "Boy, this is an institution that can have a profound impact on this country." Later, I was a student at the National War College, a senior research fellow there. I became Director of Planning and Programs at the National Defense University.

The most significant experience I ever had was with the American Council and Education. I had a fellowship with them for one year and it was a program to learn how to be a college president or a college dean. I had the opportunity to work for Dr. George Johnson, who was a president, and he literally took George Mason from a little known community college to an incredible institution that has world renowned programs in some areas and many of the practices that I use at the IRM College, I learned from Dr. Johnson. I can't give him enough credit.

So all of these things coming together and my passion for building teams and being successful and, to be quite blunt, wanting to be the best, drives me daily. I want the institution to be the best; I want people who are passionate about their work; and I want the college to contribute to national security.

Mr. Morales: How has the IRM College evolved to become a recognized global learning community? We will ask Dr. Robert Childs, Senor Director at the Information and Resources Management College within NDU to share with us when the conversation about management continues on the Business of Government hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to the Business of Government hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales and today's conversation is with Dr. Robert Childs, Senior Director at the Information and Resources Management College within the National Defense University. Also joining us today from IBM is Jonathan Brule.

Despite its traditional hierarchical structure which is based on command-and-control systems and culture, the U.S. Department of Defense is committed to becoming a net centric environment.

Now, higher education is another very tradition bound institution. Bob, first, would you tell us more about net centricity and it's applicability to higher education and, second, how does net centric capabilities allow the IRM college to sense and respond to students, stakeholders, and practitioners interests and needs?

Dr. Childs: Well, first of all, as far as higher education, historically, it's been a tradition-bound, slow-moving organization. It's kind of like an organization that wants to do something, but it's got a lot of constituencies and there has to be buy-in from the different constituencies and that always slows things down. The Department of Defense, also, has an ingrained cultural need and bias for a hierarchical structure, so we can't discount those things.

We can take a look at some laws that have happened. Goldwater-Nichols in 1986 was required and it came into being because the Congress thought that the services needed to work together better, they needed to be one voice, they needed to be integrated.

What is net centricity? A lot of people have different definitions of that and I think what I like best is, "The objective is to find and exploit information," but the network is only one of the ways to do this thing. Let me talk about what Defense is trying to do and then I'll try to change to what the college is trying to do.

What Defense is trying to do is provide needed information in a timely manner to those that need to make the decisions and, the better the information, the faster the information, the better the decision they could make. How do I provide data and information to the decision-maker? Supply chain management is a perfect example. If you look at the private sector and, often, the military and the government turns to the private sector to see how companies use information technology and use a net centric operation. The Department of Defense have been working and pushing this concept and it's a good concept, but implementing it, it's not really an overall network. It is truly a network of networks where you plug-and-play and you can come into it where you need to get to it. That leads to the question, "What can we do in government in net centricity?"

I'd like to drop the word net centricity for a minute and talk about things like communities of practice which we've had for a long time where likeminded individuals can get together and share information and the other things that are going on, the wikis, the blogs, Facebook.

Now, the problem is separating the personal from the business. I think you need a corporate strategy to use it. How the corporate, how is is the organization going to use it for mutual benefit? I think reaching out to other institutions for awareness and everything is incredibly important.

What we have done at the IRM College, we're working with a number of groups like the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. They're very good in connections between industry and DOD. The Industry Advisory Council and the American Council on Technology are very good industry-to-government in general. There are many academic partners that we have and we have many partners in the private sector.

So when you talk about net centricity, I like to think of a hub. The new vision of the IRM College is the global hub for educating, informing, and connecting people. Net centricity, to me, is connecting people with the information and other people when and where they need it.

Mr. Morales: As a follow up, how has this type of sense and respond approach enabled you to take what was arguably a little known institution of four hundred students in the early '90s to the institution that you have today and what have been some of the lessons learned along that path?

Dr. Childs: The lessons learned are have a lot of friends and a lot of partners. Let me give you a couple vignettes of things that happened. The National War College and the Industrial College students will attend our elective programs at the IRM College. We had some students from Romania. They really liked what we were doing and they came back to us after their 10-month program at National War College was completed and they said, "We need an academy that deals with chief information officer competencies in our country. Can you help us?" We talked to OSD and they encouraged us to do this, so we helped those people set up a CIO academy. Well, there are other people in Europe that go to that academy and, all of a sudden, we're now getting students from Bulgaria, Georgia, the Czech Republic, and the list goes on and on that way.

The same thing happened with Sweden. We had a student that came over, went through our 14-week Advanced Management Program and he convinced their government that there were areas that we teach in information assurance that were absolutely critical to Sweden. Consequently, I have a team of four faculty members that are teaching over in Sweden.

Singapore. We've had a number of students from Singapore. They talked to other people, and now, we're hearing from Japan, we're hearing from South Korea. Once somebody finds out about us, it tends to spread like wildfire, but it's person-to-person.

Singapore. We've had a number of students from Singapore. They talked to other people, and now, we're hearing from Japan, we're hearing from South Korea. Once somebody finds out about us, it tends to spread like wildfire, but it's person-to-person.

So it kind of works that way. It's a little bit hit-and-miss, to be quite honest with you.

Mr. Breul: Tell us more about the Chief Financial Officer's Academy. How does that seek to inform students to learn most effectively and efficiently how to use government resources and work across boundaries, particularly to achieve national security goals and who is eligible to participate in this program?

Dr. Childs: The CFO Academy, I'd like to tell the story on that because the history of the IRM College is individual faculty members going out and doing things, making connections, and using their expertise. In this case, Dr. Jay Alden went out and he talked to Linda Combs and Linda Combs suggested that CFOs needed many of the strategic leadership concepts that the IRM College was teaching. We then went to Tina Jonas who was the Comptroller at the time and Tina was very interested in establishing a CFO Academy and, lo' and behold, when you look at the competencies, you know, you overlay the competencies of a CIO and a CFO and many are very the same, probably 65 percent, somewhere in that range. What they were looking for is, there are plenty of budgeting schools and schools that teach the budgeting function, but there was no place where Chief Financial Officers could go and understand how to use information and information technology and how to become strategic leaders. In other words, don't give me the budget, sit down and be part of the strategic planning team. And what better place and meet and learn what CIOs are thinking about and CFOs are thinking about than putting them together in classes and letting them work together and think about these things?

That's how it came together and, once again, I'm back to one of those principles, crossing boundaries. We just crossed a big boundary there. The program seems to be getting legs and it seems to be generating a lot of interest.

Mr. Morales: So it's more than just the technical aspects of their work, but how their work fits into the broader context of the organization and its mission?

Dr. Childs: It's about strategic leading is what it's about. Technology is only a small part of it, but obviously, in the job, using and moving information is critical. I mean, if you look at your companies, your insurance companies and your banking companies, for example, they're huge in using information, information technology, and information assurance because they have to or they're dead in the water, so they have to become strategic thinkers.

Mr. Morales: Now, some have referred to your Advanced Management Program as a three-and-a-half month learning boot camp. Could you elaborate on this program and its method of teaching and what competencies does this program seek to bestow on its students?

Dr. Childs: The Advanced Management Program is a 14-week program and that was going to be out main program, but changing with the times, agencies couldn't give up that many people for that long a period of time so that's when we started breaking it up, the different competencies, into intensive weeklong courses. The program was modeled after your typical executive program at Harvard or Duke or Stanford or someplace like that.

What we're trying to do is it's a seminar environment that is crossing boundaries, once again. You'll have somebody with the State Department, EPA, FAA, Department of Defense, a few international students. In fact, I might mention that the class normally has about thirty-two students now and about 25 percent of those are international. As a sideline, it's fascinating because a number of these countries, originally when we opened to the international students, we thought we were going to get the UK and France and Italy and Japan, but it's Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, places like that because a lot of these countries see the use of information and information technology as a way to leapfrog the industrial age. They don't have to hardwire everything, they can go to wireless and they can become world competitors, whether it's in business or whether it's in military, by using these techniques.

That program was a leadership program. Our concern from the very beginning was the military is exceptionally good in educating their people from going out from squadron level to command and staff to the senior levels, the national war colleges, the colleges that the Army and the Air Force run, but there is no similar program for civilians. Our thought was, okay, the civilians not only provide the continuity, but need to provide the leadership, so what kind of leadership program can we put in place for civilians to come to?

That was the purpose of that program and it's fulfilling that very well today.

Mr. Morales: That's great. What is cloud computing and how is IRM College leading DOD in operating in virtual environments? We will ask Dr. Robert Childs, Senor Director at the Information and Resources Management College when the conversation about management continues on the Business of Government hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to the Business of Government hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and today's conversation is with Dr. Robert Childs, Senior Director at the Information and Resources Management College within the National Defense University. Also joining us today from IBM is Jonathan Brule.

Bob, I understand that the IRM College is leading DOD in operating in virtual environments. For those who may not know, what is a virtual world and what are virtual world technologies? More specifically, if I may, how is that technology being used at DOD?

Dr. Childs: Let me talk about how we got into this business. Way back in 1996, we had what we called a virtual reality center. We called it "driver," D-R-I-V-R, Decision Room Incorporating Virtual Reality. We were ahead of our time. In fact, I actually let that be dissembled after about 2000 and it's kind of fascinating the way it came back. We had a faculty member, Dr. Paulette Robinson, that met with out four folks in 2007 in the summer. They put on a small conference later that year and the small conference quickly grew, by the spring, to two hundred people and over two thousand in-world. What we're talking about here, these are simulated worlds with lots of media rich stimuli. You have avatars, which are creatures, creations, that you make up. The big one you hear about most of the time is Second Life because, literally, you can go have a second life. There are many ways that these things can be used. You really can depict the real world; you can have simulations with multi players; but these have to be rule-based, they have to have actions and the big deal, I think, for government is the community that takes place within these virtual worlds. But it's a synthetic environment where you're totally immersed.

I'll give three quick examples. The Navy Undersea Warfare Center is using it. They have an electronic library in there and they have underwater exhibits. TRADOC is using it in their Virtual Warrior University and they're using Active Worlds which is another world. And the Air Force is using something called My Base and it's an environment where they plan to have the future of all their education and training. Those are a couple of examples.

Mr. Morales: Aside from virtual environments, we also hear a lot these days about cloud computing. What precisely is cloud computing and, from your perspective, to what extent would be every bit as transformative as the Web itself?

Dr. Childs: Well, cloud computing is not necessarily new. In fact, I had been pushed by my faculty for the last fifteen months to put on a symposium about cloud computing and I resisted. I wasn't sure what it was. Since then, you can't pick up a magazine or a publication without talking about cloud computing.

What cloud computing claims to offer from a remote server is an Internet connection, and that's all you need, and you can go in and literally computing becomes like a utility. Right now, you have your desk, you have a hard drive, and you're now using all that capacity, so the idea is, one, you'll go in and buy capacity. It can either be hosted by your organization in a private cloud or it can be in a public cloud. To my way of thinking, it compartmentalizes services, applications, social media, and it allows you, if we want to use the word "thin client," you can literally deliver all these services anywhere as long as you have a common access card. You could be on a plane, you could be at home. As long you have your common access, you have access to the data in the applications.

The concern has to do with security. Who is controlling it? It also has to do with bandwidth and is it going to be public, private, or a hybrid? For example, DISA is running their RACE program which is very good. It gets into supply chain management.

Mr. Breul: Bob, tell us a bit about the college's Information Leaders Program. What are the topics that are covered? Who do you invite to speak? What are the benefits of hosting these kinds of events and, should someone be interested, how are going to find out more information?

Dr. Childs: The Information Leadership Symposium actually grew out of our 20th anniversary and our thought there was, "How can we highlight our faculty in the topics that we're very good at? How can we highlight our expertise? How can we address issues that many people want to know about, but they don't want to go to a formal class and go through a formal program that's accredited to get that information?" Last year, we picked three areas. We picked "Cyber Security, The Privacy Aspect of IT," "Virtual Worlds," and we are, in fact, leading a consortium in Virtual Worlds for the Federal government of over a thousand people at this time; and "Web 2.0" and, Jonathan, I believe you attended that.

What we did is we looked out and we said, okay, who is doing something in these areas? And we always try to get a blend of some of our people that are experts working with private sector and bringing in the public sector that show the best practices that are going on, so you have a blend of the three. So far, we haven't really done anything internationally on that, but we expect to in the future.

Mr. Breul: Let's talk a bit about the rise of the so-called net generation. These are the younger workers who grew up on the Web and digital gadgets. How are you integrating this generation with the established culture of senior leadership which didn't grow up on such a digital environment?

Dr. Childs: Well, obviously, the net generation knows how to use these gadgets, so the question is, "How can we accommodate these people that have really good ideas, but in many cases, have no concern about security, no concern about time, not wanting to show up at an office, wanting to work from home when face-to-face is often better? How do we do all these things?" The older generation, I don't want to discount them, there are many people that are "older" that are very good in these areas, too, and they can blend practices, experience, and technology, so I don't want to totally discount them.

How do we do it at the college? Well, we have 10 research assistants and these people are college students ranging from undergraduate to PhD students who come in and show us how to use the latest and greatest technologies. Obviously, we learn from them and get ideas from them.

Faculty members, I look for people that like technology. You really don't go out and hire a PhD in social media, you get somebody who may--I've got some lawyers, for examples, that are very good in these areas because they use them all the time. We have a group called eSolutions, eLearning, and these people look at the technologies and they use your Facebook, they use your Twitter, they use these things all the time.

I think the larger question is, "How do we capture these technologies in a strategy versus just incidental use and leverage that somehow?" And, obviously, groups like the Industry Advisory Group and AFCE and other groups like that are taking a look at this because they have senior membership and the senior people across the Federal government as well as industry have to be concerned.

I mean, if you want an eye-opening experience, go visit Google. You're out there and these people come in with their fleece jacket on, riding their bike, they just have their laptop, they plug it in, they don't have an office, they're very casual about things, but they're very smart. In many cases, they're allowed to pursue the areas that interest them. They don't have a defined job; they may have a defined area to work in. So I think this is an issue that faces all of us and, if you look at the conferences, a multi-generational group will draw a lot of attention at conferences.

Mr. Breul: Tell us more about your Education and Context Program and the additional learning activities outside the traditional classroom setting. How do these programs connect the IRM faculty and the students with real world practice?

Dr. Childs: Okay. We have a number of areas where we've done that. As I mentioned in the beginning, we started out with only resident programs, we added distributed learning, and our attitude used to be, "Here's the program. Take it the way it is." That was fine administratively. That was nice that most organizations, most educational institutions are tradition bound and, you know, day classes, this is the way it works. Here is how many hours there are.

Well, we started having agencies come to us--EPA, FAA, GAO--and they said, "Hey, we need some of the things you're offering, but we don't want them in a one-week program or an eight course program. We need a jumpstart program for our younger potential leaders. We need some stuff in enterprise architecture but we don't want a course." What we did, to put it in software terms, we started doing reusable code. We took a look at our programs and we'd pull a couple hours from here, a couple hours from there, and we could tailor programs so we called "education in context" and we would put on the program and design it for what the customer wanted. If you go back to one of my principles, focus on the customer and what they want. We're doing a lot with the various combatant commands around the world, the U.S. combatant commands, and telepresence is actually going to help us project faculty expertise from our college out there.

Getting back to the education and context, they're telling us what their requirements are and we're pulling that from things that we're very, very good at.

Mr. Morales: Bob, we've only got about a minute-and-a-half left and you've spent some time talking about your work internationally, but I'm curious, are you looking to expand internationally and what might that look like?

Dr. Childs: Yes, we are looking to expand internationally. It's a connected world and we have to do things together and we're approaching a very aggressive outreach program. We plan to offer conferences in the Middle East and in Asia during this coming twelve months. We're working with OSD in this area, areas that of interest to them.

The tricky part is trying, if we put something on in the Far East, how can we get government employees in, in the combatant commands, say, Paycom, as well as, say, South Korea and Japan and Singapore, if they're interested, or in the Middle East, where do we hold a conference, do we hold it in Bahrain, do we hold it in Dubai and who do we bring in to that?

By the way, when you look around in those countries, I was just in Dubai and I'm driving down the street and I see Cisco and HP and IBM and these people all know technology, but their companies want the employees to start thinking strategically, so what topics do I pick and how do I pull it together? Mr. Morales: What does the future hold for the Information and Resources Management College? We will ask Dr. Robert Childs, Senor Director at the IRM College to share with us when the conversation about management continues on the Business of Government hour.

Mr. Morales: What does the future hold for the Information and Resources Management College? We will ask Dr. Robert Childs, Senor Director at the IRM College to share with us when the conversation about management continues on the Business of Government hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to our final segment of the Business of Government hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales and today's conversation is with Dr. Robert Childs, Senior Director at the Information and Resources Management College within the National Defense University. Also joining us today from IBM is Jonathan Brule.

Bob, as technology continues to evolve, it's important to look ahead and anticipate the innovations. Could you tell us more about how you do trend spotting, specifically, how advantageous is it to monitor consumer technology trends for their applicable use in government? Could you provide some examples of where this has been successful?

Dr. Childs: That's a very interesting question. I think it was about five years ago that COMDEX stopped having a conference. I may be off by a year or two on that. I was at a security conference in Las Vegas and tied into the security conference was a consumer electronics convention which has about 140,000 people attending it and it's got every electronic device, every major company. Corporations spend, I've heard, as high as a million dollars on displays on the floor; they're huge demonstrations. I was overwhelmed. The first time I went, I couldn't even figure out how to get around the place, you know, but I knew it was important and I went back.

Also, it brought in the guest speakers. This is where Bill Gates would speak and unveil what Microsoft was going to do and the latest technologies; John Chambers from Cisco would come out and talk about what was going on; HP; all the top executives would speak and they'd unveil what was happening. And the fascinating part was they would bring people from entertainment, from the Federal government, from the movie making industry and talk about how technology was affecting their areas.

Well, I started looking at things like that and I said, "Wow! The impact to the consumer is going to be great."

Now, a little vignette that goes with that. Tony Seiko (phonetic), who was the Chief Information Officer at the GAO a few years back, we were at a Gartner Luncheon and he was talking, this was quite a few years back, he was talking about Blackberries and he said, there's this new device people are using and we're wondering whether we should support it within the enterprise. Well, this is a perfect example of how the consumer or, in this case, the government employee taking an electronic device and changing the way government operates.

Nobody today would argue that the Blackberry has changed the way we do business and the way we think about things. Well, there are other technologies that we've run into and it actually ties into our labs in a number of things that we're trying to do. Telepresence is one. Telepresence is such an improvement over VTC. You really can be there and see somebody. There's a lot of advertisements on TV and we're going to use telepresence to project our faculty expertise to these conferences we're going to put on and the courses we're going to offer around the world. There is a number of things that cloud computing is going to do. The concept of plug-and-play wherever you are. The technologies are going to change the workplace. We talked about net generation people. They're not going to have an office. There's going to be a space that they come to.

I recently had faculty down at Duke University and we had our NDU librarian down there with us and, really, it's more like a Starbuck's environment. You come in, you can have a drink, you can sit down, you can plug in your computer, you can collaborate these things, or you don't even have to plug in, there are wireless areas, too. So there is a number of things that are going on that way.

Some other things that we've run into that were important is the ultra mobile personal computers. These are small computers that have tremendous power that you can hold in one hand and these are really important for unmanned vehicles and submarines. We started working with a group called OKEO to do that.

Voice translation, which is being used in Iraq, that was one of the biggest problems that we had when you're encountering somebody that you don't have somebody that speaks that language, these voice translators can do it for you. It's fascinating how they work. That was a technology.

Nine to ten years ago, PDAs weren't that big a deal, so I think we have to look at all these things that are coming out and they will have a dramatic impact tying into the new generation that uses that, tying into the mobility that it gives us, tying into the workplace of the future and telework. All these technologies are incredibly important. This is a big convention out there that shows all those technologies.

Mr. Morales: How does this impact the classroom of the future?

Dr. Childs: Well, I think the classroom of the future and the workplace of the future are almost one and the same thing. I'm facing a situation right now where we're expanding and I don't have office space to go into so we're thinking about, okay, you don't have an office space, Al, you know, or Jonathan or me, there's an area that we come to and, by the way, we may be in for a couple days this week, we're not going to be in for five days, we're not going to be in at 6:00 in the morning, but we may be here on weekends, we may be here at night, and you have to tie the lifestyle that people want and you have to give them the collaboration tools so they can do their jobs.

We have people who are teaching distributed learning and this is a real live case. I had a faculty member on the beaches in Hawaii conducting his distributive learning classes, I mean, why does he have to be in a classroom or in an office to do that? He's got his computer, he's got his students connected, that's all he needs. So it's kind of going to be anywhere.

Mr. Morales: I'm sure in that situation the students would like to be with him on the beach.

Dr. Childs: Yeah, I'm sure they would, too.

Mr. Breul: Well, Bob, let's switch the discussion to you. You've recently been honored as one of the Federal 100 award winners for your outstanding leadership to the CIO community and for innovative and progressive programs at the college. You were also honored with the 2009 Eagle Award for being a pioneer in distance learning. Could you tell us about each award and, importantly, what does it mean to be recognized by your peers?

Dr. Childs: Obviously, when you're recognized by your peers, you feel very good, but also, as a leader, I'd be the first to recognize that, a lot of times, a leader gets the award that the organization has earned. I'm proud to have gotten the award, but I recognize it's through the hard work of many other people.

The college, going back to my point at the very beginning, achieve national and international recognition, I think receiving recognition like this when you tie it to the institution help publicize your institution and, to be honest, that's the important part for me.

This interview is the same kind of thing. I can talk about the college and what the college is doing and maybe some of your listeners will be interested in what we're doing in context. We've received a number of awards, the Distributed Learning Award, we were one of the first ones.

We worked with Blackboard and helped them become DOD compliant and the rest of Defense did that. We're very proud of that work and, actually, it was a former student that put us in for that. We had no idea this award was coming.

Recently, we were also a finalist for the Management of Change Shop Information Solutions Award for what Paulette Robinson had done with Virtual Worlds Consortium.

Elizabeth McDaniel, our academic dean, had gotten an award for the college in telework in our policies. We allow our faculty, as I mentioned, to telework. They all don't get to go to Hawaii to do that, but they do that.

And we've received a number of corporate university awards for innovation and best practices.

Awards, it's kind of like you go into a restaurant and you look up on the wall and it says, "Best Italian Food," it doesn't necessarily say when it happened, but it recognized you for being good, I think recognition is important for an institution.  

Dr. Childs: I don't know, I guess it's been three or four years that we started talking about partnerships, but for many years, as the academic dean, I was encapsulated and focused on programs and we started with academic partnerships and it's like anything else, the more people you're connected to, the better you can do. Partnerships is central to what we're doing. In the private sector, we have over thirty partners now.

Now, I would say on partnerships, it's hard. Building a relationship, like a marriage, takes a lot of work on both sides. There have to be mutual interests, you have to put time into it, and I think the rewards are unbelievable and it spreads, you know, to use your term, Al, the virus. One partner leads to another partner leads to another partner and, when you have a number of smart faculty members out making connections -- I use the Kay Alden and Linda Combs thing for the CFO Academy -- the big thing for me is to contain that within the purpose of the college and decide what partnerships are worth our time and how much energy to put into it. Obviously, the areas that we're pushing is interagency, international, and private. The DOD connections we have, although we are now reaching out to the CoComms more than we ever have because we feel there's a need there and we want to fulfill that need, building teams is a lot of fun.

And I'll just mention this one. Mr. Grimes, when he was Assistant Secretary at NII, had suggested that we take a look at this company, TIBCO, out in the West Coast which is into predictive intelligence. We started working with them and they suggested that we might want to put our conference on in the Far East because there was a lot of interest there, and so, all of a sudden, we now have TIBCO bringing in partners and interest that way.

And then, TIBCO says, by the way, IBM is doing certain things in this area and working in virtual worlds and we know you're interested, so all of a sudden, it all ties together, but managing it is unbelievable and I'm having to bring more staff on to do that. It just mushrooms.

Mr. Morales: Along this train of thought, what is your vision for the college? What direction will you take the college within, say, the next three to four years? How do plan to educate, inform, and connect information age leaders?

Dr. Childs: I want to read a quote. We had a history written up here and I was asked the question, "If I could diagram my vision for the future," and I'm quoting this now. I described it as,

"A series of at least 10 interconnecting crossroads all meeting at the hub of an English-style roundabout. The titles of the roads were Defense, Policy, Economics, Government, Private Sector, International, Interagency, Business Processes, Best Practices, and Emerging Technologies. Every road was chocked full of speeding and honking traffic and numerous potential for collision or collaboration. I was the cheerleading cop at the middle of that traffic circle swinging my arms, shaking my body, and blowing the whistle. I had total confidence I was about to orchestrate a world class symphony and I can't blame the diagram on exuberance of youth because it happened just a few years ago."

Well, there's a lot going on and my job is to create that environment so the creative faculty and staff I have can bring these things together.

How do I see the future? I think it's going to be totally mobile, incredibly compact, ridiculously nano tiny, and eye-watering powerful. And everything around you that you see will become hyperized, socialized, networkized, and virtualized.

Mr. Morales: That's a great visual, just a wonderful visual. Bob, I have one last question and, obviously, you're very passionate about your work and you've been very, very successful, but what advice might you give to someone out there who perhaps is considering a career in public service as you have undertaken?

Dr. Childs: I would say, number one, you want to do the best that you can do. You want to be the best. You want to follow your passion. You need to take risks, but they have to be reasonable risks. You have to do the right thing, but sometimes you have to push the boundaries a little bit. You have to develop partners and friendships. If you don't, those are the things that get you through the hard times and help you along and make it fun and, as my wife likes to say, "Enjoy the journey because every step of the journey is the journey."

We climb mountains and the interesting thing is you think your objective is to get to the summit, but the fun is really planning it and working to get there. Once you achieve it, it's almost anti-climatic. It's the journey that you have to enjoy.

Mr. Morales: That's a wonderful perspective. Thank you. Unfortunately, we have reached the end of our time now. I do want to thank you for fitting us into your busy schedule, but more importantly, Jonathan, I would like to thank you for your dedicated service to our country.

Dr. Childs: Well, thank you very much. The last thing that I have to offer is, anybody who is interested in the IRM College, contact me at and we do have the cloud symposium coming up, 15 July, it's on our Web site. Just look up and you can sign up for it. It's free.

Mr. Morales: That's great. Thank you.

This has been the Business of Government hour featuring a conversation with Dr. Robert Childs, Senior Director at the Information and Resources Management College within the National Defense University. My co-host has been Jonathan Brule, Executive Director at the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

As you enjoy the rest of your day, please take time to remember the men and women of our armed and civil services abroad who may not be able to hear this morning's show on how we're improving their government, but who deserve our unconditional respect and support.

For The Business of Government Hour, I'm Albert Morales. Thank you for listening.

Announcer: This has been The Business of Government Hour. Be sure to join us every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. And visit us on the web at There you can learn more about our programs, and get a transcript of today's conversation. Until next week, it's


Richard Skinner interview

Friday, December 19th, 2008 - 20:00
Radio show date: 
Sat, 12/20/2008

Terry J. Pudas interview

Friday, June 1st, 2007 - 20:00
"Transformation can allow you to do things more efficiently. And that's what the question is about; it's not about numbers, it's about capability."
Radio show date: 
Sat, 06/02/2007
Intro text: 
Innovation; Strategic Thinking ...
Innovation; Strategic Thinking
Complete transcript: 

Originally Broadcast Saturday, June 2, 2007

Washington, D.C.

Welcome to The Business of Government Hour, a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business.

The Business of Government Hour is produced by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which was created in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving government effectiveness.

You can find out more about the Center by visiting us on the web at

And now, The Business of Government Hour.

Mr. Morales: Good morning. I'm Albert Morales, your host, and managing partner of the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

President George Bush's mandate for defense transformation was "to challenge the status quo and envision a new architecture of American defense for decades to come."

Over the past several years, it is becoming increasingly clear that defense transformation is not simply a response to global terrorism, but rather a way to leverage the core strength of the U.S. armed forces, which is its ability to adapt and change.

As the rate of change of technology continues to accelerate, it will be even more important that the U.S. military keep pace.

With us this morning to discuss this critical challenge is our special guest, Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources.

Good morning, Terry.

Mr. Pudas: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Mr. Morales: And joining us is in our conversation is Chuck Prow, IBM's Defense Industry leader.

Good morning, Chuck.

Mr. Prow: Good morning, Al, Terry.

Mr. Morales: Terry, to provide our listeners an overall context on the subject of military transformation, could you give us a sense of the history, mission, and evolution of the DoD's Office of Forces Transformation and Resources, as well as its predecessor organization, the Office of Force Transformation?

Mr. Pudas: Sure, I'd be glad to. Let me just sort of go back in time, so maybe 5-1/2 years ago, when we first embarked on this journey. The President had declared transformation as a key priority. Secretary Rumsfeld clearly was charged was transforming the military for the new world, the new global security challenges in the 21st Century. And so my former boss, the late retired Vice Admiral Art Cebrowski, was asked to take the challenge up. The way we did that initially, of course, was we created an office that was intended to be a catalyst and a focal point for transformational thinking, and tried to jump start that kind of activity within the Department.

And so we went from that idea to creating a fairly modest office of about 15 people or So began to develop concepts of transformation. What was it, first of all? Everybody was kind of confused by this word. What do you really mean by transformation? And why do we need to do it? And of course, change is always very frightening for a lot of people -- how is it really going to affect me? And so that was a lot of the work we did in the first several years.

And besides just sort of the developing the concept, we tried to look at what are some alternative views of the future, perhaps with some alternative logic for the decision-makers as we run through this transformational activity. And then we actually created some sort of what we called experimental articles along the way as sort of tangible examples of those things.

So we went from there to last year, when we realigned the office within the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy to continue that kind of work within the Department. So essentially, we went from sort of this what is this and how is this going to affect me to the culture of the organization actually changing in a way where you can move this activity from outside and more closely align it with the formal processes within the building.

And so that's where we find ourselves today. We're a fairly young organization, obviously, but we're getting our portfolio together and developing the new relationships and making decisions about where you engage in certain processes and the things you can do to continue the work.

Mr. Morales: Now, certainly this area of transformation is very broad, so I'm curious, what is the size of the budget that you manage, and have you moved up from the 15 employees in your organization today than you were 3-1/2 years ago?

Mr. Pudas: Well, actually, the budget's remained fairly constant over the last several years, and it's fairly modest. I mean, we have probably around $5 or $6 million dollars that we use to catalyze projects with and research and studies and war-gaming kinds of events, and we always do that in collaboration with other partners, so we don't embark on these with ourselves. We try to develop a large community of interest in these things.

And the size of the office is about the same. We have about 15 to 20 folks comprised of sort of government employees and military officers as well as some outsourcing support, which we've done.

And so the question is, how do you do this with such a modest budget and few people? Well, you develop a lot of relationships with other folks. And so we have relationships with many of the think-tanks in town, and FFRDCs, or Federally Funded Research places, as well as academia, and quite frankly, with industry. We have -- all the large industries have groups of people that think about strategy and the future, and so we try to team with them as well. So you leverage a small amount of people and build a large virtual team.

Mr. Prow: Please describe your specific responsibilities and duties as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources.

Mr. Pudas: Well, I'll try to be as definitive as I can. The vision is really to align the transformational thinking, mainstream it within the Department, as I said, and be connected to some of those formal processes that look at the future strategic environment, think about what future capabilities might look like, and then participate in the processes along the way that lead to the fielding of those kinds of things. And so that's a major undertaking. As well as to continue to sort of push the envelope and look at alternative futures, look at alternative capabilities, look at what technology opportunities might be out there from a policy perspective.

And then part of my tasking is to be sort of the policy point of contact for all of those good transformation issues that are going on at the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, and of course, Allied Command Transformation down there as well.

So that takes up a significant amount of time, and then, of course, we want to look broadly across all the general purpose forces to look where those interdependencies might be, and highlight those kinds of things.

Mr. Prow: What are the top few challenges you face in your position, and how have you addressed those challenges?

Mr. Pudas: If you've ever worked in a large organization, which I'm sure both of you have, that catalyzing change is always very, very difficult. And so that's one of the specific challenges, obviously, to do that. A large organization has a tendency to be bureaucratic, and so you have to find ways to deal with that and still be effective.

For me personally, not having been within the mainstream here for some time, that's a challenge for me to understand how that works, and so we're doing that. And then of course, it's always a challenge because there's very many competing priorities. But we are not necessarily charged with worrying about the near term. Our job is to be somewhat custodians of the future. And so to have that mix and still be relevant to some of the current things that are going on is always somewhat of a challenge.

Mr. Morales: Terry, we had a few moments prior to our show to talk a little bit about your career, and some time that you spent with the German Navy. I'm curious, how did you get started in your career, and how did you start with Defense Transformation?

Mr. Pudas: Yes, it's very interesting. I had a career as a naval officer for 32 years. At one point there during Desert Storm, I was working for a fellow named Capt. Art Sebrowski, who I got acquainted with very well in a particular job that I had, and it was very interesting. And anybody that knows of him or has been around him knows he's a very unique individual. And so that was the beginning of my association. We then parted ways and went on our own careers, and we ended up working together again up at the Naval War College in his capacity as president, and he asked me to be somewhat of a special assistant.

At the time, his charge was to sort of catalyze transformation in the Navy, and so we worked very closely together for two or three years, and then of course, he was asked to come and take this post, and he asked me if I would be willing to help him do that. And it's pretty hard to pass up a chance like that, to really have a chance to contribute, and of course, it's very hard. He used to talk about what he had spent his professional career doing, and he used to describe it as working at the intersection of national security and large-scale change. And there isn't any more difficult task, but there also isn't one that's more rewarding than that.

That's sort of how I've evolved into this position, and then of course, he stepped down a few years ago, and then I became acting for a couple of years, and we continued the mantra, and then I ended up where I am today.

Mr. Morales: Well, that sounds like a very busy intersection you just described there.

Mr. Pudas: Yes, it is.

Mr. Morales: You used the term "catalyzing change," and so I'm curious, how has your previous experience, your 32 years as a Navy officer and as a pilot, how do you think that's prepared you for your current leadership role and informed your managed approach and leadership style?

Mr. Pudas: Well, first of all, to be a good leader and manager, you have to have some competence in a particular subject, which is always key. And I learned a lot from my former boss, obviously -- you've got to be able to craft a vision for people. And then you have to be able to inspire them towards that vision. And so those three big pieces right there are the areas you have to work very hard at.

I had been in leadership positions in the Naval service and large organizations, and so I had some experience with managing people and different things. I alSo of course, had a history of making my own changes. And so some of the things that I learned were that you have to make change a very inclusive activity; you can't expect people to sit at their desks and wait for permission to think. And so what you do is you invite people into the process, you try to inspire them towards this vision, and then you invite them in to help craft their own future or participate in the transformation. And so I think some of those things that I learned while I was in Naval service, some of those I learned with my former boss, but those have been things that have sort of served me quite well.

Mr. Morales: That's great.

What is the Defense Transformation?

We will ask Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources, to share with us when the conversation about management continues on The Business of Government Hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and this morning's conversation is with Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources .

Also joining us in our conversation from IBM is Chuck Prow, Defense Industry leader.

Terry, could you define transformation and transformation rate within the military context? What are some of the keys to transformation, and how has transformation changed from when then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld first established the transformation office?

Mr. Pudas: Well, defining transformation is somewhat difficult. I think what I'd like to do is maybe try to describe it for you.

Our concept at Transformation is really about doing those things that allow you to continue to have a competitive advantage. And so the concept is really based on the fact that if you are in a competitive environment, whether it's in a national security context or whether you're in industry, and you're not doing this thing called transformation or constant creativity and improvement, you soon find yourself in a very big pickle here.

You are essentially a strategic fixed target. And if you think about it, there's lots of industry examples, and of course, in history in our nation-state examples. So the concept is to this continuum of constant innovation and creativity, seeking those things that are going to be the source of your competitive advantage. And it's really at the high level, it's really about strategy. It's really about choosing a competitive space and then going about the work of creating organizations, capabilities, policies, those sorts of things that influence that competition in the space.

So if you think from your side in industry, it's really the same thing, right? You're not interested in chasing the emerging market; you really want to create the next market. It's about creating the future. The future that you would like. So that's the competitive space. So essentially all the activities come under that sort of large, large strategic concept.

There's a number of things you do. You try to understand the future security environment. People like to look at it through the lens of technology. But it's really much broader than that. It's about new concepts, new organizations, doing things differently with different technologies. It's about trying to understand underlying principles, right? Which all strategists do; they look out there and they say that's really interesting that this is happening, but why is it happening? And is there a way that I could influence this particular trend in a useful way to my advantage?

So things like that. What's going to be the source of perhaps your next competitive advantage kind of thing, and there's some big examples in the past. There's the one from the Army that I always usually use is when the Army, several decades ago, said we want to own the night. Okay, well, we turned that vulnerability into an enormous competitive advantage for the U.S. today.

And it's looking for things that are game changers, changing the game and changing the rules. Changing the basis for competition. When we, for example, decided to compete on the basis of precise navigation and timing, that yielded GPS, Global Positioning Satellite, right? It not only changed the battlefield, but it changed the world. So are there things like that out there that we should be thinking about as well?

But really, and this gets to your question about rate, but it really is about people, it's about the culture of the organization. And all senior leaders know that that's where the real competitive advantage comes from. And so the ability to facilitate what you call a learning organization, one that has the ability to outlearn your competition, so this is about learning rate. And then of course, taking that learning and translating that into some kind of actionable kind of capability or organization or something. That's a real key to it as well, and if you listen to what very successful industry CEOs have done and other people, they really do focus on this learning rate piece.

Mr. Morales: That's interesting.

Now, recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has underscored that military transformation, and I quote, "is a major charge from the President that must continue."

I'm curious, how does the recent realignment of your office within the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy support this charge?

Mr. Pudas: Well, I think that we're there now to -- we're more closely along the line with the processes. We were more -- I guess I would characterize us as an influence organization, which would try to create some new logic and try to influence the larger processes, where now we are more closely aligned with the formal processes, and so it really has changed.

I mean, since I've been at this from the beginning, I remember trying to participate in certain forums to try to provide some alternatives, and that was met with mixed success sometimes. But now it's accepted. The views may not be accepted, but the views are always welcomed. And so I think that's a big change in the Department's culture, and so as I said, we're supposed to continue to do this. I mean, my job is to always be somewhat dissatisfied and impatient.

Mr. Morales: You just let out all your secrets.

Mr. Prow: Terry, the core of the U.S. defense strategy focuses on force security challenges outlined in the Department's national defense strategy.

Can you describe DoD's ongoing shift to enhance capabilities and forces needed to address irregular catastrophic and disruptive challenges?

Mr. Pudas: Yes. I mean, there's a tremendous amount of work going on here. Clearly, we had focused on what we called the traditional challenge. The Department of Defense is very, very comfortable in that particular quadrant and sort of took ownership of that, but when you step back and look at the larger competitive environment, you'll see that there's a dynamic that happens, and that is, as you create more and more capability to deal with what we call the traditional challenges, competition moves to the others. And that's part of what you're experiencing now. And so the question is, what kinds of capabilities and organizations and those sorts of things -- you need to deal with those, and so that's a great deal of the work right now. And of course, it's very complicated.

The traditional challenges were usually owned by the Department of Defense. The other three had a larger national security component to them where you now operate in interagency kinds of constructs, and so the team is much larger, so lots of work going on in developing those relationships and what do they look like, how do they contribute? And in many cases, you go from what people talk about as kinetic solutions to non-kinetic solutions, because it's really about behavior.

So what are those kinds of things that we need to be able to do to be more successful in that particular area? I mean, you hear lots of people talking about strategic communications, which is sort of the term of art today, but how much do we really know about that? How do we know about the cause and affect of those things. So that leads you to say, well, if we really want to understand that, then perhaps we need to bring in this group of cognitive sciences and cultural anthropologists to help us understand that particular dynamic.

The catastrophic things, those things are of course very troublesome because we are in a very globalized construct in the world today, where we are very interdependent, which brings with it an enormous amount of brittleness. What might trigger a shock through the system that we hadn't thought about? I sometimes refer to the SARS event in Singapore, right, which was in 2003. Our major focus was preparing for the Iraqi campaign. But the result of that had major disruptions in economics around the world. I think we had a couple of major airlines here in the U.S. that were on the brink of bankruptcy, and we all know what happened to the tourist industry in Canada. And so this catastrophic, cataclysmic kind of stuff is quite troublesome, so how to think through what might be the consequence management of those things.

Disruptive challenges are sort of another category. How do you think about those, and what kinds of things could you do deliberately to help mitigate those kinds of threats? And we have a construct, and if you're interested, we could share it with you. I know time is limited, but this is where rate of change comes in. If you're on a linear sort of path of modernization, a prospective opponent can get a bead on you at some point and disrupt whatever that is you're trying to create, and so being able to modulate rate of change becomes a very useful construct.

Mr. Prow: How can the U.S. military reduce its vulnerability to disruptive threats by increasing investments in programs that accelerate transformation?

Mr. Pudas: Yes, I just sort of touched on that a little bit, but clearly, there's lots of work going on in the Department to work on the processes. I mean, I don't think anybody would come in and say that we're really happy with our processes now and they're just fine, we don't need to change them. Because everybody acknowledges that the rate of change is causing us to re-look at how fast we can do things. So that's going on.

But how do we do other things that help influence our thinking about what are the kind of capabilities that we might want, and how would we use them and that sort of thing, and so this notion of experimentation really becomes a very powerful tool; creating sort of tangible capabilities or experimental articles, as I like to call them, putting them in the hands of operators, bringing the science and technology community together; and then on a very rapid cycle, the developing concepts and requirements and that sort of thing. And so I think that that's a very powerful activity which is very useful, this experimentation business.

Mr. Prow: Can you please elaborate on the concept of transformation chairs?

Mr. Pudas: Sure. I'd be glad to. That's something that sometimes is underappreciated and overlooked, but I talked about it briefly in the opening segment, which was this notion of culture. How do you fundamentally get at the culture of an organization? And of course, one of the key levers of that is education.

Several years ago, we said what could we do to effect that, and so what we decided to do was help facilitate the creation of transformation academic chairs at all of the departments, institutions, and as most people know, we have junior- and senior-level colleges. We have the academies; we have Naval post-graduate school; we have acquisition universities, a whole number of these.

So how can we catalyze transformational thinking in those institutions as sort of a focal point to insert certain things in the curriculum, help influencing how people think about things? And the chairs are interesting, but the real interesting piece is that they come together every quarter and they collaborate with one another, and they share experiences, and so it's sort of a large community, and it's been quite successful.

Mr. Prow: Very good. It sounds like you're creating new models in dealing with the academies and researchers.

Mr. Pudas: Yes. Yes, that's exactly the idea. This notion of collaboration is a different kind of construct in the Information Age. It means different things. And so to be able to facilitate that in this transformation chair network -- and we also have some affiliate chairs, both international and from other folks, too. So it's taking off.

Mr. Morales: Terry, you've used terms like "rate of change," modulating change, you talked about learning, you've talked about behaviors in culture. So I'm curious, to what degree has the DoD developed metrics for measuring the capabilities of transformed military forces and the effectiveness of transformational military services, and is DoD using these metrics in making decisions about programs and resources?

Mr. Pudas: Yes. Of course, that's really the hard question, isn't it; right?

If you're in industry, you can measure bottom line, but here, you're measuring behavior or outcomes that are very difficult to quantify, so they're normally qualitative, subjective kinds of things. And so there has been a significant amount of effort on doing that. It's difficult. We need to continue that effort.

We, of course, were great advocates, and continue to be, of this notion of networkcentric operations, or whatever term you want to use. Everybody seems to buy into that, and they like that, and it's no longer debated; it's how do you actually do it? But then of course, you always run into the question with the resource people, right, and everybody has this: so tell me about the return on investment. Okay, so you have to try to articulate that. And so we've done a number of case studies sort of things to look at different units and how their effectiveness was changed and different things, and so that's been a useful activity.

I actually have a personal metric that I use. And it's used to sort of judge the culture of the organization. Language conveys culture. So the words people use say a great deal about how they've changed, their attitudes about things. And so when I think back when we started, a great deal of talk always about coordination and deconfliction and those sorts of things, but you don't hear that anymore. You hear sharing and collaboration. People use those terms a lot. We used to talk about interoperability, and now we talk about interdependence of those systems. And so for me, that's a fundamental metric for judging how the culture is changing.

This is a tough subject. Metrics have always been the Holy Grail. But we continue to work at it.

Mr. Morales: Well, as you mentioned, it's really all about driving behaviors, and behaviors historically have always been difficult to measure and quantify.

Mr. Pudas: Absolutely.

Mr. Morales: What about efforts in military innovation?

We will ask Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources, to share with us when the conversation about management continues on The Business of Government Hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and this morning's conversation is with Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources.

Also joining us in our conversation from IBM is Chuck Prow.

Terry, the Defense Science Board recently released its summer study on 21st Century strategic technology vectors.

Could you elaborate on this study, and what are your views on some of the key recommendations outlined in the study, specifically on the Board's new version of Observe, Orient, Decide, Act?

Mr. Pudas: Over the last decades or so, we had been very, very successful in sort of creating some sort of vectors in terms of precision, stealth, and a couple of others, which really, really served us well. But as we've been talking about, the world changes and the rate of change continues to grow. And so what are those things that we ought to really be looking at?

My personal view is that there are a whole number of exciting technologies out there which some people are calling revolutions in science, and in that category are things like robotics, nanotechnology, bioenergy information, and those are all really, really exciting. But historically, many times, the big advances have come when two or three or those collide in a very clever way or intersect, and you are able to do things that you didn't imagine before.

So I think we always want to be looking at these sorts of things, and I'm glad that they did this, and I'm sure that's going to be very useful to the Department to get their views. These are some very, very bright people who've got a lot of experience and are grounded in these sorts of things. But my view is that sometimes we also need to look at the intersections of these.

Mr. Morales: So do you have a perspective on what some of these new vectors should be, going back to precision stealth joint operations and so on?

Mr. Pudas: Well, these are personal views, but I think that there are things that are going to be very interesting in the future, and perhaps some small investment might be very, very useful.

For example, I already mentioned sort of this notion of the cognitive sciences. I mean, I believe there are many people that believe that is real science now. There were a lot of skeptics that wouldn't allow those into the scientific club, but I think that that's becoming less of a problem. I think that if we don't begin to look at things that affect logistics and sustainability, those sorts of technologies, that we're going to find ourselves out of balance. We have invested enormously in networking the force to allow the force to operate differently in sort of this large dispersed way, and so what are the things that are inhibiting us getting the maximum return on investment out of that?

And then I think that one of the things that of course is going to be extremely disruptive in the future are things in the category of directed energy. Anybody that follows that knows that it's a very interesting area, and lots of work going on there. You just have to look at the reports in the open press to know that there I think have been over 400 incidents of commercial laser kinds of things trying to dazzle airline pilots that are being used by criminals and things like that. And so I think that's an area that's going to be interesting to follow.

Mr. Morales: So again, it goes back to the novel ways of trying to drive behaviors, whether that's in a kinetic or a non-kinetic fashion.

Mr. Pudas: Right. Exactly.

Mr. Morales: Great.

Mr. Prow: Terry, have the fundamental rules of combat, meaning mass surprise, logistics in unity of command, given way to the rules based on information and knowledge?

Mr. Pudas: Yes. I mean, that's a very interesting question. I think that we're beginning to learn more about that. I mean, most people in uniform or that have been in uniform intuitively know that battles are won and lost in the minds of your opponent. It doesn't necessarily have to do with kinetic sort of stuff unless your strategy is attrition. And so what are those things then that affect the cognitive domain of your opponent?

Being surprised, being outmaneuvered, creating closely coupled events. Confronting someone with a situation for which they have no mental model, and so it is really about this notion of creating an information advantage and turning that into a competitive advantage. And so we have I think done a lot in that area.

There's still a lot to understand. It's really interesting to talk to commanders who have been in command of large network organizations and how they have admitted that they had to kind of think through their philosophy of command. All of a sudden, we have the ability for these chat rooms to pop up, and the horizontal sharing of information at lower levels, which isn't necessarily the old command paradigm, when things went up and down the chain. Now they can go across.

And so I look for sort of manifestations of different behavior kinds of things to give me clues to that. What do commanders want to command now? Commanders now want to command bandwidth, which is quite interesting, right? It used to be a back office function, moved to the front office because there's so much -- that's a source of power, and so I guess the rules or the goal hasn't necessarily changed, but I think the way we use information as a real source of advantage has become more appreciated, and people now are understanding how to use that.

Mr. Prow: Given your projection of future challenges to the nation's national security, what is the proper balance between conventional and special operations forces?

Mr. Pudas: Yes. I guess I couldn't give you an exact answer, but if I look at what happened most recently over the last several years and you see how those two conventional and unconventional forces have been operating in concert in many ways, we've always talked about being able to be more soft-like. I mean, that's been sort of the term.

What does that really mean? Well, I mean the ability to -- ease of employment and sustainment, having an appreciation for the local area that you're operating in. I mean, the Special Operations Forces have spent a lot of time doing that sort of thing. I mean, I don't know what the right balance is, quite frankly. I mean, we have to make sure that we have enough sort of capability to deal with any potential high-end kind of thing. And at the moment, of course, we're doing very labor-intensive kinds of operations, and I mean, there's been a lot of emphasis on language training and cultural awareness skills and those sorts, and those are all really, really good things.

I can tell you, though, that there are a lot of people engaged in this particular question. What exactly is the right balance? Are there synergies between the two, et cetera? And so I'm not trying to duck the question, but I don't have an exact answer for you.

Mr. Morales: Okay. Terry, I want to take us back to something that we talked about earlier around this notion of a return on investment. And certainly, calculating the potential cost of defense transformation is not a non-trivial matter. And skeptics have argued that the cost of transformation, both in the near-term and long-term, are uncertain, and that transformation therefore might not necessarily be less expensive than, say, routine modernization.

Could you elaborate on the efforts to really understand the costs associated with transformation within the military, and is it possible to reduce the defense budget and improve the Department's ability to carry out its current and future mission simultaneously?

Mr. Pudas: Let me answer it this way: I think that associating transformation to cost may not be the right metric, because it's really about making choices. Some of the choices that you make have enormous payoff to be able to operate differently than you could before, but are relatively cheap in terms of the overall system. And of course, there are some legacy things that very hard choices have been made over. I mean, you remember the big debate about Crusader and Comanche and all those sorts of things, so it's not necessarily tied to more money, it's tied to the choices that you make.

I'll give you a personal example here: so I'm trying to make the decision on my internet connectivity in my house, so the decision was do I buy this new computer, which was fairly expensive at the time, or do I invest in the high-speed internet? So I invested a modest amount in the high-speed internet, and the productivity in the household went up enormously. So it's not necessarily about buying some new high-end piece of stuff, it's how you use it that really makes a difference, and so making specific choices and understanding the return on investment I think is the real key here.

Mr. Morales: So it sounds like people are drawing an equation that transformation is equal to cost reduction, and that's not really what this is about.

Mr. Pudas: No, not necessarily. Transformation can allow you to do things more efficiently. And that's what the question is about; it's not about numbers, it's about capability. A brigade combat team today can do significantly more than one could a decade ago. And it's just like with airplanes. We used to have 200 sorties per target in World War II, and now we have targets per sortie. And so yes, you can create some efficiencies and effectiveness as you go down this transformational journey.

Mr. Morales: Terry, I only have another minute left, and we talked a little bit about this, so I'm curious, how are we using joint professional military education to transform the mindset and culture of the U.S. joint force community, including our allies and our industry partners?

Mr. Pudas: Well, of course, we talked a little bit about the transformation chairs, and that's a good thing, but one of the things that we also do is we sponsor what we call a transformation short course, which the National Defense University puts on for us. And of course, we invite everyone in the Department, as well as the other agencies, as well as members from industry, but it's pretty much opened up to just about anyone, and to sort of help catalyze this transformational thinking.

So that's been really successful, and most recently over the last -- I would say half year -- we also began a course on what we're calling stability and reconstruction. There's been a great deal of dialogue about that kind of capability and what it really is and how to think about that. And so education is a really powerful tool, I think, to get at this whole piece.

Mr. Morales: Great.

What does the future hold for the DoD transformation efforts?

We will ask Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources, to share with us when the conversation about management continues on The Business of Government Hour.


Mr. Morales: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and this morning's conversation is with Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources.

Also joining us in our conversation from IBM is Chuck Prow, IBM's Defense Industry leader.

Terry, we talked a little bit about behaviors and habits, and so I'm curious, how do you make something like transformation a habit? And given your efforts over the years, could you elaborate on DoD's culture of innovation?

Mr. Pudas: You're right. I mean, people are creatures of habit. It's difficult to catalyze change, and you have to remember that the product of the Department of Defense is national security. And so you have to be careful. I mean, you have to do the appropriate due diligence and all those sorts of things, because it is a really big deal.

But I think the Department's leadership has done a lot over the 5-1/2 years when I look through my lens, in empowering people to propose alternative solutions and different -- my experience is that everybody probably at every desk has some ideas on how to improve things. And so having the ability to listen and empower those people to go ahead and make some change, and be able to do informed risk taking I think is very powerful, and so when you look on the industry side -- I don't like to use too many industry examples because I get criticized for that -- but other large organizations, they're successful, they have that sort of culture. That's what they try to instill, so I think that great strides have been made. It's something that you always have to pay attention to because it's very easy to retrench, and of course, that's not what you want to do.

Mr. Morales: Terry, the integration of the DoD policy directorate was just one of the many changes to take place within the DoD policy directorate. Can you tell us about some of the other changes, and how these changes illustrate the core transformation principle of creating a more adaptable organization?

Mr. Pudas: Well, I can try. I mean, I'm fairly recent to the organization, and this effort was started sometime before we actually arrived, but I know that the leadership of the organization felt that there hadn't been a major transformation within that organization for quite some time. There was sort of some evolutionary steps that were done, and so I believe that they felt that it was time to sort of realign the organization to reflect the global environment of today post-Cold War, and be able to be much more effective in the future, as well as looking at things that could be done to make the organization more effective from a business perspective and management perspective.

And then also, there's a human capital strategy component of this. And so the idea was then to create a different organization that would be much more effective and perhaps more efficient for the future, as well as to create an organization which we call somewhat adaptable. The ability to then change as things unfolded or as new requirements came up and to create an organization where the whole is greater some of the parts.

Mr. Prow: An emerging area of DoD's vision for defense transformation are actions to reduce DoD's energy requirements and to develop alternate energy sources.

What is your role in this effort?

Mr. Pudas: Well, this is something we took an interest in probably three years ago, perhaps even longer than that, because it was our sense that at some point we were going to have to start thinking seriously about this issue, and so we did a couple of modest efforts, a couple of studies, and we actually co-sponsored with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics a seminar series that meets once a month. It's open to anyone that wants to attend, to look at the energy issues broadly, and it's a very complex thing.

Clearly, there are technology issues, there are policy issues, there are cultural issues. There's a whole number of things involved, but you can see that if you look just on the operational side of the house, how it's becoming a significant deal. It's part of the logistics burden I talked about earlier. And so what we'd like to be able to do is operate in this very dispersed sort of network environment that we've created, but we don't want to spend all of our time protecting convoys of petroleum, for example. So it's both a cost issue and an effectiveness issue.

And then of course, lots of people are talking about peak oil and when is peak oil really going to come, and how's that going to affect the world economy, and there's a competition for energy resources, so there's many dimensions of this, as well as environmental and all of those things. So we are still working on this. I have a couple of studies going on right now that they're trying to look at this through different lenses, trying to create some data for the decision-makers on how to think abut this big issue.

Mr. Prow: Transformation creates new competitive areas and competencies. What qualities will be needed in the warfighter of the future?

Mr. Pudas: We talked about the complexity of the potential future competitive space. Right now, we see our folks being put in very, very complex environments. They're very, very difficult. And so I think there are a couple of pieces of this.

One is clearly, there's a cultural dimension on all this stuff with language training and different things, and how do you think about these complex environments? And then also, of course, there's a capabilities piece of this, something which I call sort of how do you move from binary solutions to something that has a scale of effects? So we give our folks very, very good binary solutions, put them in very complex environments, and then perhaps they have to accept either enormous risk or they do something and there's unintended consequences. And so I think that things in that particular category that have a capability from sort of a non-lethal to a lethal capability would be somewhat useful.

Now, having said that, that is not a simple issue. There's incredible policy issues and cultural issues that go along with that when you start going down that trail, but I think that's an area that we have to start thinking about.

Mr. Prow: It sounds like there are significant human capital issues associated with this subject. What is the Department doing to attract and retain the highest quality workforce?

Mr. Pudas: I think they're doing a lot. I mean, I am not that familiar with the national security personnel system that was just put in place recently. But clearly, that was an attempt to be able to manage the human capital better, because everybody recognizes that that's really what we have to pay attention to. And so how can you unburden some of the previous burueaucratic things and large organizations have those, and so people don't necessarily want to be subject to those and in that kind of environment, so to make the environment much better, and I think that they're working very hard to attract people into government.

Mr. Morales: Terry, we're coming to the end of our time here, but I do have one more question I'd like to ask you.

You've had a very successful career in the Navy, and now supporting the DoD transformation efforts. I'm curious, what advice could you give to a person who perhaps is considering a career in public service today?

Mr. Pudas: I would tell them to do it, because I think there's no higher calling than to serve your country, whether in uniform or in the civil side. And it's very, very rewarding. It's difficult in some cases, but I believe it's a very worthwhile effort, and no matter what kind of day I've had at the office, at the end of the day, I always feel good about that I was contributing to something that was very worthwhile, so I'd like people to consider it very seriously.

Mr. Morales: That's fantastic. Thank you.

We have reached the end of our time, and I do want to thank you for fitting us into your busy schedule. But more importantly, Chuck and I would like to thank you for your dedicated service to our country both as a naval officer, and now leading the DoD's transformation agenda.

Mr. Pudas: At the end of every time I talk to someone or give a presentation, I always like to put a little plug in for our website. You can find us at, and we're always looking for your comments on our website. We try to keep it updated, and we do answer the mail that people send to us.

So thank you very much.

Mr. Morales: Great.

Thank you, Terry.

This has been The Business of Government Hour, featuring a conversation with Terry Pudas, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources.

As you enjoy the rest of your day, please take time to remember the men and women of our armed and civil services abroad who can't hear this morning's show on how we're improving their government, but who deserve our unconditional respect and support.

For the The Business of Government Hour, I'm Albert Morales. Thank you for listening.

This has been The Business of Government Hour. Be sure to join us every Saturday at 9:00 a.m., and visit us on the web at There, you can learn more about our programs and get a transcript of today's conversation.

Until next week, it's

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Your comment will appear after administrative review.

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

140 recommendations